AHH… Connection

I did another of what I am calling “yard visits” today.   I drove up to Boulder and with the Flat Irons as a backdrop, I set up my equipment;  a soft mat under a tree for when we would check on belly and baby, and a plastic bin with my equipment and supplies.  Then I took a seat on a stool about 8 feet away from my patient.  The distance felt foreign, but much, much smaller than the distance I have felt via telehealth visits.  As we talked about the discomforts she was having in her body, I watched how she moved and where she pointed.  When we explored how things were going emotionally, I could better appreciate her facial expressions and body language.  I could sense what was going on energetically.  Through these observations – of mind, body and heart – I provided care that was individualized and connected.

When we transitioned to the hands on portion of her visit, I put on my PPE, and she lay down on the soft mat.  She smiled as she felt the warmth the sunshine had brought to the mat.  As a breeze blew around us, I felt her belly and baby, confirming what she already knew – baby head down with knees poking out.  The baby’s heart beat was strong and brought another smile to her face – I listened a bit longer and said hello to the baby.  When I did her lab draw she said, “Wow, I never imagined I would be looking up at the blue sky through a tree as I got my blood drawn”.   When done with the physical checks and lab work, we returned to our distance and wrapped up our visit.  As I drove away, I felt clear that we had done something more than “bare minimum checkup”.  Yes, we did the checkup, but more than that, we connected.  At this time, and always, finding ways to enhance connection is front and center in my priorities.  I hope each of you find meaningful connection as we journey through this time of separation.

Updates from Little Tree

Mobile Clinic

As we walk through these uncertain times, I want to update you on the things I am doing to support your wellness along the journey.  First, I am now offering all my health care services (and some expanded options) via a mobile unit.  I give specific details of why and how here, but in brief, I will come to your location to provide care.  We will do the “talking part” of your visit outside with appropriate social distance (or via telehealth) and I will provide the brief close contact care in your yard, or as needed, in my mobile clinic.  I will continue to provide prenatal, postnatal and general women’s health care.  I will also provide care for the newborn for the first month.  Call or email if you would like to discuss further.

Online Bowspring

Second is Bowspring classes. It has been inspiring and challenging to teach online Bowspring classes.  We are into our 5th week and I am going to adjust the classes to meet the needs and levels of those interested.  I will now be offering 4 different classes: Intro, Elementals, Level 1 and Prenatal. You can see the schedule here.  If you want to join the classes and these times won’t work, email me ASAP so we can pick times that work for most.   Also,  as the weather warms ups, I will be looking at doing some classes outside… haven’t quite figured out the details on that, but look for that in May.

Finally, I will continue to offer the Mindfulness Meditation.  Right now it is on Thursdays from 2-3pm, but if you want to join and a different time would make that possible, email me.

Preparing for what’s next….

Nancy Goodman, LCSW provides counseling through her practice, A Parent Connection.  She sent this suggested activity via email today, and it resonates with me as a mindful way for us to grow during this time.  I thought some of you might find it supportive.  I share it here with her permission.

 

As we continue to live in this odd, unsustainable time, we have a unique opportunity to learn some things about ourselves. To that end, here’s a writing suggestion for you to work on over the next few weeks or however long this lasts. It is designed to be a work-in-progress kind of writing exercise, so maybe keep it somewhere where you can add to it every few days or every week.

I’m picturing one page, front and back. On each side, draw a line down the middle so you have 4 columns total, then label the columns:

  1. Things I love about living in isolation
  2. Things I miss about my old life
  3. Things I hate about living in isolation
  4. Things I do not miss about my old life

There may be overlaps, but each column title might bring to mind different aspects of all this. Judgment-free is key! No one has to know what you like and don’t like about our current situation. You will not be publicly shamed for being bummed that you have to work while others wish they could, or if you frankly despise having to being around children all day and night or if you are in heaven and could live like this for the rest of your life.

The exercise is for you to get clarity about who you are and what is meaningful to you, what is hard for you, what you need and what you really don’t want. My hope is that when we all start to create a new normal, that we do it consciously.

The human tendency will be to fall back into the way we’ve always done things or to mindlessly run out to get what we haven’t been able to have, whether we really want it back or not. (I just keep picturing millions of Americans flocking to Disneyland the moment it opens just because they can!)  Not that there’s anything wrong with that–unless we do it unconsciously because we don’t have our more personal vision to pick from.

