Island Birth Association - Resource Guide #5






Postpartum Care

page 22

Local Area

page 2

& Birth Place

Comparison Chart

Resource Guide #5

November 2017 -­‐ April 2018

Dear Reader,

The idea and passion behind Island Birth Association emerged almost two years ago. After

organizing our first Rally to Improve Birth, a group of four of us sat down over breakfast

and talked about wanting to create something more for our community. We had all

struggled as parents to find resources, and as professionals to reach our target markets.

In the year and a half since we launched Island Birth Association we've gained over 40

members, printed hundreds of resource guides, reached over 200 people through our

Facebook page, and connected with over 400 women in our Pregnant & Postpartum on

Whidbey Facebook group. I know I can speak for our entire board of directors when I say

it has been a very successful first year and a half.

But success isn't static. We hope that as we move forward we can continue to grow,

offering more to both our members and the women and families we aim to serve. We

hope to continue adding to our membership and being able to offer more information,

programming, and events to the community. Thank you for being a part of our growth!

Kim Graves

President, Island Birth Association


Heather Christensen, Mommy

Ready - The Missing Core (Nov. 18

at Birth & Baby Fair)

Cheryl Schmitt, Vital Chiropractic -

Beautifully Delivered: A class for

preparing for a healthy conception,

pregnancy and postpartum family.



Gaby Armedariz, Rise N Grind

Wellness - Living Well in Pregnancy

and Postpartum

Aly WIllis, Aly Willis Photography -

Photographing Your Family:

Beginner Class



Lindsey Perkins, Vital Roots

Acupuncture - Acupuncture for

Postpartum Care

Susan Sale, Shaklee - Safe, Fast &

Effective Ways to Accomplish a

Clean House



Island Birth Association's board and members believe that women and families should be able to

make fully informed decisions about their care.

Birth is not a one size fits all event. Every woman, every pregnancy, and every birth can be very

different. And every woman and family will make decisions about their birth providers and birth

places based on their own personal history and birth goals. Thankfully, even in the somewhat

remote location here on Whidbey, we have a wide range of options. Below, we've broken down

how each of these birth locations differs and the benefits each offers. On the back of this

newsletter we have created comparison charts for our local hospital and out of hospital options.


The most common location for women to give birth, advantages of the hospital include

immediate emergency care if needed, and round-­‐the-­‐clock care for mom and baby. Almost all

insurance will cover hospital birth, and many women feel safest in this environment. Hospital

birth is safest for high-­‐risk pregnancies. Some disadvantages are that most hospital providers are

more trained in pathology in birth rather than normal physiological birth, you must drive to the

hospital while in labor, risk of infection to mom and baby is higher, you receive routine care,

and most don’t allow mom much rest during the often required observation stay.

Birth Center

Birth centers are a wonderful alternative to those wanting more of a home environment without

actually being at home. Birth centers are sometimes located close to or adjacent to hospitals, so

transfer time can be minimal if needed. Advantages of a birth center birth include more

freedom of choice (atmosphere, positions, interventions), and midwifery care. Birth centers are

often less expensive than hospital births, though some insurances don’t cover the cost. Some

disadvantages to a birth center birth are that you must drive to the birth center while in labor,

and while a shorter stay (typically 3-­‐4 hours postpartum) can be a benefit to some moms, it can

be hard if you don’t have help at home.


Home Birth

While homebirth is still the least socially acceptable place to have a baby, it is increasing in

popularity, and has been proven to be as safe or safer for low risk pregnancies. Women have

full control over their birth experience, don’t have to drive anywhere in labor or afterward, and

carries the least risk of infection to mom and baby of all birthing options. Washington midwives

are licensed and carry emergency equipment such as oxygen and anti-­‐hemorrhage medications.

Some disadvantages include possibly being farther from a hospital if an emergency should arise,

and though cost is typically lowest many insurances don’t cover birth at home.

3 Photos © Aly Willis Photography


Arica Goulet

Breastfeeding USA of Whidbey Island

La Leche League of Skagit County­‐leche-­‐league-­skagit-­‐county

Christi Messersmith, WIC on Seaplane Base


Island County Public Health WIC Nutrition­‐county-­‐public-­‐health-­wic-­‐nutrition

Erica Coulter

Badass Birthing

Whidbey Island Breastfeeding Coalition­‐Island-­‐Breastfeeding-­‐


• Place the baby on his or her back on a firm sleep surface.

• Avoid baby's exposure to smoke, alcohol and illicit drugs.

• Baby should share a bedroom with parents, preferably

until the baby turns 1 but at least for the first six months.

