We have come a long way BABY...

My blogging vacation is over! To start things off again, I offer you a guest blog by a brilliant colleague of mine with decades of experience serving babies and families: Margi Deneau-Saxton.

Margi wears many hats as an RN, postpartum doula/trainer, patient educator, and more, but she treasures the role she gets to play as a mother and grandmother as one of her most precious. Here she is cuddling her newest grandbaby Lyla.

Involved in the magical world of infant massage since the early 90’s, and having been an "unknowing" practitioner on my own children beginning in ‘68, I was confronted with the surreal environment of the newborn nursery when I accepted a nursing position on the postpartum unit at a local hospital 1999. Orientation made me witness to the typical first bath - a literal scrubbing of these "non-sterile little creatures", leaving them red, raw and bawling. Determining not do this, I introduced a more soothing experience and one that did not seek to expunge every bit of vernix. (There were many other things in this medical setting that left my own heart raw and bleeding.)

I practiced the magic of massage--behind that key-coded door--soothing my charges through procedures, helping them avoid long stays in their isolettes under the blue light therapy, and rendering a calming, comforting brand of care. I became known as "that weird nurse" and I was looked upon as strange…but also strangely appreciated. I relished the times I was able to teach mothers about their newborn's unique need for touch and show them how their baby responded to them. I developed a quick educational piece that I called the ‘Bedside Baby Talk’ sharing with moms my techniques.

Thankfully, the winds of change were sweeping into the Southeast. I was able to join with a small group of reformers who brought about a major revolution to our hospital. I call it a revolution because it was not accepted readily; there were turf battles and some staff even lost their jobs due to noncompliance. Still, the acknowledgement of the infant as a person--not just a by-product of birth--was finally addressed. All the nuances of skin to skin care (STS) were recognized and deemed valid. Mother Baby Couplet Care arrived in 2004 and by 2009, we no longer had a Newborn Nursery.

Most exciting to me was my surprised exposure to a bit of Japanese research published in 2011. It literally validated my experience with touch and the newborn. My retirement in 2014 has brought with it the opportunity to share this information about these newborn touch techniques in a one day workshop giving caregivers and ultimately, all parents the ability to answer the needs of the newborn in a gentle, nurturing way.

If you are interested in attending one of Margi’s trainings in the Southeast (someday we will get her to come to the west!) connect with her on FB. Or find out more about all of her services and trainings on her site: www.mothernurture.net.

Hopefully more of my wonderful colleagues will have a chance to share something soon, and I have a lot more to say as well! Postpartum doula blogs are back! Make sure to follow us to not miss anything particularly helpful or scrumptious...