Lexington's Ice Cream Hall of Fame

Nothing says summertime more like an ice cream cone. 

Making summer memories with your family can be simple and sweet. 

Lexington has some ice cream destinations to make your family's summer a little bit sweeter. No matter what your favorite flavor is, our local ice cream top five will satisfy any sweet tooth.

1. Crank and Boom Ice Cream Lounge

Our first stop might just be the coolest ice cream shop in Kentucky. Crank and Boom features an inviting atmosphere with an interesting assortment of craft ice cream flavors. There's no mistake that this ice cream spot is Lexington's most popular, with bright and fresh local ingredients. Whether you go straight for the quirky flavors like blueberry lime cheesecake or opt for a more traditional float, Crank and Boom can't be beat.

2. Graeter's Ice Cream

If you're looking for a more classic ice cream parlor experience, Graeter's is the place to go. Graeter's has vintage malt shop classics from shakes and floats to sundaes complete with home made toppings. Going on a family outing? They even offers a complete to-go ice cream party in a box kept chilled for up to 8 hours on dry ice.This Lexington staple is a family friendly ice cream pit stop that the whole family can enjoy. 

3. The Sweet Spot

This diamond in the rough is home to some of Lexington's sweetest treats. Satisfy your mid-day sweet tooth with one of the cake truffles or desserts to go with your favorite ice cream. This charming spot draws a lunchtime crowd with their freshly made confections and irresistible ice cream treats. Make The Sweet Spot your next lunchtime pit stop, complete with friendly service and a delicious dessert (Or two).

4. Sav's Chill

If you crave crazy flavors, Sav's Chill should be your first stop. Flavors here will not disappoint and they'll be sure to bring out your wild side. If you're an ice cream purist, your traditional favorites are still safe here so there's no need to worry. Decadent gelato and fresh fruit sorbet are regular staples at Sav's. Make your next trip for ice cream a little more adventurous with their signature "Bourbon Ball" or the "Hot Banana", who knows if you'll ever go back to plain ol' vanilla. 

5. Sorella Gelateria

Sometimes you need a little more fancy in your life, and Italian gelato is artfully fancy. Fresh gelato is second to none in the dessert world, as ice cream's sultry Italian cousin. Gelato is super rich, velvety and has the bold flavors that keep Lexington captivated and wanting more. At Sorella Gelateria, their gelato is expertly crafted in small batches to keep flavors fresh and exciting each time you visit. Whenever you're in the mood to indulge, Lexington's Sorella Gelateria should definitely make the top of your list. 

Now that we are completely craving some local ice cream, we hope your family finds their new favorite ice cream spot in Lexington from our ice cream hall of fame!

Now the only question scoop or two?

Make summer memories a little sweeter.



Placenta Encapsulation: No Place Like Home

When it comes to placenta encapsulation, there's no place like home. 

Our placenta specialists want to make sure your encapsulation is a safe and professional experience, where you're welcome to watch the process and ask questions all in the familiar space of your own home. 


What are the Benefits of Placenta Encapsulation?

After childbirth, a woman's body has a lot of physical and emotional healing to do.

Placenta encapsulation offers a wide range of benefits that help women balance their chemistry during the postpartum period, restoring their hormones to their normal state.

Women can experience improved mood, increased milk production, and a shorter postpartum recovery. This all natural process has little to no negative side affects and has been a postpartum healing method for centuries in cultures around the world. 


Your placenta is precious cargo!

The transportation of your placenta is a delicate process in itself. Placing the responsibility to transport the placenta in the client's possession is added peace of mind. From here, families can be aware of the placenta's whereabouts and control the environment the placenta is stored. 

Your placenta should never have to leave your sight and your specialist comes to you to prepare this extraordinary holistic medicine. 


Why Encapsulate in Home? 

Encapsulating placenta is a meticulous process that requires sterilization from start to finish. Storing your placenta shouldn't be a mystery and we believe it should stay in your possession from birth to finished product. 

When the placenta preparation takes place at the client's home, they are in control of the environment and can be completely comfortable with the preparation area. 

In home encapsulation is the only standard to ensure that the placenta is being processed in a completely sterile environment and providing a personal experience each client can trust. 


What Sets Us Apart?

Our team of placenta encapsulation specialists are certified by ProDoula and are professionally trained to handle and prepare placenta for safe consumption.

We educate families about the benefits of placenta encapsulation and always encourage them to participate by asking questions or watching the process take place.

Our passionate team is setting out to create an experience for families and uphold the high standards in the field of placenta prep.

Our specialists only encapsulate in the homes of our clients to ensure the safest storage and preparation environment, where we can provide a quality product for healing mothers. 

If you are looking for more information about placenta encapsulation and how this process can help restore your postpartum health, consult with us. 

A Birth Haven Postpartum Placenta Specialist will walk you through the process, keeping you in the loop of what to expect, benefits and known side effects. 








Summer and Sun Safety

Summertime is something to celebrate. It means days in the warm sun, parties and vacations. There is however a serious side to summer that can potentially injure you and your family. Take charge with tips and tricks to keeping your family safe during all your fun summer activities. 