Room-sharing decreases the risk of SIDS by as much as

50 percent.

• There should be no pillows, sheets, blankets or other

items that could obstruct the infant's breathing or cause


• Bottle-fed babies should be placed on a separate surface

to sleep.

• If bedsharing, ideally, both parents should agree and feel

comfortable with the decision.



Lindsey Perkins

Vital Roots Acupuncture

Emily LiCastro, LMP/FAE

Full Moon Healing Arts

Lynne Donnelly, CST

CranioSacral Therapy

Lynne Donnelly

Whidbey Island Holisitic Health Association


Kim Graves, BBCI

Birth Boot Camp

Kimberly Bepler

ABC Doula Service


Emily LiCastro, LMP/FAE

Full Moon Healing Arts

Lynne Donnelly

Whidbey Island Holisitic Health Association

Quincey Ackerman

Doula Q Birth Services

Amy Hannold

Whidbey Island Macaroni Kid

Erica Coulter

Badass Birthing


Andrea Garner

Skagit/Islands Head Start & ECEAP


Dr. Rondle Bennett

North Island Chiropractic & Wellness Center

Makala Shelly, Bob Shelly, Patty Wasson

Island Chiropractic

Dr. Nate Steele

Peak Performance Chiropractic, PS

Cheryl Schmitt, D.C

Vital Chiropractic

Dr. Ben Jennings

Jennings Chiropractic

Join Island Birth

Association Today!­‐us

Whidbey Island

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Erica Coulter

Badass Birthing

Kimberly Bepler

ABC Doula Service

Ginger Cullen

Ginger Cullen Birth Services

Anita Ortega

Sugarbush Doula Care

Whidbey Doula Collective

Chelsie Brann

North Cascades Doula Services

Elise Wible

Elise Marie Doula Services

Elizabeth Wilson

Village by the Sea

Birthing Services


Amy Mitchell

Fearfully & Wonderfully Made

Doula Services


Quincey Ackerman

Doula Q Birth Services

Photos © Petal & Vine Photography

I imagine midwives get asked all kinds of crazy questions, but I can clearly remember my

midwife’s face when I asked her if she knew any way to stall and lengthen labor. To be fair, part

of my reasoning was that my husband was returning from a seven and a half month deployment

within days of my due date, and I really didn’t want him to miss the birth. But the other part

was that I was on a quest for the perfect birth. You know the one. The one we watch on our

Facebook feeds where the mom laughs with her birth team, beautifully handles each contraction

with low moans, and breathes her baby out into the world. That one. That IDEAL birth.

In the natural birth community we talk about this birth a lot. How, when you choose to birth

without intervention, you are rewarded with a more positive birth experience. And I do believe

that is absolutely true. I just don’t think that a peaceful, “perfect” birth is the only measure of a

positive birth experience.

My births were quite the opposite of that ideal, especially my two home births (you can read

my birth stories on my blog at When I speak of them, I liken them to

freight trains. And the more I talk with women about their births, the more I find that I am not

alone. And I also find that I’m not alone in mourning the loss of that “perfect” birth. For me it

was the sadness over not getting to spend hours conversing with my birth team, as I revel in the

joy of a birthing space and love being surrounded by wise women. With my first homebirth (my

second child) my midwife was there for 3 hours before my baby was born. My second

homebirth, my midwife made it to the house just 30 minutes before he emerged. But for other

women it’s not just mourning the loss of what they’d envisioned, but a real feeling of failure. I

screamed too loud, I lost control, I didn’t do it right. Sometimes losing sight completely of the

amazingly powerful experience that giving birth is.

In a recent conversation, a fellow Birth Boot camp Instructor, Jillian, pointed out that all birth is

beautiful, but it’s almost never pretty, and that’s an important distinction. It’s easy to watch

those calm birth videos with black and white footage overlaid by soft music. It’s not as easy to

watch the ones where mom is screaming or losing control. But I’d argue that it’s just as

important to watch the ones that aren’t pretty. Those loud, raw, primal births that are just as

beautiful, but in an entirely different way.


In the 10-­‐week Birth Boot Camp class I teach, we watch a wide variety of birth videos, including

the more artsy “ideal” type, as well as the filmed-­‐on-­‐an-­‐iPhone more real version. And both are

beautiful. And both are important, especially for first time moms. We often show the “perfect”

type of birth to combat the typical media glamorized version that always includes lots of

screaming and makes birth look like a terrifying event. So it makes sense that this “ideal” birth

has been widely accepted as what a natural birth is supposed to look like. That it’s not supposed

to look like the scary, screaming Hollywood version. But in doing that I think we have lost sight

of what is real in favor of what is pretty. I’d argue we’re just as guilty as Hollywood of

glamorizing birth to our own ends, forgetting that polarizing any experience naturally alienates a

huge portion of the population.

