The Most Important Decisions You’ll Make: Careprovider

choosing and OB or midwife

It wasn’t until I became a doula ( after my third child) that I realized what were the two most important decisions I had made during my pregnancies.

 Who I chose as my care provider, and where I chose to give birth.

Your birth will affect you and your child for the rest of your lives. The way you give birth and most importantly the way you feel about it afterward will set you up for motherhood. The person who cares for you during pregnancy and delivery and the environment you give birth in will affect this, more so than anything else. The better the support, and the more comfortable you are in your environment means greater safety for you and your baby. (A Doula’s consistent support affects this as well, as evidenced by the studies in my prior post on Doula support.)

“Early in your pregnancy, it is important to make thoughtful decisions about who will be your caregiver and where you plan to give birth.” (

Childbirth Connection says these major decisions can influence the following:

  • the care that you receive and the effects of that care
  • the quality of your relationship with your main and other caregivers
  • the amount of information you receive
  • the choices and options you will have, particularly during your labor and birth
  • the degree to which you are involved with decisions about your care.

Ultimately it will also shape your entire experience in some of the following ways:

For the majority of low-risk women, you have options in and out of the hospital. There are many types of care providers: OB’s, Family Practice Doctors, Midwives, Nurse- Midwives.

It’s important to interview your care provider and see if you like their philosophy of birth, model of care , and style of practice. You may also have to take into consideration your insurance and financial situation.

Prep for Birth has an excellent article on choosing a care provider that has a list of questions to bring to an interview. She suggests taking a self-inventory after an interview; measure how the provider made you feel, how willing they were to answer your questions, and whether you and your partner liked the answers to those questions. If you don’t like the way you relate to someone during an interview or prenatal care, chances are you won’t like it during labor. Pay close attention to your intuition and honor it.

On that note, if you find late in the game that you don’t work well with your care provider, it’s never too late to hire a new one! You are your own advocate. Pursue the support you want and need.

Next month we’ll address Location! Location! Location!


More resources:

Preparing For Birth

Picking Your Care Provider – Interview Questions

Childbirth Connection

Choosing a Caregive: What you need to know.

Consider interviewing one of these experienced Grand rapids midwives:

Yolanda Visser CNM,CM

Birthsong Midwifery

Susan Wente CNM

Profile: Midwife Extrordinaire

Laura Slater, Midwife

MI Homebirth







Back to school deal on shoes

This post brought to you by Famous Footwear. All opinions are 100% mine.

I'm a sucker for shoes, except now a days I buy them more for my kids than for me! It gets tough to keep something on their feet when it seems that every time I turn around they grow an inch.

I also tend to get frusterated buying them shoes – stores don't often have their size in stock, or they last only a few weeks before they begin to fall apart. Or they have only one basic style and very little choices.

Last winter I was reintroduced to Famous Footwear at the Blissdom Conference and again fell in love with the variety of shoes they carry.


They're totally helpful.

If you have little ones, then you know what a hassle shopping can be! By the time I get one of them sitting down and I'm finally helping them put shoes on – the other ones takes off running, hiding in the aisles, and grabbing shoes off the shelf like there's no tomorrow.

I need all the help I can get when we're shopping!

We also need to find my son a couple new pairs of shoes for the fall and winter season, so I'm glad that Famous Footwear is running a 15% off PLUS buy one, get one half off sale. (I may or may not use this to buy myself some shoes…..) The 15% off even becomes 20% off if the customer is a Rewards member! (or signs up to become a Rewards member.)


This deal can help me keep on budget as I buy new supplies for the coming school year. Plus I know that I can run in and find what I need without the constant bickering and begging as we pass aisles of toys and candy just to find the shoes in a typical store.

You can print this coupon to help you in your own back to school shopping and redeem it in-store from now until August 18th.

BOGO + 15% off Famous Footwear Coupon

And while you're there, you can also sign up for their Rewards Program. You'll earn 1 point for every $1 you spend in-store or online, accumulate points to earn certificates up to $100 a year, get discount offers just for signing up, and get other special inside discounts and perks. (plus you'll get 20% off the BOGO deal instead of 15%!)