Sun Protection for 6 Months and Under

Infants under 6 months should be kept out of the sun as much as possible. According to the skin cancer foundation, babies under 6 months old are extremely susceptible to damaging UV rays. With skin too sensitive to sunscreen preventive measures should be taken to reduce the risk of exposure to the sun's harsh rays.

  • Invest in protection for your car's windows. UV rays can creep right into your windows while your baby is nestled in their carseat. Reduce these rays by up to 100%* by using UV films and mesh sun guards
  • Lightweight clothing that covers as much as possible and large sun hats are not only adorable summer baby fashion but seriously protect skin from exposure to sun damage and injury. 
  • Limit outdoor activity with little ones to early morning and dinnertime while the sun is at it's most mild.

When possible keep your baby cool indoors, keep them hydrated and bathe them with cool (not freezing!) water when they get too hot. Pay attention to signs that your baby is becoming overwhelmed by the heat including red or flushed skin, perspiration, or in severe cases dizziness or shakes. 

Sun Protection for 6 Months to One Year

Once your little one is over 6 months old, baby safe sunscreens are safe to use and should be applied properly and routinely throughout their exposure to the sun.  Choosing tear-free formulas will be safer to use around the face and eyes. 

Apply sunscreen with a minimum of SPF 15+ onto any exposed skin including scalp, hands, face and feet. If you are using a spray, spray in your hands first and rub gently into their skin to avoid missing any areas. Sunscreen should be applied 30 minutes before you even venture outside and every 2 hours afterward. 

Continue to monitor symptoms of heat exhaustion and make sure your baby is hydrated and inside whenever possible. 

Sun Protection for Toddlers and Up

For the older and more active toddler in your life continue your sunscreen regimen and a waterproof or sport is typically longer lasting on your little ones. 

summer clothing should be lightweight and breathable but also covered. Scalps, the back of the neck and shoulders are particularly susceptible to sunburns. 

Keep outdoor playtime early in the day or in the evening and daytime outdoor activity should be as shady as possible. Keep hydrated and remember to use sunscreen even if you and your children are going swimming. Even waterproof sunscreen needs to be reapplied regularly.

Sunglasses and sun hats are your best friend and will keep your eyes and head thoroughly protected. They even make baby sunglasses!

Sun Protection for the Whole Family

Eat Smart for Summer Health

Eat smaller more frequent meals that replenish lost nutrients. Freeze fruits and veggies into popsicles for a quick cool down that wont slow you down. Hydrate constantly and choose water and homemade flavored water instead of sugary drinks high in sodium. Sodas will dehydrate you even more with all their added sodium. 

Healthy Skin for the Win

Remember to moisturize your skin every day to combat harsh damage over drying from the sun. For sunburns keep an aloe plant or put some aloe aftercare gel in the refrigerator for soothing relief for painful sunburns. For very sad very sunburned little ones, stick them in a cool water bath with some oatmeal and chamomile tea bags. Chamomile and oatmeal will soothe irritation as the damage repairs itself. 

For grown ups, use the chamomile trick on a sunburnt face. Soak chamomile teabags in cool water and place them on your face, refreshing them in the cool water every so often. This is a chemical free alternative to after care sprays and feels amazing on that sunburnt nose. 

Heat Exhaustion Is Real

Heat exhaustion doesn't discriminate based on age, complexion, or fitness level. Extreme heat and dehydration will drain your energy and cause fatigue. Allow yourself to rest from yard work, take constant breaks indoors or in the shade and keep water nearby. 

The dangers of summer sun and heat shouldn't scare you away from having a good time and celebrating the season with your family. Be prepared when you leave the house and educate your family on what to do in case of heat exhaustion or sunburns. Prevention will keep your skin safe from painful sunburns and protect your skin from long term damage caused by UV exposure. 

The Birth Haven wishes you and your family a SAFE summer. 




Pregnancy and Postpartum Classes & Support Groups in Lexington Kentucky

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We have been doing a bit of reconfiguring here at The Birth Haven and wanted to fill you in on the updates to our prenatal and postpartum support groups and classes

Are you looking for pregnancy support groups and classes in Lexington Kentucky? 

Are you looking for postpartum support group and classes in Lexington Kentucky? 

Look no further. The Birth Haven AND Baby Moon have you covered! 

As you may know, Baby Moon and The Birth Haven share the same location (2891 Richmond Rd # 103, Lexington, KY 40509) and we will be offering a variety of prenatal and postpartum support groups and classes meant to benefit you and your growing family.

CENTERING | The Birth Haven's non-medical group prenatal visit

Centering is a group class that brings expectant families in Lexington, and the surrounding areas, together to learn laugh and grow. This class will help you and your partner prepare a postpartum plan that will provide you with what you need as a new family. This class covers topics that include, but are not limited to, birth plan writing, childbirth education Q&A sessions. 