Because birth is REAL, and raw, and life

changing – for the “breathers and moaners”

as well as the “yellers and screamers,” and

no one should walk away from such a life

changing experience feeling like they’ve

failed just because their birth wasn’t as they

pictured it. Just because it wasn't like the

videos they’d watched online. The truth of

the matter is that there is no ideal. You may

have had a calm, peaceful labor, and I had a

freight train 3-­‐hour labor, and they looked

and sounded very, very different, but they

were both beautiful.

There’s a recurring theme in motherhood blogs about striving for false perfection, and one of

my very favorite quotes about it is “don’t compare your behind the scenes to other people’s

highlight reel.” We need to stop gauging our idea of perfection on other people’s experiences.

So, while I’m a huge believer in watching birth videos as a way to prepare for birth, I think we

need to remember that none of those videos will be our experience, nor should we try to

control what is ultimately uncontrollable based on what we think the ideal looks like.

So I’m going to own my freight train, screaming, out of control, beautiful, PERFECT births as my

own, and not feel like I did it wrong or failed in any way. My birth videos (if I had them) surely

wouldn’t win any cinematography awards, but I walked away with overwhelming joy and a huge

sense of accomplishment and empowerment. And three beautiful, perfect babies. And three

birth experiences that have shaped who I am today, and which I wouldn’t change a thing about,

even if they weren’t what I pictured a “perfect” birth to be beforehand.

Kim is a mom to three, a Navy wife, and a childbirth educator teaching Birth

Boot Camp classes on Whidbey Island. Her three amazing & empowering births

sparked her desire to help other women experience birth as a transformative

experience rather than a fearful one. She believes there isn't one right way to

birth, but that women should have access to information to make the best

decisions for their own unique experiences.


Family Birthplace

New spacious suites include

state-of-the-art hydro-therapy tubs,

a family area with enhanced amenities, and the quality care

you’ve come to expect from our highly-trained team of

providers, including expanded midwifery services.

Come to Coupeville and see our brand new

birthplace in the new wing!

To schedule a tour, please call 360.678.7607.

WhidbeyHealth Medical Center • 101 N. Main Street, Coupeville, WA 98239 •


a few basic

Children are 5x, or 500% safer rear-facing

New guidelines recommend rear-facing

until at least 2 years of age.


When rear-facing, shoulder straps should

be at or below child's shoulder level. When

forward-facing, shoulder straps should be at

or above child's shoulder level.

Always use the top tether while forward-facing, and

while rear-facing if your seat and vehicle allow it.

Never use both LATCH and the seatbelt to

secure your carseat. New guidelines state LATCH

shouldn't be used to secure the seat once the

combined weight of the seat + child exceeds

65lb for rear-facing and 69lb for forward-facing.

Use of expired carseats is illegal in Washington.

Children should NEVER wear bulky jackets

while secured in their carseats. These can compress in a crash,

and cause the belts to be too loose to safely secure the child. For the

same reason, aftermarket accessories should not be used.

Always read both your carseat and automobile's manuals to ensure a proper fit.

You can find a local carseat technician to help you at

1. Visit only if you've been invited.


2. Don't visit if you're unwell. Even

if it's ust a cough or cold.

3. Keep visits short. Don't overstay your welcome.

4. Ask before picking up the baby.

5. Wash your hands. Don't wear strong

perfume or aftershave.

6. Know when to give the baby back.

7. Resist the temptation to give unsolicited advice.

8. Don't comment on the physical

appearance of the mother.

9. Don't expect too much.

10. Know when it's time to leave.


For Visiting

Parents of





Kerry McCaslin

Whidbey Homeopathic

Cynthia Jaffe

Greenbank Women's Clinic and Birth Center

Whidbey Health Family Birthplace

Patricia Duff,

Lynne Donnelly

Whidbey Island Holisitic Health Association


Sharlie Tassie

Hike It Baby Whidbey Island

Christi Messersmith, WIC on Seaplane Base


Island County Public Health WIC Nutrition­‐county-­‐public-­‐health-­wic-­‐nutrition

Lynne Donnelly

Whidbey Island Holisitic Health Association

Susan Sale

The Best For You -­‐ Shaklee

Gabriela Armendariz

Rise N' Grind Wellness, LLC

Heather Christensen

Mommy Ready Postpartum Program


This is it!