If we take advantage of this once-in-a-lifetime time as something that has created a quasi-clean slate in many of our lives, we can choose a little more consciously to:

…work more, or work differently, or work less…to spend different kinds of time with friends and family…to learn more online or be online significantly less…to garden more or shop more efficiently less often or cook more or eat out more…we might walk the dog somewhere new from now on because we see more or less of the neighbors…we might be ready to quit this job and look for a new one or we may have to look for a new one and so look for something more fitting…we might realize we need marriage counseling or parenting coaching…we might want to spend more time alone in the basement or more time living together in the main part of the house….we might decide we will be more fulfilled if we are more involved in our community from now on or might realize that we’ve been spread too thin and are much higher functioning when we lay low.

Big changes, little changes. Now’s the time for awareness about all that. The more ideas we have now, the easier and more committed we might be in a few weeks or so when things start to open up and either suck us or invite us back in again.

 

Let’s Get Together

At this time, as we all shift to being at home, I am putting together ways we can connect on line.  I have three ways I am doing this: Telehealth, Bowspring classes, Group Offerings.

Telehealth:

I am finding creative ways to continue providing care while minimizing exposure risk.

  • At this point, all insurance plans I have checked with are waiving extra fees for Telehealth visits and reimbursing as though they are office visits.   Email or call if you would like to make an appointment.
  • I continue to provide prenatal care and am doing this in a mixed format with part of the visit via video and then a brief in person check in on mama and baby.
  • I am percolating ideas around putting together a mobile unit so I can provide home visits for the first month after birth without the family needing to leave their home/yard and without me needing to go in their home.  Anyone have a spare RV or van conversion?

Bowspring:

I will be offering Bowspring classes starting next week.  You can read more about Bowspring and the class descriptions here.  What I can say in brief is that Bowspring is an approach to movement that encourages us to open and strengthen.  Just what we need right now.  The intro classes are appropriate for anyone at any level of fitness.

Here is what I will be offering starting next week 3/23/2020:

Introduction to the Bowspring: Mondays from 7:30am-8:30am (any can attend)

Level 1 Bowspring: Tuesdays from 7:30am-8:30am (must have completed the “10 Key Areas” through the Intro to Bowspring classes)

Prenatal Bowspring:  Day and Time to be determine, email if interested.

Parent Chat: Wednesdays 10:00am-11:00am (FREE and more details below)

Postpartum Bowspring: Wednesdays 11:00am-noon

Introduction to Bowspring: Thursdays from 7:30am-8:30am

Level 1 Bowspring: Fridays from 7:30am-8:30am (must have completed the “10 Key Areas” through Intro to Bowspring classes)

All classes will be live and via Zoom.

Pricing:

$8 for drop in

$30 for 30 days of access to Prenatal Bowspring

$30 for 30 days of access to Postpartum Bowspring

$40 for 30 days of unlimited access to Introduction to Bowspring classes

$60 for 30 days of unlimited access to all Bowspring classes except prenatal and postpartum

Email me with questions.  You can sign up by making payment via PayPal to awallace@littletreemidwife.com.  Once I receive payment, I will send Zoom link.

Group Offerings

I am going to trial a couple things here.  At this time, these will all be free offerings.

Parent Chat: Wednesdays 10-11am.  This is an opportunity for pregnant people and parents to connect.  I will facilitate the conversation, but mostly it is an opportunity to connect with others.  We can talk about how Corona Virus is impacting your pregnancy and/or parenting, but we can also take a break from Corona Virus and talk about other topics related to pregnancy and/or parenting.  You can find the Zoom link here.

Mindfulness Meditation: Thursdays from 2-3pm.  For me a steady mindfulness practice is key to maintain calm in the midst of a storm.  I will provide basic instruction in mindfulness practices, we will “sit” together for 20 minutes and then have time for discussion and questions.  All are welcome and you can leave after the meditation if you need to get back to other things. You can find the Zoom link here.

 

Calm in the Storm

As we seek to find our bearings in this intense time, I am drawn to check in on how people are doing and open the conversation around how we best support each other and ourselves during these times.

As is true in all aspects of life, each of us will react and respond in different ways.  I know for me, the more mindful I can be, the better I can respond, and thus avoid reacting from a place of fear.  With that as foundation, I spent the weekend fully immersed in the information coming out about Covid 19 and worked to integrate that knowledge into making mindful decisions for myself and my family.   Since some of that impacts my Little Tree practice and because some of you have reached out seeking guidance, I thought I would share what I am doing in response to the our current situation.  In a separate post, I will talk about online offerings that I will be starting soon.

For my family, we are taking seriously the public health concerns about rapid spread and the impact that could have on our health care system and the most vulnerable.  This means that we are home.  Both of my children’s classes have moved online and my husband’s work as an IT consultant can easily be done from home. I have scaled back much of my in person work at Little Tree, so I am mostly home as well.

Here are some things I am doing to maintain my wellness – not just physically, but in mind and heart as well.  There is a lot here.  I have been learning about and incorporating these things into my life over the past 5-10 years, so go easy on yourselves as you look to what you might add that would be supportive.