Woman to Woman | The Birth Haven's female only gathering

Our ladies only gathering, Woman to Woman, is a support group that gives local moms and moms-to-be an opportunity to relate to each other on a variety of motherhood related topics through candid discussions. We welcome all mothers, from our pregnant clients, all the way to postpartum women with baby in arms! Feel free to bring a friend to this support group. Just remember, women only. 

All clients of The Birth Haven are welcome to both the Centering and Woman to Woman group gatherings.

Baby Moon | Transitions: Bringing Baby Home

Covering the essentials of newborn care, this postpartum prep class dives deep into topics including cord care, bathing, diapering, sleep schedules, feeding schedules, postpartum recovery and more. We also cover the emotional side of the postpartum period. Learn to navigate the early stages of parenthood, cope with postpartum hormones and learn how to identify the warning signs of postpartum mood disorders. 

Consider this class a guide to your family's momentous transition.

Baby Moon | Breastfeeding 1: The Essentials

As natural as breastfeeding is, it still very much a learned skill for mother and baby that requires patients and persistence. Baby Moon's Breastfeeding Essentials class will give you key information that will help ease into breastfeeding with your baby. This specialized breastfeeding class is taught by a breastfeeding expert and Internationally Board Certified Lactation Consultant.

Baby Moon | Breastfeeding 2: Pumping & being away from your baby while breastfeeding

The focus of this class is to maintain a happy and healthy connection between you and your baby while breastfeeding. In this class we cover how to continue breastfeeding successfully when apart from your baby. You will also learn the ins and outs of pumping, how and when to introduce a bottle, and how to keep up your milk supply while you are away from your baby. This class also covers how to safely pump, store, reheat, and serve breast milk.

This class is essential for those planning to return to work, and also appropriate for anyone who plans to be away from their baby while breastfeeding.

Baby Moon | Birth Preparation

Attending a childbirth class has many perks. You not only walk away from this class knowing the hows and whys of childbirth, you also leave fully understanding all of YOUR options for YOUR birth. While you are writing your birth plan it will be extremely beneficial to be able to make an informed decision about how you want your birth to go. 

Baby Moon | 5 Week Childbirth Series

The main focus of the class is preparing you physically and mentally for a safe and satisfying birthing experience. A wide range of important topics are covered from prenatal exercise and nutrition to newborn procedures.

This series should be completed before about 37 weeks of pregnancy, to allow time for further planning and practice based on what you've learned.

Baby Moon | Hypnobabies 

Hypnobabies is a 6-week complete childbirth education course that incorporates real medical hypnosis techniques for easier and more comfortable births. Hypnobabies assists in eliminating fears that are often associated with childbirth. Each registrant receives a tote bag filled with a Hypnobabies workbook, script booklet, handout folder, multiple mp3 cards, and more.

Our students leave calm, confident and ready to enter their birth with reassurance and understanding. Register now—these popular classes fill fast!

Baby Moon | Childbirth Express

This class is meant for those who cannot commit to a long series for their childbirth education. We have condensed this informative class into a one day format. Because our class sizes are kept small, we are able to provide personal attention and tailor the information to meet the needs of each individual class. This ensures that even in this intensive format, you will leave with your big questions answered, feeling more confident and more prepared.

Baby Moon | Labor Workshop/ The Refresher

This comfort measures and labor support workshop provides you with specific tools for coping with labor, providing partner support, and navigating your birth setting. This class is also great for couples who have already experienced childbirth who are looking for a 'refresher'.

Together, The Birth Haven and Baby Moon are excited to be giving expectant couples prenatal and postpartum support groupsclasses and resources to apply to through their journey through parenthood. 



Self Care Is Not Selfish, It Is a Necessity.

The Birth Haven Blog

With Mother's Day quickly approaching, The Birth Haven has been focusing on health and self care.

When we do not take care of ourselves, we cannot adequately care for those around us!

Self care is NOT selfish, it is a necessity. Mother's often  have an overwhelming amount of responsibility on their plate, being pulled in a million directions and not getting very much sleep. Self care becomes a means of survival and The Birth Haven knows just the things you need in order to begin taking time for yourself.

Motherhood begins 9 months prior to that bouncing bundle of joy joining the outside world and continues as a lifelong journey. Although different for everyone, the physical and emotional impacts of pregnancy and post baby affect all women. Whether you are feeling worn down, out of shape or some sort of crazy, The Birth Haven recommends beginning a prenatal fitness routine. 

Exercise is proven to have several benefits to a person's mental health as well as physical. 

When you exercise, your body releases serotonin, the happy stuff. Not only will your mental state benefit from a regular fitness plan, but keeping your body in great health keeps your baby in great health too. You may even be able to fight off some sickness and fatigue as well! 

Although it  may sound a little intimidating, there are vast amount of fitness routines and exercises you can do throughout your entire pregnancy and after your baby arrives.

If you are in the Lexington area, our top choice for a prenatal fitness class is Baby Moon.

Baby Moon offers Prenatal Yoga which focuses on strength, centering and preparing a mother for birth as well as Mom and Baby Yoga classes for after your baby arrives. Connecting mothers to one another, strengthening the body and giving unconditional support are all common themes with Baby Moon classes.

