“I am hopeful - eternally optimistic - that I will be a mother one day and that I am not alone in my journey”

Tell us about where you are on your journey to motherhood. 

I am a hopeful mother. 

In 2016, I had my first of what would become multiple miscarriages. 

About a year after my first miscarriage, I had a drastic change in my cycle. I went from having a fairly normal menstruation with minimal cramping to soaking through ultra-sized tampons for hours at a time. I also had debilitating cramps which sidelined me from doing anything other than laying down with a heat pack and coping with OTC painkillers. I had gone from taking a few pills to the entire bottle every month during my period. 

I finally had an appointment in which I was diagnosed with adenomyosis and I remember saying “ADD-A-NO-what??” to the doctor because I had never heard of it.

What I learned about adenomyosis is that the tissue that typically lines the uterus grows into the muscular wall of the uterus. It is the “cousin” to endometriosis and shortly after getting the first diagnosis of adenomyosis, I was also diagnosed with stage 4 endometriosis.

Although it took a few years to finally get answers as to why I was having trouble carrying pregnancies to term, it was such a relief to know what was actually going on with my reproductive health. In addition, I turned to Traditional Chinese Medicine for pain management and to understand my own body in a holistic, less clinical way. It was the most empowering and healing process that I’ve experienced in my journey.

I turned to Traditional Chinese Medicine for pain management and to understand my own body in a holistic, less clinical way.

I have a few big steps ahead of me that include embryo freezing and excision surgery for my endometriosis before I can try to get pregnant again, but I am hopeful - eternally optimistic - that I will be a mother one day and that I am not alone in my journey.

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As a doula, you have seen it all. What is the best advice you have for preparing for labor and delivery?

I have seen and heard it all! That’s also why I love being a birth doula. I spend a lot of time with my clients before the big birthday because so much of our work as doulas is based on chemistry, trust and empowerment. I love empowering and educating my clients and their partners on having a collaborative pregnancy journey with their primary provider. 

My best advice for preparing for labor and delivery is to tap into your five senses: sight, hearing, smell, taste and touch. 

Create a birth expectations plan to help visualize the birthing experience that you would like to have. Create a (very long!) playlist that helps to ground you in your breathing but also helps with the pace as you progress through the phases of labor. Aromatherapy is the ultimate form of ambiance and having different oils trigger different things. Make sure to have your fridge stocked with nourishing and hydrating foods and beverages. Labor is a marathon and you need the calories and stamina to get through it. Consider touch as the relaxation in massage or the coolness of a washcloth on your forehead. I tend to hop in the shower with my clients to do hydrotherapy work - there is nothing like lower back massage with the help of a showerhead to get you through those intense surges! 

Finally, the most important sense, the sixth sense of intuition. You know your body better than anyone else. Tap into your intuition and follow the rhythms of your body.

What is Poppy Seed Health, and how did your journey lead you to founding this company?

Poppy Seed Health is a telehealth solution transforming the way we support pregnant and postpartum womxn with 24/7 on-demand text access to doulas, midwives and nurses. Data shows that working with an advocate positively impacts health outcomes. We are providing emotional and mental health support that is typically missing in clinical care and the safe space to ask about things like home remedies for hemorrhoids (Yes! They happen!) to postpartum lactation questions. 

My own experience with having a miscarriage and being shuffled out of the doctors office within 10 minutes, with no after care resources or access to emotional or mental health support, helped to shape the birth story of Poppy Seed Health. 

Last question: what advice do you have for other aspiring mamas? 

My advice for aspiring mamas is to remember to be king and gentle to yourself. At times, it can be a frustrating and difficult path, but always remember, that you are not alone.