What's New With EBP?

Hey everyone! It's been a while since I've given a general update on Empowered Birth Project, so here goes (to inquire about any of the below, contact me): 

THE VISION

Not a day goes by that I don't ask myself "What is the vision of Empowered Birth Project? How can I use this platform to inspire others and better the world? What does empowerment look and feel like?" 

What began as a desire to share my pregnancy and birth experience has blossomed into something so much bigger, far beyond my personal journey. This project has been so well received on social media that I can't help but envision it to grow into events, humanitarian service, publications, activism and more. All of this will take time and patience and a lot of work from many more people than just myself. But I believe in all of it. And thank you for believing in it too. 

THE FILM

When I started my Instagram page two years ago, I was documenting my third pregnancy and birth with Emmy award winning director Carlo Alberto Orecchia to create a short inspirational film. Last November I did an Indeigogo campaign to raise money to move the film into production. We raised over $3k but not enough to cover the cost of editing the 24 hours of footage we have. I feel the film needs to expand beyond my personal story; I will soon be meeting with the director to discuss this at length and I will share with you how things progress. Making a documentary is a lot of work, come to find out! 

THE BLOG

Slowly but surely I've been building EBP's online presence here on the website and other social media channels (come like my page on Facebook!). We have recently started publishing stories here again! If you would like to submit your story to the blog, you can do so here or email it to me at empoweredbirthproject@gmail.com. It can be a birth story or anything related to womanhood, parenthood, motherhood, loss, infertility, pregnancy, reproductive health, etc. 

THE NEWSLETTER

A while ago I announced the creation of a newsletter. Well, I have a lot on my plate (understatement) and I haven't created it yet. But it will happen! And it will be good. You can sign up for it here or by entering your email address in the pink bar at the top of the website. 

THE MERCH

We are still selling hats and tanks! My co-designer is Mothersun And The Captain and the merchandise is printed right here in California. Your purchase supports the film project as well as two hard working mamas! Check out our rad hats and tanks here!

SPONSORS

I am now accepting paid sponsorships to support the work I am doing (this project could easily be a full-time job!) in exchange for publicity on my Instagram page and/or visual advertisement here on the website. I am also available for speaking gigs, promotional events, guest blog posts, affiliate relationships, brand ambassadorship etc. Contact me to inquire. 

Big love + thanks to my amazing sponsors who have believed in me since the beginning, who support this work, and who are creating incredible goods and services that empower women all over the world:

 Euphoric Herbals :: high quality herbal products for pregnancy, breastfeeding, and postpartum. I use these products personally and they are divine!

Sacred Legacy Arts :: custom, handcrafted jewelry featuring your sacred inclusions such as breastmilk, hair, placenta, umbilical cord, or a loved one's ashes.

Doula Trainings International ::  a rich and supportive 9-month training program which includes ongoing mentorship, business skills and in-depth video classes that complement a rigorous initial workshop, an extensive reading list, and practical experience requirements. This program offers lifetime certification to become a birth and postpartum doula. I am currently finishing my doula training with DTI and I am Use code EMPOWEREDBIRTH for $50 off an in-person training or code EBSUMMER16 for $397 off the online training until August 15, 2016.

SERVICES

If you live in the Los Angeles area, I am currently available for hire as a birth and postpartum doula. I also do placenta encapsulation and social media consultation. Contact me to inquire.

COLLABS

My sister project Mindful Mamas that I co-created with Jana Roemer is blossoming into something really beautiful! Check out our website, follow us on Instagram and like our Facebook page for inspiration on mindful living, yoga, nutrition, health, parenting, and more!  

I've also started a new Instagram page called Fed Is Best, which aims to celebrate and support ALL the many ways we feed our babies. Go check it out! 