Need a massage to melt away the aches of pregnancy or the stress of new parenthood? Be sure to book a Belly Bliss massage from specially trained Prenatal Massage therapists, Tatsiana and Caitlin. Pain will melt away and worries will fade as tension and stress are eliminated through massage suited to your individual needs. Massage appointments and gift certificates can be booked through Baby Moon and make the perfect gift for mothers to be as well as Grandma, if you're  still looking for that perfect last minute gift!

Whether you are pregnant, have your first baby at home or parent multiple children, The Rhythm Within could be the perfect gift to yourself. The Rhythm Within is a 2 disc set that was made for active and transitional labor but can also be used for so much more. This birth music mimics the sound of a woman's heartbeat at 80 bpm creating a calm, soothing atmosphere. The greatest thing about this cd is that you can use it for your yoga routines, meditation, putting the kids down for a nap or to even help you get much needed rest at night. 

The Rhythm Within is available for purchase on the ProDoula website. 


The Birth Haven Blog - The Rhythm Within

Do you have plans for Mother's Day already? Do you want to drop your spouse a hint for fun things to do this Mother's Day? The Birth Haven did a little research to help plan your day.

Brunch at Brasserie Provence featuring a 3 course menu, seating from 11am to 2pm so call and make a reservation today or book online here

If French isn't quite your taste, try Le Moo in Louisville for steak and several special dietary options or visit the Village Anchor right here in Lexington for brunch or dinner. Again as a reminder, reservations will fill up quickly so you better grab an open table while they're still available!

After dining, sit back and enjoy the view on the Bluegrass Scenic Railroad as you wander through the countryside house farms. This is a great way to spend Mother's Day with the kids. They are offering half price admission for Mom's on May 8th. 

If you are expecting or a new mother looking for some nurturing support, please contact The Birth Haven to find out what our professional doulas can do for you. We offer a wide array of services for birth, postpartum and much more.  Need a good night sleep? Our postpartum doulas can do just that and more! Whether you care for yourself through fitness, massage, music, food or postpartum doula care, let us help make this a Mother's day you will never forget! For weekly updates follow us on Instagram and Pinterest and like us on Facebook.  





I didn't invite you to tell me that!


From the very beginning of pregnancy, people everywhere deem it appropriate to "lovingly" give information and advice. It's very apparent that they just haven't received the memo: It isn't appropriate to pounce on pregnant people and instill information on them without an invitation to do so!

Just the other day I was watching the interaction between parents in an online forum. A general question was posed to a specific subset of people and everyone chimed in with their opinions. The original poster wasn’t asking for a variety of opinions, but she got them anyway. It made me think about how important it is to have non judgmental support during pregnancy, birth and parenting. What would the world look like if we cheered on the person choosing an epidural, the one opting to go unmedicated, the parent choosing to formula feed or the one breastfeeding? Unconditional support and kindness would build up our community and overflow into every other facet of life.

When The Birth Haven was established, my goal was for families to be matched with a professional doula. It was a simple concept, but I had no idea it would become what it is today. Our Lexington doulas offer superior support to families by giving them the information they desire and not the information we think they need to have. 

Think about that for a second.

We don’t believe that you must take a certain childbirth class, have a certain doctor or midwife or go to a particular hospital to have the birth experience you desire to have. The Birth Haven doulas fully trust every decision you make and honor it with cheering you on from start to finish!

As a pregnant person, you are going to be bombarded with opinions from friends, family, social media, blogs and strangers. Let us be your source of committed support throughout your pregnancy and beyond. We are there to help you filter through a multitude of information until you discover what is best for you and your growing family. 



The Birth Haven Easter Guide: Hoppin' Around Lexington!

Easter came early this year and you're running around trying to throw together a quick and fun activity for the family with little to no time left to waste. The Birth Haven decided to step in and help you out!

We have a composed a list of great ways to spend Easter with friends and family in and around Lexington

If you want to brave the crowds, you have til Sunday to get your pictures with the Easter Bunny at the Fayette Mall . You can skip the lines with a Fast Pass and you also have the option to preorder your photo packages. If you are closer to Lexington Green, hop upstairs to Travis Clark Photography studio, visit their live bunnies while you wait for your turn with the Easter Bunny. 

As parents we tend to put immense pressure on ourselves to cover all the bases when it comes to celebrations and holiday events. This Easter there are so many options all weekend long in the Lexington area that you'll have plenty to keep your little ones busy and take part in the fun with them. 

On Saturday March 26th at 2:00pm, take the family for a ride on the Bluegrass Railway Easter Bunny Train. 

The Easter Bunny will come around the aisles to pass out hugs and take pictures with all the children and you can enjoy the views of Lexington in bloom along the way.

Depending on where you are located, there are Easter egg hunts spread out around the neighborhoods on Saturday morning into the early afternoon. 

Get an early start Saturday at 9am at the South Elkhorn Christian Church for crafts with the kids, an easter egg hunt and games. 

Hill n Dale Christian Church will be hosting a pancake breakfast followed by an easter egg hunt at 9am.