Visit Sponsor's Site

Sweet Deals for West Mi Mamas And The Monkies They Love

At the beginning of this month, I launched a local alternative to daily deal sites like Groupon or Living Social that will be focused on West Michigan Moms and kids.  My goal is to connect local families with businesses that they’ll love by offering amazing deals!


Wouldn’t it be awesome to pay $30 for someone to come clean your house?




A screamin deal for a family photo shoot and beautiful pictures to hang on your walls?


What about…


Half off your favorite restaurant for a cheap date night?


We’re working on deals like these as well as sweet deals on

dance classes, karate, fitness, salons, activities and so much more!


We’ll be taking suggestions too!

So let me know what you’d like to see.


To get the scoop on these fabulous deals sign up at

Oh, and come find me on Facebook too


West Michigan Link-Up

Natural Living Moms and Eat Local West Michigan will be hosting a weekly link-up every Thursday. So if you blog about local businesses, deals, etc, etc, please feel free to link up below!

*Linky closes one week from today. So if you have other posts coming up in your blog schedule you’d like to link, feel free!

But before you do, let’s cover the ground rules. Unfortunately link ups such as this are getting watered down with stagnant traffic. In order to make sure this doesn’t happen please make sure you:

  1. Link to a specific, recent post relevant to the West Michigan area. This can include things like reviews, general discussion, tips on buying locally, events, etc.
  2. Link not to your homepage, but directly to your post.
  3. Make sure to include a link to this post! Collaborating with bloggers is a two-way street, we’re showing links to your site, make sure you link to this post and let your readers know what it’s about. (or simply copy and paste this at the bottom of your post: What to find out more about what’s going on locally? This post is linked to the West Michigan Link-Up at Natural Living Moms, where you can see what everyone else is up to!)
  4. Please publish your post with the above mentioned link to NLM. So going back in every once in a while and adding it isn’t a major cause for concern, but y’all…….then the link to NLM never hits your subscribers.
  5. Not mandatory, but if you’re looking to help increase the traffic for us local bloggers, read the other posts and share then via social media and sites like stumble upon. That’s just good blog kharma that will come back ten fold. 🙂

Enter away!

A Garden Interrupted

Every year I ignore the fact that I kill everything I try to plant and  dream up grand plans for an abundant garden.  Every year those plans seem to get interrupted. . .

Last year was going to be the year. We had a yard (as opposed to the balconies, porch stoops and window sills I had tried before). We bought the wood to build the beds. I bought seeds in anticipation. Everything was right on track. . . . except our ambition.  After all the joy of  planning I was burnt out, and after trying to turn our  mess of a yard into, well, a yard, my husband wasn’t so hot on the idea of  doing one more thing like building me beds. So the 2×4’s sat in the garage and I put the seeds in the cupboard.

This year was going to be different. I’ve been talking to gardening friends and family members gleaning advice and tips. I’ve read book after book on small space gardening, organic gardening, etc., and my google reader is chocked full of blogs with writers who are sharing their green thumb ways with those like me out there with ones that are black. I saved a stack full of egg cartons to use for starting. I picked up some tools at rummage sales and Goodwill. I was ready.

But then it happened . . .

First I couldn’t find the seeds. They sat all winter sitting on a shelf in my cookbook cupboard waiting for spring. But then they were gone. Did I accidentally throw them away? I was sick with the thought  that I had possibly put those precious seeds in the trash! After two months of waiting for them to show up I went to the co-op and bought more.  I was getting my garden this year, I didn’t care if I had to pay for it twice.

We got home and the kids were anxious to start some seeds. I reached high in the cupboard to get down the saved egg cartons; as I pulled them down out dropped the box full of seeds I was missing.All at once I was giddy with excitement and wondering if I had kept the receipt of the ones I just bought.

So into the egg cartons full of potting soil they went. Sitting on a hot pink princess table in our homeschool area they received lots of sunshine, the right amount of water, and quite a bit of attention from Willow and Cedar. Willow squealed with excitement each time she noticed a new sprout

About a week later I was in the kitchen doing dishes when I heard Cedar say, “Fors (flowers) for you Mama”. I turned around to a big smile, dirty fingers and a hand full of seedlings. I wanted to cry and hug him at the same time.

Part of me wondered if something was trying to tell me NOT to do a garden this year; the other part was determined to do whatever it took to have one.

