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Saturday, December 21, 2013

Amazing Mom Feature: Kate Minder- From Tummy to Mummy

How many of you are new Moms? Expecting? Planning a family? Like any new phase in life, starting a family can be cause for a lot of discussion, and addressing your birth experience will likely be a topic. Aside from thinking about what kind of birth you would like (home or hospital? Natural or epidural please?!) and packing that infamous hospital bag, another consideration is who you want there with you and planning for what happens once baby has made his or her debut. Do you want an intimate birth experience with just your partner present? Mom or trusted friend? Or do you want the waiting room filled to the rafters with those awaiting the announcement? Would you like a birth assistant present, such as a midwife or doula? How about some of the newer, less- traditional considerations, such as placenta encapsulation & cord blood preservation? As with anything new, it can be overwhelming to navigate all of the information and options and decide what is important for you, your baby, and the new family you'll be creating. 

This week, I have the pleasure of introducing you to Kate Minder of From Tummy to Mummy. Certified both as a Birth Doula and in Placenta Encapsulation, Kate offers valuable support for women during and following birth. Whether you know your hubby will need more help breathing through labour than you (*wink) or are concerned about offsetting postpartum depression (PPD) by encapsulating your placenta, Kate is one of those kindred spirits who can offer help, support, and guidance to help you achieve the birth experience you hope for.

In addition to my usual Amazing Mom questions, I asked Kate to provide some info about placenta encapsulation. Below you'll find info about the health benefits, the process, and cost of encapsulation, followed by my regular questions. 

In regards to placenta encapsulation...

What are the health benefits?
Typically, the placenta is used to:

  • Balance your hormones
  • Increase milk supply
  • Combat fatigue
  • Increase your energy
  • Recover more quickly from childbirth
  • Replenish what was lost during childbirth
  • Bring the body back into balance
  • Prevent and treat the “baby blues”
  • Shorten postnatal bleeding time
  • Increase postnatal iron levels
  • Help with involution of the uterus

Studies show that the placenta is extremely nutrient rich.  It is high in iron, protein, vitamins, and minerals- including vitamin B6 and your own natural hormones- making it perfectly made for you, by you.  Experts agree that the placenta retains hormones, and thus reintroducing them to your system may ease hormonal fluctuations. 

The most common remark made by women who have encapsulated their placentas is that their energy levels are amazing and they feel very “level”, very balanced.  Quite a few will tell me that they can ‘feel’ when it is time for their next lot of capsules and right after they take them, they notice a big difference with their energy and overall feeling of wellness.

How does an expectant mom sign up for it/ what is the process?
After doing over 150 encapsulations, I have been able to streamline the booking process to make it as easy and simple as possible.  I have an online form which asks all the pertinent questions and takes about two minutes to complete. Once I have received the completed form, I will send an email confirming receipt and attach a document that gives you all the information you need to know about when to call me and so on.

Once the baby has arrived, the rest of the process is very straightforward:  After your little one has arrived, your partner (usually) sends me a text or calls me to let me know the happy news.  In the meantime, the placenta will have been put in two plastic bags, one inside the other, by nurses or your midwife if you are birthing at home, and is kept either on ice (usually the partner’s job to do this) or in the fridge until I arrive.  I will come to your birthing location (home or hospital) with my ice filled cooler and take the placenta away with me.  Once I arrive home, my entire work surface is disinfected and covered with a disposable pad, and all my equipment is prepared by being disinfected and rinsed.  The placenta is kept in the cooler until I am ready and then it is washed, gently steamed (only if we are using a Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM) inspired method) and then sliced and placed in the dehydrator.  If we are doing a Raw method, there is no steaming involved and the placenta is sliced after is has been rinsed and then placed inside the dehydrator.  With both methods, after the placenta has been completely dehydrated, it is then ground into a fine powder and placed into vegetarian capsules.  The process usually takes about 24hrs to complete from the time I come to pick up the placenta to the time I am ready to deliver the capsules. 
I feel it is very important to let people know that my workspace for placenta encapsulation is in a completely separate area in my home, not my kitchen.  This room is used only for placenta preparation, dehydration, and encapsulation.  My home is also pet and smoke free.  All the equipment I use is designated specifically and solely for encapsulation.  Equipment that comes into contact with raw placenta that cannot be disinfected (face mask, gloves, apron, cutting trays, sponges, etc.) is thrown out.  My knives, pots, colander, and dehydrator are all rinsed, then disinfected, and then rinsed again. Any linens that are used are washed in a disinfecting solution imported from Germany. The machine I use to grind the dehydrated placenta can be completely disassembled so that all the pieces can be disinfected and rinsed as well.  My disinfecting and sanitizing protocol is thorough and rigorous. I am a self-confessed, obsessive compulsive germaphob!  I am incredibly detailed with each step and am always mindful to ensure that the highest level of safety and care is maintained. 