The Birth Haven suggests heading over to Lakeview Park in Frankfort for the Easter Egg Roll tomorrow morning at 10:00am. 

Enjoy the day with face painting, photos and games! Dye Easter eggs with the kids and enter the whole family into the Easter Egg Roll contest! The admission for this event is a suggested donation of a new or gently used book which will be passed along to the Reach Out and Read Program to promote literacy in Franklin County.  

If you are in Richmond, Richmond Parks and Rec are hosting their 36th Annual Easter Eggstravaganza. This is a free event, open to the public and there are back to back egg hunt time slots for different age groups. 

We understand that sometimes it's difficult to get the family up and out of the house early in the day and that means missing out on some of the fun. If this sounds like you, don't worry! From 1pm to 4pm on Saturday, join Keeneland Entertainment Center for face painting, cookie decorating, a petting zoo, pony rides and an Easter egg hunt at 2:30pm. RSVP to this event here

From all of us at The Birth Haven, have a very Happy Easter!

For updates and latest news you can find The Birth Haven on Facebook , follow us on Instagram and check out our Pinterest


Are you “weird” for choosing Hypnobabies?


Are you “weird” for choosing Hypnobabies?

It wasn't until I chose to do Hypnobabies with my third baby in 2007 that I realized people considered me odd. 

I never thought of myself as any different than any other person preparing for birth, but I soon realized the course name raised eyebrows and, unfortunately, evoked a negative response from many people around me—friends, family members, and folks I barely knew.  (It’s amazing how free people feel to weigh in when it’s about someone else’s birth!)  "Hypnobabies... does that have to do with having babies in water?" many asked me. Um...that would be “Hydrobabies” and I'm pretty sure a class like that doesn't exist! 

"Oh, you mean Hypnobirthing," others would say. Nope, I do mean Hypnobabies and Hypnobirthing is great, too, but the programs are very different from each other!

I’m so glad I didn’t listen to the naysayers.  After having a beautiful birth experience using the Hypnobabies method, I realized why people didn’t “get it”: my experience giving birth using Hypnobabies was nothing like what most everyone around me had.  We were never panicked or unsure.  We never felt out of control.  We never felt fearful.  I didn’t need rescuing from discomfort or from birth.  It was so different from what most people think birth is! 

After that, I became determined to eventually teach it to other families seeking to birth their babies in a gentle way, and with complete educational backing to help them through their decision-making surrounding birth. 

What could be more normal than that?  Every parent wants a safe, happy birth that goes as smoothly as possible, right?  And how about reducing pain?  Yes, please!  Hypnobabies is one way to make all of those things more likely.  It’s a double whammy: comprehensive evidence-based childbirth education (from healthy pregnancies to factual information about medical intervention in the hospital to caring for a newborn) PLUS a risk-free method of being more physically comfortable without having to wait until you are at the hospital… or wait for the anesthesiologist to get to you… or wait for drugs to kick in.  

The other thing I absolutely love about Hypnobabies—as someone who teaches it—is how judgment-free it is for every type of birth and family.  It is all about options.  Whatever is right for you and your family, and whatever you need to do as circumstances change.  Being informed about all of those options ahead of time gives parents a sense of confidence that carries through to confident decision-making.

So, who uses Hypnobabies? Entrepreneurs, farmers, attorneys, teachers, nurses, and stay-at-home parents, to name a few! Hypnobabies reaches a diverse community who have the same goals: to have their babies in the gentlest of ways and to prepare for birth and postpartum in the best way possible.  They aren’t weird!  They are informed; they are confident; they are prepared.

Take a peek at our video (at top) describing our courses at The Birth Haven. You might be surprised to see how normal Hypnobabies actually is!



The Birth Super-Hero

My children think I have laser vision and a small implanted device within my ear canal that allow me to know their every move and thought process. They hear me yell through walls, correcting them for things they know I can't possibly know about. It's not true—I don’t have laser vision or super-hearing—but I'll never share my little secret!

I can give you a hint, though: As a doula, listening is a huge part of my job.  Not just listening with my ears, but listening with my eyes, my hands, and whatever special sixth sense tunes us in to the emotional states of the people around us.  That “super-listening” is a special doula skill that gives us a wealth of information about what our clients, their partners, and their care providers need and want.

As doulas, we support women in their decisions for birth and parenting, provide non-judgmental support, rub backs for hours, encourage birth partners if needed, and ensure that parents understand their options and are able to communicate with their care providers with greater ease. We are many things, but not super-human. We're not built with an ability to know our clients’ exact needs, thought processes, or desires in any given moment. But we are trained to LISTEN—even to what’s not being said, to assess, to do our best, and to follow the lead of each individual client to the best of our abilities.

As doulas, we need your feedback throughout your pregnancy and birth in order to give you the best experience possible. “Is the massage too firm? Let me adjust that for you! Is the juice too tart? How about some water instead?”  There will be times you may feel we are complete mind readers with laser focus and determination, but behind it all, we are also humans—skilled professionals, yes, but humans.   

Doulas are there to help you along your path to parenthood. We are there to listen to your needs and to act on them with grace and confidence.  We aren’t super-human or super-heroes.