Since then our cat has dined on the rest of the seedlings, proceeding to puke their remains up on our basement floor. After cleaning it up I decided  that I am not giving up.  And then went to talk to my husband  about when he could get those beds up. Even if only weeds are found in them, I’ll be thankful to have grown something successfully in my own garden.

Here are two ideas that I WILL be trying with my kids:

-A fun way to start sunflowers from Chasing Cheerios.

Poo Pops from Zach Abroad. Love these! I think we may make some up to share with friends and cousins too!

What have you been up to in the garden?

Would You Like to be a Contributor?

I’m on the look out for some rock star natural mamas who believe in any or all aspects of living and raising our children naturally. So if you’re a promoter or believer in topics like natural birthing, breastfeeding, babywearing, co-sleeping, etc. and have a voice that you want heard….we want you!

If you’re a birthing professional or lactation consultant, I’d also love to have you on board for an “Ask the Expert” series and to help out here and there with questions from readers.

Guideline for Submissions

I’m always excited when someone has the desire to guest post here at Natural Living Moms! A community blog is just that – written by a community. We’re open to well written and thought out posts from various standpoints in hopes to equip other moms with knowledge and to inspire and encourage them.

  • Publication is not guaranteed. We’ll review all posts and publish those we feel will benefit our readers.
  • Posts should also be written in the same tone we try to adhere to at Natural Living Moms – we want to inspire and encourage other moms, even when our viewpoints  differ.
  • Submissions will not be published that are completely self promoting for ones own blog. If a post is full of links or any other SEO mumbo jumbo it will not be accepted.
  • Make sure all spelling is correct and any links included are valid.
  • Limit posts to 600 words or less.
  • Submitted posts must be original material and written by you.
  • If you’d like you may include a short bio at the end of your post with a link to your blog.
  • All submissions are subject to final editing by Natural Living Moms and are not available for monetary compensation at this time.

To send us a guest post, please e-mail the following:

  1. Subject line should read – “Guest Post Submission”
  2. Include your name and URL to your blog if you have one.
  3. Title and text of your post (simple text, not html) and spell out in BOLD which image is inserted where.
  4. A short bio, about 100 words, andattach a photograph of yourself  if you’d like
  5. Attach any photos you would like included in the post, please limit size to 500 pixels at the widest.

Please allow 2-4 weeks for the post to be reviewed and published. We will send you a note when it is published on the blog. (you will not be notified if your post is not published)

All images and content are protected under US copyright laws, please do not copy and paste.

Links in the post above may be affiliate or referral links - meaning that through a sale I may be given monetary benefit. I blog with integrity and only endorse companies and products I love.

This blog is for educational purposes only. The information provided by Donielle, or any contributor, is not intended to diagnose, treat, or cure any condition. If you are seeking medical advice, please search out a qualified health practitioner.

My Birth “Plan”

A few of you ladies have asked to see what I’ve put in my birth plan, so I’ll get it posted now instead of later!

There are tons of online forms you can fill out with different ideas, whether you want tog go all natural or want that epidural as soon as you walk in the door. To each her own, you just select what you might desire for the birth of your baby. I happened to use the one on
but you can also just search online and you’ll find many to choose from!

I hate to really call this a “plan”, since so much can change during actual labor and delivery! It’s more a list of things I’d like to see happen and I think I’ll find it especially useful with the nurses (since my OB won’t show up till I have to push!) or if I get the on call doc. I have the signed (by my OB) copy with me to bring to the hospital and I’ll be making copies of it for giving to the nurses.

It’s kinda long, but this “plan outline” covers a bit of everything! (after filling it out, it will bring up only the ones you’ve checked off. There were lots of other options as well) I also added a little ditty at the top that explains my goal of having a natural unmediated birth unless a medical emergency comes up for me or baby. Because in the long run, a happy healthy baby is what I want!


  • I would like to be free to walk around during labor.
  • I wish to be able to move around and change position at will throughout labor.
  • I would like to be able to have fluids by mouth throughout the first stage of labor.
  • I would prefer to keep the number of vaginal exams to a minimum.
  • I do not want an IV unless I become dehydrated.


  • I do not wish to have continuous fetal monitoring unless it is required by the condition of the baby.
  • I do not want an internal monitor unless the baby has shown some sign of distress.


