Ruthii dipped her proverbial toe into the baby world by starting a business painting pregnant bellies with body paint, The Painted Oven, in 2011. It was a great segway from her almost 20 years of training as a fine artist in the medium of oil paints.
In 2013, she was asked by her friend, Kristen Davis (now founder of Breast 4 Baby), if she wanted to take a course with her to become a lactation consultant. It was something that Ruthii had desired to pursue, but didn’t think she would be able to until her children were much older. However, it was meant to be. It was an eight hour class every other week, on her husbands one day off, the funds were ready to go, and she could bring her four month old nursling with her to class! Nine months later she graduated from the Grow Our Own Lactation Course, Loma Linda, as a Clinical Lactation Specialist (CLS). She is continuing to further her education and ultimately strives to become an International Board Certified Lactation Consultant (IBCLC) further down the road. She absolutely loves teaching prenatal classes and supporting new mothers in their own homes.
The following year, Ruthii took the CAPPA course to start training as a Postpartum Doula taught by the lovely Darla Burns of In Due Time Doula Services. Supporting a new mother in those early postpartum days has truly become a passion and is a natural extension to her lactation work. She has supported several moms with various backgrounds and goals, and has experience with twins and triplets.
2015 was exciting. Ruthii was trained and mentored by the amazing Robin Baker of Birth Blessings Photography & Childbirth Services to Encapsulate Placentas. She is now versed in the Traditional Chinese Method as well as the Raw Method, along with healing salves and tinctures. Ruthii also was blessed to take part in the Postpartum Sealing Workshop held by the wonderful Tema of La Matriz Birth Services, where she learned the healing arts of belly binding, vaginal steam baths, herbal preparations, and bone closing.
Ruthii is married to her wonderful husband, Tim. Together they had a son in 2010, a daughter in 2013, and another daughter in 2016. They have both been fortunate to overcome the challenges of childbirth and postpartum recovery. Ruthii is so grateful to have the full support of Tim, and feels beyond blessed to travel through parenthood by his side.
Birth is always a bit of a gamble, you never quite know how it’s going to turn out until it’s over. Many women achieve the birth they desire, many do not. No matter what your own birth experience was, fulfilling or disappointing, you have the ability to maintain or take back your power as a mother. Let me help you empower yourself by caring and supporting you as you start (or continue) your journey through motherhood.
I’ve experienced many sides of birth and postpartum. I’ve had both a medicated hospital birth, a natural birth center birth, and a homebirth. I’ve experienced a rough recovery and an easy recovery. I had an awesome start to breastfeeding, and a very rocky start to breastfeeding. I had baby blues with one and a crazy birth high with another. I’ve felt the entire range of emotions, from lost, clueless, and alone to knowledgeable, empowered, and supported.
The Long Version:
In 2010 I had my first child. I was 23 and my only experience with childbirth had been what I heard from two of my closest friends. Between the two of them, they dealt with everything from ineffective epidurals, mastitis resulting in a 106 fever, 3 hour labors, breech baby leading to a scheduled cesarean, nipple nursing, formula, un-diagnosed postpartum depression, etc.
Although I had a desire for a natural birth, I ended up with an OB that was not supportive. I had back labor and panicked when they had me lay down for monitoring to see if I was far enough to admit when I got to the hospital, I asked for an epidural. The OB literally scoffed when she came to check on me, “I thought you were going to do this all natural”. She never believed I would do it. I had a text book hospital birth. Epidural went flawlessly, I didn’t eat, I slept for a few hours, my body spontaneously pushed for 20 minutes or so, I received an episiotomy, delivered my 7-lb 8-oz baby boy with no additional assistance, got stitched up, had my first meal, showered and pottied with lots of help from my husband, learned how to nurse my baby and went home 2 days after he was born. From start to finish my labor was about 13 hours total.
I thought my recovery was great, minus hemorrhoids and needing to be held up by my husband to pee because my episiotomy pulled so painfully when I sat. I had no trouble with nursing once I got past that initial engorgement, I could get up and feed myself, I wasn’t too emotional, I felt good! My son was a very frequent night nurser and fussy, but not inconsolable. I was exhausted, in large part to my debilitating fear of bed sharing (I did eventually learn and become 100% comfortable with it after several weeks, out of necessity). At least my folks lived down the street so mom would frequently bring me meals. My husband went back to work 16 days after our son was born. I just had to take things slowly for a few weeks. It wasn’t until I had my daughter two and half years later that I realized how rough my recovery really was.
My next child I had at a birth center. I had really felt like I would have been capable of a natural birth had I not been in a hospital, and I wanted to completely remove myself from a medicated setting. I hired an amazing doula, Cris Harper of North County Natural Birth. I labored in the car on the hour drive to the center, in the water, on the toilet, on the birth ball, and while leaning against my husband. I ate and drank through most of my labor. My daughter’s head was transverse (sideways) and it took an extra 2 hours to get her to turn and properly engage the birth canal, I discovered I don’t like floating and want to feel grounded during labor, I gave birth on my side to a 9-lb 4-oz girl with a 100th percentile head (*gasp*) with superficial tearing and 3 stitches. I labored a total of 8 hours, but it would have been 6 if her head had been positioned correctly.
Within three hours of her birth I was up and taking myself to the restroom. I had my placenta encapsulated by my loving doula. I had no engorgement because my body wasn’t flooded with extra IV fluid. I visited an IBCLC friend to check her latch since it felt different and “pinchy” compared to my son. She discovered my daughter had a bubble palate and taught me how to adjust her latch so it wouldn’t hurt and educated me on what to expect in the long run. I took her to the chiropractor for craniosacral massage because of this funny ridge at the base of her skull; it was smoothed out by the end of the day. I was already comfortable and educated with safe bed sharing, so I was sleeping really well. I had this awesome recipe for an herbal sitz baths to promote healing. I felt genuinely empowered and supported.
I felt amazing. You know that crazy caffeine high you get when you’ve had your eighth cup of coffee and you know you’re going to have a massive crash in about a half hour or so? It was like that, but without the crash. I wanted to run a marathon. I couldn’t sit still when I was awake and I slept amazingly well right away, only waking to nurse my new daughter. THIS was what it was supposed to feel like to have a baby!
A week after she was born, that feeling came crashing down when my daughter’s Newborn Screening Test came back with highly elevated numbers for a genetic condition called Galactosemia. In basic terms, it’s a rare, potentially fatal, milk “allergy”. Galactose is a sugar in all “dairy”, including human milk. Babies with Galactosemia that ingest milk (even breastmilk) potentially suffer from extreme neurological damage or death. Their bodies don’t have the ability to metabolize Galactose and it poisons them. They have to be on soy or meat-based formula as infants, zero breastfeeding. It’s not something they grow out of. Breastfeeding a Galactosemic baby is not possible, it’s the only known genetic condition where breastfeeding is 100% contraindicated. I immediately put her on soy formula, took her for a full blood work up, and waited a week for the results. Longest. Week. Ever. We were beyond relieved to receive her results and learn she is a CARRIER of Galactosemia. It will not effect her life at all, but she will need to be aware of it and have her husband tested when she starts a family of her own. I could breastfeed my baby!
I’ve experienced many sides of birth and postpartum. I’ve had both a medicated hospital birth and a natural birth center birth. I’ve experienced a rough recovery and an easy recovery. I had an awesome start to breastfeeding, and a very rocky start to breastfeeding. I had baby blues with one and a crazy birth high with the other. I’ve felt the entire range of emotions, from lost, clueless, and alone to knowledgeable, empowered, and supported.