No, if anyone deserves the title of super-hero, it's you and only you! You have grown a new human being, and are bringing that new little person out into the world, where you will nurture and grow him or her for a long time to come.  There is no super-power quite like that.  Wear your title proudly!




It's World Doula Month!

In celebration of doulas around the world, we are curious about what words you would choose to describe your doula. Doulas have become an increasing part of the birth world, and families are choosing them to attend births based on current research and evidence. Will you choose to reduce your rate of C-section by 28%? Will you choose to decrease the need for pitocin by 31%? Will you choose to decrease the risk of being dissatisfied with your birth experience by 34%?


Hire a doula!



The Hypnobabies Birth of Honor Bren


If you had asked me, even up until week 30 of my pregnancy, I had never planned on having a natural childbirth experience. I am a yoga instructor, meditate regularly, eat and live as naturally as possible, but it hadn’t really crossed my mind as something I would ever be able to accomplish. I did, however, know right away that I would be taking a Hypnobabies prep class for the birth of our daughter. That sounds a little uneducated, considering Hypnobabies is a natural birthing prep course, but I figured I would take it, get some useful tools, and have an epidural if I needed one (which I figured was absolutely what would happen). Hypnobabies was right up my alley, considering the mind body connection, focus on the breath, and turning inward, so I was drawn to it as the prep course for us, whether or not I would have an epidural during the process.


We started our live Hypnobabies class in Lexington with Julie Six (also our doula) during week 33 and, much to my surprise, I immediately knew I was completely committed to having a natural childbirth, and Hypnobabies was going to be my ticket there. Even more surprising was my husband’s desire and commitment to a drug free and choice-based birthing as well. So far I felt my pregnancy had been very easy (no complications or sickness; not a single thing to complain about) and immediately implementing the tools from even class one of Hypnobabies was empowering. As we progressed, it was amazing how many people would ask about my exams and how effaced or dilated I was, and it was both interesting and liberating to let them know my decision (and the reasons behind it) to not know any numbers during my pregnancy. I found I wanted to keep my decision to have a natural childbirth almost a secret. I soon realized that when you tell people this, they either quickly tell you their birth story (usually a choice-less disaster) and the reasons they did use an epidural (hellooooo bubble of peace!) or they patronize you with how much of a martyr you are and how you must be so amazing to “take one for the natural team”. I was proud of my decision, but felt these conversations increased my stress and created unneeded tension. There was a time this did come up with my brother and his wife and I was very thankful for the fear clearing track, so that I could erase any doubts or fears that heated conversation had created.


The Hypnobabies six week course ended, but my pregnancy continued, and as the weeks ticked by into week 39...40...41..., the stress and pressure definitely increased. We were having a hospital birth and felt that our needs and wishes had been met and would be met during our birthing time, but there was a fine line at the 42 week mark where my husband, my doctor, and I all had a different threshold as far as risks and benefits. At my 41 week and 3 day check up, I had decided to consider “stripping membranes” if it meant that later in the week, I would avoid Pitocin induction (I knew my options and was weighing them carefully, with Pitocin being the last option I would exercise). It was during this exam, after asking for my Bishop’s score before deciding whether or not to strip, I received my first numbers, and it was disheartening. My doctor said I was 0% effaced, 0 cm dilated and my Bishop’s score was maybe a 1. I almost unraveled on the spot and left the appointment with a time to come in for my Pitocin induction, since my doctor said there was no way I would make ANY progress by the 42 week mark at the end of the week. I left and I cried and I called my husband. That night, we regrouped and I realized I had inadvertently abandoned my Hypnobabies training in getting and listening to the numbers that day, and my dear husband and doula reminded me that we had almost endless choices still. This was an amazing and refreshing moment, and we made a plan that combined choices, education, and decisions that made my husband and me comfortable with how and when to proceed. I called my doctor and pushed my induction appointment to Friday that week, which was the 42 week mark. I told them I just HAD to give my body until at least this point, because my baby knew her birthday and I just knew my body would figure it all out. The next day, I pulled out all the stops to get my body ready for birthing time: I had a prenatal massage and an acupuncture treatment (an ABSOLUTE MUST for anyone...these were amazing), I downloaded the “Baby come OUT” Hypnobabies track and listened to it alternating with affirmations non-stop, I meditated, I stretched, I squatted, I used a breast pump and I used evening primrose supplements. The next morning, I woke up super early to very regular, very easy pressure waves. I hadn’t had a single pressure wave or even pre birth wave during my pregnancy so I was absolutely elated to feel something, albeit light and easy. I laid awake timing them for fun, listening to birthing affirmations and even told my husband what I was feeling a few hours later. It was a work day and, being still pre dawn hours, we stayed in bed and giggled at the excitement. When we decided to get up, I moved and had a huge gush of fluid (slightly pinkish) come out, assuming this was my water breaking. We got really excited then, but I sent my husband to work and dealt with really irregular pressure waves all day. My mucous plug came out early afternoon, but other than that, I was perplexed because nothing else was happening. We decided to have a huge dinner of eggplant parmesan and then head to the hospital at around 9pm, since I had assumed my water had broken almost 15 hours earlier, and we figured it was almost time to start monitoring the baby if that was the case.