The Hurry Up and Wait Game: Rethinking Early Labor

By Erica Coulter

Mild contractions may be coming in waves every 5-­‐30 minutes. They are

lasting 35-­‐40 seconds. They're stronger than the braxton hicks that have become your

nightly companion. Something is definitely happening here.

Excitement. Anxiety. Uncertainty. Relief. Frustration. Nervousness. Maybe even a little

fear. You may feel all of these at the same time. You excitedly call your doula and she

says... "it's a great weekend to have a baby! Now get some sleep, and ignore these

contractions until you can't ignore then anymore." What? That's it? You've waited 37-­‐42

weeks for this, and now your doula expects you to sleep and ignore it. Hear her out. She

has been at this a while, and there's a reason she is asking you to do the near


Early labor is labor, but it's not active labor-­‐-­‐yet. How you spend early labor can

determine how well you're able to cope with active labor, and even how active labor will

progress. If you focus your energy and tools on early labor, and you chase contractions,

you will use up your energy while you could be resting and saving your reserves. Save

these coping skills for when you can no longer rest through contractions.



Kerry McCaslin

Whidbey Homeopathic

Lynne Donnelly

Whidbey Island Holisitic Health Association

Sojourners Circle­‐circle/

Denise Bochantin, LICSW

Bochantin Arts


Christi Messersmith, WIC on Seaplane Base


Lindsey Potts-­‐Szoke

Navy-­‐Marine Corps Relief Society



Ginger Cullen

Ginger Cullen Birth Services

Anita Ortega

Sugarbush Doula Care

Playscape Langley

Birth - 3

M/W/F, 9:30 - 11:00

Playscape Midway (Oak Harbor)

Birth - 3

M/W, 9:30 - 11:00

Quincey Ackerman

Doula Q Birth Services

Playscape Infant Group, Langley

Birth - 15mo

T/W, 12:00 - 1:30

Playscape North (Oak Harbor) Playscape Infant Group, Oak Harbor

Birth - 3

Birth - 15mo

Fridays, 9:30 - 11:00


Fridays, 12:00 - 1:30


Aly Willis

Aly Willis Photography

Shannon Meadows

Sweetpea Memories Photography

Anastasia Novosyolova-­‐Blatt

Junebug Photography

Renee Giugliano

Renee Giugliano Photography

Starla Tercero

Starla Tercero Photography



Toddler Storytime (18mo-3y)

Mondays 9:30-10:20

Mondays 10:30-11:20

Preschool Storytime (3-5 years)

Wednesdays 9:30-10:15

Wednesdays 10:30-11:15

Baby & Me Storytime (0-24mo)

Thurdsdays 9:30-10:15

Thursdays 10:30-11:15


Preschool Storytime (3-5 years)

Wednesdays 10:00-11:00


Baby & Me Storytime (0-24mo)

Mondays 9:30-10:20

Toddler Storytime (18mo-3y)

Thurdays 9:30-10:30


Baby & Me Storytime (0-24mo)

Tuesdays 9:30-10:30

Toddler Storytime (18mo-3y)

Tuesdays 10:30-11:30

Preschool Storytime (3-5years)


Preschool Storytime (3-5 years)

Mondays 10:30

Time for Tots Storytime (0-36mo)

Wednesdays 10:00

Fridays 10:00

* Please double check

days & times with your

local library as some

weeks may vary.


Five Tips for Settling in After Baby:

Postpartum Care

by Anita Ortega

As a birth and postpartum doula I have the privilege of

working with parents in the brand new weeks of fresh and

raw parenthood. Those weeks are glorious and all together

wildly consuming. They take all of you. They leave nothing

behind. It is sometimes called the fourth trimester, and that

is how it should be treated, as the final steps of bringing

baby earthside. I often sit with pregnant mothers and go

over their birth plans, their wonderful and bullet pointed birth

plans. When asked about their postpartum plan, however, I’m met

with a curious gaze. “I just want to get baby here!” is often the

feeling new moms have, but in those early weeks parents are so grateful

when they have put a plan into place. I am going to list five of my most

recommended “MUSTS” of a postpartum plan. Use this, add to it and make it yours!

Plan for a support system to surround you

I cannot stress enough the importance of having a supportive postpartum team around you.

When a mother plans her birth she plans her birth team carefully; partner, OB or midwife,

doula, sister or Aunt Sally. You typically don’t want just anyone there. Birth is a sacred space.

