To spin a baby or not? Aka. how I got schooled.
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To spin a baby or not? Aka. how I got schooled.

23 Nov To spin a baby or not? Aka. how I got schooled.

I have always loved to learn. The smell of books, understanding a concept, diving in with targeted focus, quiet time and space, being able to touch to learn. I’m just happy sitting here typing those things.

In this season of rapid growth both with Doulas of Marquette and as a Mama to three very, VERY busy children, I have found it nearly impossible to sit down and get in as much reading as I’d like.

I can just see all you Mamas out there shaking your heads yes with me.

These days, I find myself listening to more audible books, and whenever I have the opportunity, I go to any and every hands-on workshop I can get to.

This past weekend, I had the opportunity to go to Spinning Babies with my dear friend and colleague, Emily Jacobson from Green Bay Doulas.

I went into the weekend wondering how it was going to go.

I was excited because:

I was going to get to learn in-person/hands-on which would help me to further wrap my mind around what I had already learned about Spinning Babies. I was going on a road trip after being a solo Mama for four days the previous week while my husband was in D.C. meeting with the USDA (can I get an AMEN for needing a break sometimes? And also my husband is so cool, amen too!). And I was going to get to meet Gail Tully, the founder of Spinning Babies (which I was actually wrong about).

I was nervous because:

As a doula, I know that I have NO WAY of knowing for certain what position a baby is in unless a care provider confirms the position since doulas should NEVER be doing anything medical (like cervical exams, or even palpating). Also, it’s not my role to spin anyone’s baby, well besides my own around on the floor during our dance parties. My role as a doula is to help bring comfort, to offer resources to my clients with the information we have, to support them in ALL their decisions, and to not ASSUME anything. I have seen babies born posterior, I have seen moms have very much needed cesareans, and I have also seen many a mother fixate on what position her baby is in, EVEN when things are progressing and labor is moving along. Deep down I was nervous that the Spinning Babies trainer was going to tell me that it was my RESPONSIBILITY to fix the position. And that if I didn’t, I had failed. You see, I was told that during my first doula training, that concerning certain outcomes of births, it was my responsibility if it ended a certain way. It slowly killed my heart for many years, because I could never get with it. I had been lied to, thank goodness I found ProDoula. To say I went into Spinning Babies holding my breath a little, and praying this would be different, is an understatement.

It didn’t happen. My fears DIDN’T HAPPEN! I was so, SO happy. I truly got schooled, in the best way ever. Spinning Babies schooled me, for real.

Our Spinning Babies trainer, was Tammy Ryan, she has been a doula for years, and has been ALL over the world helping support women and mothers. She has seen it all in childbirth, a few of her stories about her work in Africa touched my heart so deeply, it literally brought me to tears. It also brought an even deeper thankfulness for the medical care we have available here. Tammy was so wonderful, that my initial confusion of where Gail was literally left my mind altogether.

I wish I could breakdown everything I learned for you here, but the truth is this blog wouldn’t stop, so I’m going to leave you with some of my favorite things: 

  • The fact that the room was full of Doulas, CPM’s, Family Doctors, RN’s, Chiropractors, Chinese Medicine Doctor, Expecting Mothers (and their own mothers, too)!
  • Tammy’s realness with the class, and how in our private conversation she was really open with me about the questions I asked her. She took time to ask about us, what we all did, and you could tell she genuinely loves to help people and is ALL about professionalism.
  • The moment that Tammy went over Penny Simkin’s seven questions concerning the scope of a doula in relation to using spinning babies, and how we really shouldn’t be telling anyone to do anything, but providing information ONLY if the mother wants it, and in a way that is SAFE, and that a mother should be in conversation with her CARE PROVIDER as to what she would like to do. That we shouldn’t be in any way taking the place of a care provider, well, unless we are care providers. Which a doula is not!
  • The fact that there was no agenda, and that a mother NOT feeling comfortable doing any of the positions was listed right along with health reasons to avoid them. Honoring a woman’s desires HAS to be number one in my book, whatever that looks like for her, and Spinning Babies agrees!
  • Learning and executing the exact techniques in person through Tammy’s words, demonstrations, pictures, hands-on practice with my partner where Tammy came around and checked to make sure it was spot-on correct, and how Tammy took time to walk through each position on the model pelvis with me (hello childbirth educator!).
  • Watching Belly Mapping come to life! I can’t WAIT to help clients who would like to learn about this!
  • Learning about connective tissue fibers (fascia), pelvic health, and thinking of my friend Chloe of Northern Body&Sole and how big of a deal the work she does is.
  • How as doulas we aren’t actually “spinning a baby” at all, but rather releasing, bringing comfort, and gentle touch that support to our clients as they labor, which may facilitate baby moving.
  • Leaving the training on the verge of tears being so thankful that we were given so many tools and in a safe and non-extreme way.

Driving back today I thought over the conference, still so in awe of how it all went. I’ve come back home to Marquette with the knowledge, and understanding in how to use these tools if our clients (or future clients) would like to use them. With no pressure to use them if someone doesn’t want to, and if they do, the correct way to go about it (talking to their provider, and correct positioning).

Spinning Babies with Tammy Ryan: 10/10