  • If labor is not progressing, I would like to have the amniotic membrane ruptured before other methods are used to augment labor.
  • I would prefer to be allowed to try changing position and other natural methods (walking, etc.) before pitocin is administered.


  • I realize that many pain medications exist I’ll ask for them if I need them. (hopefully in order to cease the nurses and doctors from asking when I wanted an epidural. I had no support for a natural birth last time. But I also recently heard that when entering the hospital, you can actually ask for a nurse that knows more about natural birth, or at least seen some!)


  • Unless absolutely necessary, I would like to avoid a Cesarean.

EPISIOTOMY (not routine procedure anymore, but still good for them to know!)

  • I would prefer not to have an episiotomy unless absolutely required for the baby’s safety.
  • I would appreciate guidance in when to push and when to stop pushing so the perineum can stretch.
  • If possible, I would like to use perineal massage to help avoid the need for an episiotomy.


  • Even if I am fully dilated, and assuming the baby is not in distress, I would like to try to wait until I feel the urge to push before beginning the pushing phase. (even my OB believes fully in this as it helps baby get into the perfect position so you don’t spend hours upon hours pushing)
  • I would appreciate having the room lights turned low for the actual delivery. (seriously, who wants to feel like giving birth in a place as bright as a gym?)
  • I would like to have the baby placed on my stomach/chest immediately after delivery. (normal procedure, but you never know)


  • (coach) does not wish to cut the cord. (yea, hubby is not a fan)
  • I would prefer that the umbilical cord stop pulsating before it is cut.
  • I would like to hold the baby while I deliver the placenta and any tissue repairs are made. (at least then I’ll be able to focus on my new little babe and maybe not want to kick the doctor in the head so much!)
  • I would like to have the baby evaluated and bathed in my presence. (normal practice, but just in case)
  • I plan to keep the baby near me following birth and would appreciate if the evaluation of the baby can be done with the baby on my abdomen, with both of us covered by a warm blanket, unless there is an unusual situation.
  • If the baby must be taken from me to receive medical treatment, (coach) or some other person I designate will accompany the baby at all times. (just letting them know that baby’s not to leave my sight w/o someone else following along!)
  • I would prefer to hold the baby rather than have (him/her) placed under heat lamps. (so much nicer for the two of us)
  • I do not want a routine injection of pitocin after the delivery to aid in expelling the placenta. (it always comes out right? 🙂 and breastfeeding right after birth helps)

*The baby is not to receive the Hep B shot (I don’t have it, so it can wait. If we do the Hep B series at all)
*The baby is not to receive the eye medication
*The baby is not to receive the vitamin K shot (unless of course baby is huge or we’ve had a hard delivery. ex. the use of forceps or vacuum)


  • Unless required for health reasons, I do not wish to be separated from my baby.
  • I would like to have the baby “room in” and be with me at all times. (why send such a teeny little being off on their own when you are the only person they know? Plus, it’s beneficial for breastfeeding! That, and babies in the nursery actually cry more than ones left with mom. No one takes my baby away!!)


  • I plan to breastfeed the baby and would like to begin nursing very shortly after birth.
  • Unless medically necessary, I do not wish to have any bottles given to the baby (including glucose water or plain water). (babies aren’t born hungry no matter how big they are, and need no other supplement than the colostrum they get from mom! Plus it sets you up for hardship while breastfeeding if baby gets formula now and then goes home with mom whose milk still hasn’t come in. Then you’ll have a frustrated baby. And if baby has trouble latching, ask for a lactation consultant before the nurse crams glucose water into baby. yea, that happened to me.)
  • I do not want the baby to be given a pacifier. (again, bad for breastfeeding. I wait at least a couple weeks to offer one)

So there you have it. My list of wants. Well, some of them are must haves! (rooming in, breastfeeding, no vacs, and oh yea, don’t take my baby!)

Any of you other pregnant mamas have a “plan”? What does yours look like?

All images and content are protected under US copyright laws, please do not copy and paste.

Links in the post above may be affiliate or referral links - meaning that through a sale I may be given monetary benefit. I blog with integrity and only endorse companies and products I love.

This blog is for educational purposes only. The information provided by Donielle, or any contributor, is not intended to diagnose, treat, or cure any condition. If you are seeking medical advice, please search out a qualified health practitioner.