Maintain a rhythm.  This I learned well, over the many years of homeschooling my children.   For me, the important place markers for the day are my morning routine, meal times, family time and rest.  Within those markers, different activities like work, study, projects, and movement, take place.  Each day I write up a “flow” for our days and I share with the family in the morning.  If I were home with small children, I wouldn’t share it with the children, but rather have it as a guide for our day.

As some of you know, March is when I usually lead and undertake an Ayurvedic Spring Cleanse.  My plan had been to start on Monday.  However, with a goal of strengthening my immune system, I decided that cleansing right now would take away from that process.  That said, much of the cleansing principles are very supportive to our immune health, so I am going to continue with some of those.

My morning routine is the most extensive, and for me, it is the most important part of my self care:

  • Oil pulling, tongue scraping
  • Neti Pot – there are mixed feelings on doing the neti pot at this time, some are choosing to just clean the part of the nostril you can reach with you fingers.
  • Nasya – oil in the nostrils
  • Read something inspiring, this is what I am reading right now.
  • Meditation – I have a guided one here.
  • Bowspring – you can read more about this here.
  • I have also added in this lovely online movement offering.  It has been fun, and we all need some of that right now.
  • Abhyanga self massage with antiviral essential oils,

I get up early, like 5am early, when the house is quiet, to get through these essentials for my wellbeing.  I DO NOT look at media until I have gone through this routine.

For meal times, I am focusing on healthy foods that support the immune system.  Lots of whole foods, warming spices, and minimizing processed and high sugar foods.  Part of my cleanse is to cut out all sugar, this I will continue for now.  From an Ayurvedic outlook, in the Spring it is supportive to limit mucous producing foods like dairy and gluten while increasing bitter foods like the dandelion greens I am seeing in the yard as well as arugula and other greens.  Bitter roots like dandelion and burdock root are good as well – those I am getting in tea form.

My family and I are also prioritizing getting out of the house and into nature every day.  Be it a neighborhood walk, a hike or some gardening.  Cool weather seeds for lettuce, greens, beets, radish and snap peas will go in the earth this week.

I am one of those blessed individuals who can easily get adequate sleep.  But pay attention to that.  Most of us are best served with 7-8 hours per night.  It is also supportive to have a daily bowel movement – that is part of my morning routine.

Maintain connection.  This is particularly difficult as we practice social distancing.  I saw a patient earlier this week and it felt so awkward to not share a handshake or hug. I am paying attention (and using a timer every 50 minutes) to step away from my computer and connect with my children and husband.  I am calling elder friends and family who are isolated at home to offer support and connection.  And I am thinking about how to maintain and create connection with my clients.  Those who know me, know that I am energized when teaching and facilitating groups.  I will find ways to continue that work online and am planning Bowspring classes, Parent Chat and Telehealth visits within the week.  Stay tuned for details in a coming post.

Finally, and this is specific to the Covid 19, when I go to Little Tree to see my pregnant clients, I am doing many things differently.  First, I mentioned the abhyanga oil in the am.  I have also mixed up some coconut oil with antiviral essential oils that I rub into my nostrils when I leave the house and at least 3 times per day.  I have a roller with the same oils that I apply to my neck whenever I think of it.  I am gargling with warm salt water 3 times per day.  I am drinking my “Spring Tonic” tea.  It has Tulsi in it as well as the bitter roots I mention above.  I am also taking some immune enhancing and respiratory supporting herbs.

When I am at Little Tree, I have increased my cleaning and disinfecting.  Sadly I am not sharing tea or much face to face time with clients.  I am shifting the bulk of the care I provide to Telehealth with the exception of brief office visits to check on pregnant people and their babies.  I have am screening all clients prior to in person appointments and I am not seeing clients at Little Tree who have symptoms of Covid 19.  If you have symptoms, please reach out via phone and we can come up with a plan based on current public health recommendations for testing, treatment and where that care can take place.  When I get home, I gargle and wash my face and nose and reapply the coconut oil with essential oils to my nose.  I repeat this before bed.

As most of you know, I strive to make recommendations and incorporate into my care approaches that are safe and evidence based.  Some of what I am doing is not evidence based, but rather based on traditional knowledge or theoretic rational.  None of it carries risk of negative side effects and all of it feels good.

In closing, this is an intense time that stirs anxiety and fear.  So many are being impacted in many ways.  My deepest aspiration is to be of help to those in need.  Finding ways to contribute to the greater good for our communities and world is front and center for me.  I have lived the truth that starting with my wellness, making sure that my foundation is solid, means I can be responsive and act from a place of wisdom and compassion.  Wishing each of you some calm in the midst of this storm so we can each respond in a way that supports our communities and world.

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