 

Phew. Did I miss anything? Probably. Haha. #busyAF

Photo by  Joanna Wilson Photography

Cesarean necklace by Roots In Silver

Tank available here 

 

Miracle Cesarean at 29 Weeks

By Charity Hubbard
@mothermoonrise

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From the time I learned I was pregnant, I knew exactly what I wanted my birth to be like; a natural water birth at a birthing center, surrounded by my loved ones. However, at four months pregnant, I was told this wasn’t a possibility for me as my placenta was weak from the beginning of my pregnancy. It wasn't providing enough nutrients to my baby and she wasn't growing as much as she should have been. On top of that, at 20 weeks I had an amniocentesis, which diagnosed my baby with cystic fibrosis. 

I had ultrasounds done every week to monitor my daughter's growth and ultimately decide when she would be better off growing in an incubator than in my own body. Needless to say, I was heartbroken. I felt like my body had failed my baby. At 29 weeks along, my doctor told me I would have a C-section within four weeks because my daughter's growth had slowed to a near stop. Three days later, I awoke to bleeding - and a lot of it. My stomach was tight and I was having a constant contraction.

My mother rushed me to the emergency room, but by the time we got into the OB emergency room, there was no heartbeat coming from my womb. I was losing so much blood that I was disconnected from what was happening. I was in a dream-like state - not unconscious, but not fully there. I told my mom I had to get to the bathroom. She brought me a trashcan and insisted I would have to use that there since I was unable to get up. When I released what I thought was the contents of my bladder, a huge gush of blood appeared. My mother screamed for the doctor to come see. He almost immediately started running me down the hall to the OR.

All of this happened within about 10 minutes of arriving to the hospital. The last thing I remember was the gas mask being placed on my face and counting down from 10. After my baby was born, it took two more hours for the surgeon to stop my internal bleeding. When I finally woke up, four hours had gone by. I nervously asked my mother if my daughter was okay with so much doubt in my heart. When she said "yes," it was the biggest relief I've ever experienced. I wanted to go to the Neonatal Intensive Care Unit right then and hold my baby girl, but I couldn't. It took an hour after I woke up to finish my second blood transfusion. I was wheeled to the NICU five hours after my baby’s birth.

It was then, that I saw her: my precious little girl. She was under a c-pap machine so I couldn't see her face. She had five wires attached to her chest and belly, and an IV in her tiny hand. I had no idea what she looked like aside from her incredibly small size. She was born 2 pounds, 5 ounces, 11 inches long. At that point I wasn't allowed to hold her. In fact, I only had a few minutes to look at her because I needed to receive another transfusion. I put my hand on her little body and wept. She was alive and it was the most wonderful thing I had ever seen. I was instantly in love and desperately devoted.

When my brief visit ended, I went to my room down the hall to get blood and morphine. At one in the morning, 11 hours after giving birth, I held my baby for the first time. A nurse placed her on my waiting chest, and it was the most magical moment of my life. From that point we spent 61 devastating, miraculous, sad, exciting, grueling and love-filled days in the NICU.

I have no words to fully explain the journey we took. I was constantly feeling a whirlwind of conflicting emotions, but the one that always prevailed was LOVE. I realized my body had not failed me. It grew a mighty warrior who fought through prematurity and will fight cystic fibrosis for the rest of her life. My birth was the opposite of what I had hoped for, but it was perfect in its own way. The experience taught me how to be strong and positive in even the hardest of times.

Meet My Indiegogo Sponsors!

What really blows my mind about my Indiegogo campaign is all the incredible people who have rallied their support and volunteered to be sponsors. These generous individuals and businesses have donated their goods and services just because they believe in this film and the impact it will have on the world. Thanks to them, you have some amazing perks to choose from when donating to my campaign. You can visit the Empowered Birth Project campaign here to become a supporter. I created this blog post so you can see exactly what you will receive if you decide to purchase a perk. With no further ado, and in no particular order, here are my sponsors and the perks they have donated:

Katherine Farrar

katherinefarrar.myshopify.com

16x20" acrylic painting~ "Empowered"

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Homebirth Cesarean International

homebirthcesarean.org

Homebirth Cesarean eBook

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Behnaz Afrakhte, Occupational Therapist

b.afrakhte@gmail.com

Private infant massage class in Los Angeles

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behnaz