How much does it cost?
My fees start at $250.  This includes pick up of your placenta from your birthing location and delivery your capsules back to you about 24 hours later.  A placenta print and cord keep sake is also included in my fee.  Tinctures, dream catchers and other placenta services are all available at a separate cost and upon request.

... And now my usual Amazing Mom questions...

1.     What kind of products and/ or services do you offer?
I provide Placenta Encapsulation and Birth Doula services to families throughout the Lower Mainland - I am Certified in both areas.

As a doula I support a woman and her partner through her labour, the birth of her child and the postpartum period. Having 4 children and 4 very different birthing experiences, I come from a place of true understanding. I have also attended many births over the years, so have a wonderful wealth of experience to draw from.
As a Certified Placenta Encapsulation Specialist, I provide a variety of encapsulation services to new mothers.  From placenta capsules, preparing a placenta smoothie (with a tiny piece of placenta for immediately after birth), to a dream catcher, a placenta print, cord keepsake, salves, tinctures, infusions and more.  I am so fortunate to meet some incredible women and meet their little ones in the first few hours after their birth.

2.     What is the price point?
       My doula services are $800 and placenta encapsulation starts at $250 with tinctures and salves at an additional cost.  I am always open to creating a custom package should someone need specific services.

3.     How long have you been operating and how did you start?
I formed From Tummy To Mummy two years ago, after my littlest turned two.  Life became a bit more settled and I had a desire to focus on supporting women and their families and do something more ‘official’ and long term. 

I started with a ton of ideas and not enough hours in the day – or night!  I made some wonderful connections networking with likeminded people and a lot of my business comes from chatting with people as I am out and about at the supermarket or at the park.  My desire to become certified as both a placenta encapsulation specialist as well as a doula is my commitment to the families I support to be the best I can be and to have the most current information and training available.

4.       How did you decide what to do?
         I sort of ‘fell’ into being a doula.  I attended my first birth in 1994 and saw what a difference it meant to my friend to have someone with her for her entire labour and her son’s birth.  It was her third child, she was a single mum, and was in her late thirties.  She said that having someone empathetic, supportive, and encouraging made a huge difference in her birth experience.
        I decided to offer encapsulation services when I learned all about the natural support and benefits it provides postpartum.  When my fourth son was born, I was 42 and I struggled with PPD (postpartum depression) for the year after his birth.  As I scoured the internet for a natural way to support myself, I came across placenta encapsulation and from there read the research, spoke to people, and became intrigued with what I was learning and hearing.  I took all the training and certification requirements and became certified in 2012.  I am the first Certified Independent Encapsulation Specialist in Canada with Full Circle.  I am committed to providing the highest quality and level of service to the women and families I serve.  I am currently becoming certified as a Full Circle Instructor to teach and train others in placenta encapsulation and will be offering workshops all over Canada starting in 2014. 

4.     What is your favourite part of what you do? What is the biggest challenge?
For me, knowing that I am supporting not only a new mum but her partner AND her baby, is huge to me.  That is the best and by far my most favourite part.  I know how challenging it is being a mum – regardless of how old you are or how many children you have – and being able to provide a service that benefits the entire family is wonderful.  Doing what I wholeheartedly believe in and love to do and providing excellent service is essential to me.  I love that I have flexibility in my work schedule and can spend time with my two youngest boys, that’s really important to me. 

My biggest challenge is balance.  Turning off work and tuning into the needs of everyone at home when they all pour through the door.  It can be full on in the span of a few seconds! 

5.     Any advice to other ladies/ moms looking to start their own business?
Do what you believe in and what you love.  As trite as that sounds, you have to do something that gets you out of bed in the morning and something that is going to challenge you in every area.  Just because you love what you do doesn’t mean it is always easy but it makes an enormous difference in how you feel at the end of the day.

If you are curious about doula services or placenta encapsulation, you can check out the From Tummy to Mummy website or contact Kate at katie@fromtummytomummy.com

Kate is also offering a promotion to The Pampered Baby readers: If you are feeling stressed or overwhelmed and are looking for a natural solution, you can try a tincture (a natural herbal concentrate) for free when you purchase another (BOGO free!).