At the hospital, I had an initial exam and my husband and doula found out I was about 80% effaced but still wasn’t dilated at all. The tests to confirm my water releasing were inconclusive which made things very frustrating and confusing. Because of this, we were checked in for the night and we ultimately decided (after a few hours of breast pumping and irregular pressure waves) to get some sleep and make next decisions in the morning. I had made some dilating progress overnight so, again to avoid pitocin as long as possible, I decided to try a foley bulb and Cervidil to speed things along. Wow this helped with progress almost immediately! My husband and I walked the halls for a few hours while the foley bulb worked its magic and after about 4 hours, my water truly broke (not sure if the fluid in early morning the day before was a forebag or just major fluid from the mucous plug about to go) and my pressure waves really started going. Things started to get real (and fun!) and my husband, doula and I worked together to implement our Hypnobabies tools and methods. Although things moved fast at first, my body really took its time to move things along. I wasn’t being made aware of my numbers (dilation, etc) but my doula and husband were. Hours and hours went by and I used so many positions and methods to get things moving (shower, hands knees, peanut ball, etc) and we were making slow steady progress. My favorite position to have pressure waves was slow dancing or hanging on my husband, which meant about 12 hours of work on my feet (my husband’s back a few days later felt the effects too!). The pressure waves were intense but completely manageable and I went through waves of being freezing cold to burning up every few minutes. I was never in “pain”, but it was certainly the hardest work I had ever done. I had chosen to be on the monitors about every 15 minutes out of the hour, which really broke up the time and positions for me as well. Baby girl was doing great the entire time, even though the whole process was so long and mom and dad were very very tired. Several times when I would sit down for pressure waves, I would close my eyes in between and get a little sleep in, but other than that, we were up through the night. I threw up three times, which the three of us celebrated since we knew each time meant the start of a new stage or some sort of progress.  We worked all night and once my vocalizations changed to that guttural, pushy sound, the doctors checked me out. I had to do a little more work to get a slight lip of my cervix completely dilated, but once that happened I was ready to push! Those last few pressure waves to get the cervix completely dilated were by far the most intense moments of my life. I had to use the peace cue out loud over and over and it helped to bring me back to the present moment, move the anesthesia to where I needed it, and ultimately feel only the pressure sensations, rather than any pain at all.


At about 5 am, once we had made the call to start pushing, I had plenty of stamina and energy back (even though I was so so tired) and we put on the Pushing Baby Out track out loud. The best surprise came when the doctor asked me how I wanted to push and I very matter-of-factly told her that I wanted to push on my side, with a huge excited smile. This doctor (who was not the doctor I had seen through my pregnancy) said “That’s great, but, let me tell you something. Your Doctor let me know we have a really BIG BABY in there, so I would like you to push on your back in stirrups.” My heart sank a little, but we talked it over, weighing risks and benefits of the size of the baby, shoulder dystocia and the lithotomy position. Thank goodness for the Hypnobabies class and my doula, because we were so educated on this subject and felt like we made yet another fully informed decision! We compromised and I started pushing on my side. I think everyone was waiting to see if I could make any progress, or whether the news would come to the doctor that it was time for a c section. Even after my first push (mother directed of course!) the nursing staff knew this baby was coming out vaginally. I made excellent progress after my first two pushes so they went to grab the doctor, switched me to my back (using foot pads and not stirrups, careful not to have pressure on my tailbone) and a few pushes later our baby girl was out. I felt completely in control during pushing and was amazed at how I could feel every inch of her 9 pound 10 ounce body moving down and out. Using peace cues and breathing my anesthesia down was so helpful to make this part one of the most enjoyable moments of my life.


I feel very lucky. I feel like I ultimately had the birth that I wanted and deserved to have. Was it exactly what I had visualized every week as part of my hypno home play? Definitely not, but I was prepared for every exciting twist and turn and my birthing time and my baby ended up perfect and healthy. There was major stress (being “post-due”, having a long birthing time, learning of a potential “big baby”) near the end, but without my Hypnobabies tools and the support of a loving husband and amazing Hypno-Doula, the outcome would have been completely different and we wouldn't have had the joy of such an empowering, educated, amazing experience!




From Motherhood to Doulahood

A little more than ten years ago I birthed a son and became a mother. In the eight years that followed, I would birth six children. No twins. Six births- all unique, individual, and beautiful in their experiences. Yes, my sanity is intact. Yes, we do know what causes it (that's such a lame inquiry, by the way, and totally unoriginal). And no, it's not a competition- although what fun that would be!

Name it and it has probably been a component of one of my labors/births:

My labors have been induced, augmented, and have begun spontaneously. 

I have labored with and without pitocin.

I have both received and declined an epidural.

I have been group B strep positive as well as negative.

I have labored both with an IV and without an IV.

One of my children was birthed with the assistance of a vacuum.