You use the energy of those around you. Postpartum is the same; it is sacred and full of

vulnerability and beauty. A good support postpartum team may look similar to a birth team,

your partner, your OB or midwife, a postpartum doula and family who truly understands the

necessity of helping out. The benefit of having a postpartum doula is that they are trained to

meet the needs of a brand new family. It is our job to be part of that supportive team, whose

goal is to see you thrive, get rest and heal. This can also be a wonderful gift to new parents

from friends or family that cannot be there.

Find someone to do a compassionate and full birth debrief with you

Your head and heart are often so full after you give birth. You’ve just been though a life

changing, amazingly tough, remarkable and growing experience! There is joy, elation, fear,

questions, loss, anger, pain… pretty much every emotion and hormone all mingling together for

quite a few weeks (or more)!

“Debriefing is telling our story, complete with experiences and feelings from

our point of view. It is a verbal processing of past events…Debriefing is an

opportunity to share in depth recent experiences with someone who is

willing to listen and care, without judgment or criticism." -­‐Dr. Ken Williams

Debriefing, when done correctly, can bring so much healing and growth. It gives new parents the

opportunity to voice what they are most proud of and grateful for from their birthing

experience, as well as to process and begin healing from anything that may have hurt their

hearts. When parents are given the opportunity for a compassionate debrief it can bring

emotional release, illumination, self-­‐awareness and appreciation. Another thing to consider is

that it is never too late to debrief your birth, it is never to late to begin to heal and grow.


Consider getting your placenta encapsulated

Placenta encapsulation can be a great help to moms during the postpartum period. Often having

this supporting element makes so much difference.

Among the possible benefits are*:

-­‐ Increased release of the hormone oxytocin, which helps the uterus

return to normal size and encourages bonding with the infant

-­‐ Increase in CRH, a stress-­‐reducing hormone

-­‐ Decrease in post-­‐partum depression levels

-­‐ Restoration of iron levels in the blood

-­‐ Increase in milk production

Plan your food

Make sure to have friends and family bring hot meals or freezer

meals ready to cook. This may seem like an after thought to many

new parents, but trust me, when you are in the middle of

"fresh-­‐parenting-­‐week-­‐one,” you will be so thankful for that

ready-­‐made meal that your friend drops off in the afternoon. Meal

Train is an awesome website to share with your family, church,

and friends. At least two to three weeks is a good amount of time

to plan for meals being brought to your home (some people plan

for every other day drop offs so that they can finish left overs).

Another helpful idea for meals is to have a freezer meal prep

party with your friends and family before baby arrives, that way

you still have something to pull from when the Meal Train

dwindles off. Having baggies of pre made snack packs (think, fruit,

veggies, boiled eggs, nuts, granola, coconut flakes) is wonderful to

have so you can grab as you sit down to breastfeed or rest.

Give yourself the gift of grace and time to heal

So many new moms are excited to get back to doing things they couldn’t do while pregnant, or

didn’t have the energy to do. This is exciting, of course, but should be tempered with the

commitment to holistic healing. The only expectation you need to have for yourself in those

early weeks, heck, early months, is to bond, love, heal, and truly settle into your new self. You

will be new. You have just birthed an amazing human, and birthed or rebirthed yourself as a

mother. That is no small thing. You are incredible and it takes time for all your amazingness to

settle into your new life and body. Honor this time, allow yourself conscious, and sometimes

disciplined, time to fully heal your heart, body, soul and mind.

Courage, Dear Heart, You got this.


Anita Ortega is a perinatal professional and placenta specialist. She is passionate about

life, joy, wholeness and all things birth related! Anita works with expecting families on

Whidbey Island and surrounding areas to help them experience birth and parenthood with

even more joy, hope and self-­‐actualization. She longs to see parents grow into the people

they feel most whole as; and believes this can be hugely impacted by their birthing and

postpartum experience. You can find her at



Susan Sale

The Best For You -­‐ Shaklee

Renee Giugliano

Drops of Zeal


Kate McVay

Mother Mentors Whidbey Island


Sojourners Circle­‐circle/

New Mom Support Group

Kerry McCaslin

Whidbey Homeopathic

Homeopathic Education & Support Group

Cheryl Schmitt, D.C

Vital Chiropractic

Conscious Parenting & Pathways Connect

Arica Goulet

Breastfeeding USA of Whidbey Island

Mother to Mother Breastfeeding Support

Kate McVay

Mother Mentors Whidbey Island

In-­‐Home Mentoring & Play Groups

Whidbey Island Babywearers


Peer to Peer Babywearing Support

Gabriela Armendariz

Rise N' Grind Wellness, LLC


Quincey Ackerman

Doula Q Birth Services

Bereavement Support Group & Mama Meet Up