I endured a third degree episiotomy (thanks to said vacuum).

I have birthed without so much as a single tear.

My fourth birth was 3 hours.

My sixth birth was 27 hours.

At my first birth, I approved all newborn procedures. At my sixth, I declined nearly every one.

You get it, right?

As a doula, my job and greatest desire is to support your wishes for your birth. My birth experiences were just that- mine. Each one played a role in making me the woman that I am today. My wishes for my first birth looked much different than the wishes that I had for my sixth birth. What I believe makes a birth beautiful will likely look much different than the women and families that I serve. 

I often tell expectant families that my births have made me a better doula. Despite one's best laid plans, labor can often take an unexpected turn. When an intervention becomes necessary or perhaps a mama makes an informed choice that is different than how she may have originally hoped events would have transpired, it is valuable for me, as her source of support, information, and advocacy, to come from a place where I can truly say, "I understand." Is a place of empathy necessary for a doula to serve a family well? Of course not. Many wonderful doulas are not yet mothers themselves. I speak merely of my own gratitude towards the experiences that have made me the doula that I am today.

The Birth Haven doulas, as a whole, are no different. As our website states:

"We support any and every type of birth: unmedicated, medicated, planned Cesarean section, twins, home, and hospital.  No matter what you choose, The Birth Haven will fully support your decisions, your preferences, and your birth."


Mandy King is a wife to David and mother to six amazing children. She adores working as a birth and postpartum doula. You can often find her browsing the aisles of Trader Joe's or loving on her family. To find out more about Mandy click here.



The Hypnobabies Birth of Bay!

On Saturday, October 19th Ben and I welcomed our son Bay Williams at 8:39 am in the morning.   We had a wonderful Hypnobabies birth!  My water broke at 4:00am Friday morning (...the night before Ben and I just finished our to-do list which included packing for the hospital and installing the car seat).  Also, we packed for a trip to Nashville on Thursday night as we were planning on leaving town for Nashville Friday morning for my sister's wedding (where I was going to be the matron of honor).  Unfortunately, we were not able to make that trip as Bay was born the same day she got married!

 After my water broke Ben and I stayed around the house for a while and then went to Melissa's (my midwife's) office around noon to get checked to make sure that my water did break.  At the Womankind Midwives office Kendra checked me and I was already dilated to 4 cm.  Ben and I went back home and stayed around the house until around 8pm when we headed to the hospital.  Once at the hospital our doula met us there. 

 During my birthing time Hypnobabies truly kept me calm and in control.  I had my CDs playing in the background the entire time.  Ben and Amy read from the scripts and used the cues with me when I needed them.  They were both perfect!  I also had an amazing nurse who was respectful of our birth wishes.  She was very friendly and helped out in any way that she could.  I later found out that she even stayed after her shift until the baby was born.  Melissa was also amazing!  She came to check on me soon after I arrived at the hospital and then came back in the early morning hours to give support during the final hours of my birthing time and to catch our baby.  Kendra was also present for the birth!  Kendra was an amazing leg holder and massager!  We also had a photographer there to capture the wonderful moments.  She was perfect!  Needless to say...I had the most AMAZING birth team! 

 During my birthing time I only felt pressure and I knew that I was in control the entire time.  Ben did a fantastic job encouraging and supporting me.  I had a very calm, quiet environment with the lights dim.  I also felt that my birthing time progressed quickly.  It was a beautiful experience for the both of us! 

 When I signed up for the Hypnobabies class I never imagined having a natural birth.  My main goal coming into Hypnobabies was to have the tools to keep my anxiety under control and to keep me calm and relaxed up to birthing time.  I never imagined even thinking about having a natural birth (it was never something that I thought that I could do).  After the first few classes I started believing that a natural Hypnobabies birth was something that I wanted and could do.  Ben and I both felt very educated, empowered, and in control of our pregnancy and birthing time. 

 I truly believe that I would not have had this wonderful of a birth experience without Hypnobabies.  I will use Hypnobabies with all of my future babies and will spread the word about Hypnobabies to all of the mommies-to-be that I know! 

 Our wonderful son, Bay, was 7 lbs. 11 oz., 21 in. long.  He is doing great and is growing quickly!





Welcome to The Birth Haven!

Welcome to The Birth Haven blog!

Nearly 10 years ago I welcomed my daughter into the world with the help and guidance of a wonderful birth support team in Kenya, Africa. I am astounded that I was able to move through the experience joyfully and without fear while being so far from home. That experience led me to find my calling as a doula and I've been blessed to call it my "job" for the last 8 years.

The Birth Haven was created believing that by bringing multiple women together we could really make an impact on birth one woman at a time. It's our vision and it's becoming our reality. Multiple women and families are coming through our doors and receiving vital information about how to make their births the most wonderful experiences they can imagine. They are walking away feeling capable of motherhood, confident in their decision making and creating a positive support system for birth and beyond.

This blog will give a voice to these women by sharing their stories, triumphs and challenges as well as share other birth related information along the way! It is my hope that you receive positive encouragement and evidence based information as we journey through this blog together!



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