Interview: Welcome Baby Care’s Carey Lindeman

wbcWe had the pleasure of speaking with Carey Lindeman, founder of Welcome Baby Care to discuss postpartum care and her pioneering postpartum doula service in the Twin Cities.  Many people don’t know what a postpartum doula is or how they can help.  Hopefully, this interview will shed some light on this invaluable and unique type of postpartum support and what amazing doulas, like those at Welcome Baby Care, can offer.

What is a postpartum doula?

While a lot of people have heard what a birth doula is, not everyone has heard of or understands what a postpartum doula is.  Essentially, what a postpartum doula does is come into a family’s home after the birth. Our first priority is taking care of the mother and making sure that she is healing properly and bonding with her baby.  So our goal is to relieve her of the things that would normally be overwhelming her.  Whether that be laundry, changing the sheets, keeping the bathroom clean, cooking, maybe running errands.

So there is that piece and there is also the education piece where we educate on taking care of baby—you know, best practices, what’s normal, what’s not, as well as what is normal and what is not in her own recovery.  So a lot of the questions she may call the doctor about or wonder about, we are able to help with and so help her with the transition into a more confident parent and navigating all of the unknowns.

Having this support can speed up the process of becoming a more confident parent and bonding with your family, staying connected with your husband, all those things you are negotiating during this tremendous transition.

What does a typical doula visit look like? 

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It could be two different things depending on whether it’s a day shift or an overnight shift.  A daytime shift is usually a minimum of 4 hours.  When the doula arrives at a family’s home she is going to assess what is going on—she may walk into a sink full of dishes,

piles of unfolded laundry, or mom may need some hands on help with the baby or with breastfeeding).  She is not going to ask, “what can I do” but instead will assess and do what needs to be done.  She may ask things like “Have you had anything to eat today?” to mom.  Usually what a doula will do is prepare snacks for the day for when mom is feeding, she’ll prepare food for later, she’ll clean up, and essentially her goal is to create a very stress-free environment.

And, you know many times a doula is walking into chaos, there may be multiples or other challenging situations.  A doula’s role is to put a “calm” on the situation.

She may be managing other people as well—maybe there are grandmas involved or aunts, cousins—she may have to say to them “This is where you can be most helpful right now.”

 What about if there are older children there, how does that look with a postpartum doula? 

With other children, what a doula will do is find a way to entertain and manage them while mom needs to be breastfeeding or napping or whatever she needs.  But she also finds ways to incorporate the family together.  So it isn’t just a separation of mom from partner and other children.  Sometimes, for example, the doula will make a snack and ask dad or an older child to take it to mom and sit with her.  We are always trying to foster family bonding.

Great, and what about that overnight postpartum doula service you mentioned?

Yes, going back to our overnight care, this looks a little different.  This is a separate service and definitely our most popular.  A typical overnight shift will begin at about 9 or 10 at night. Mom and partner are off to bed immediately and we take over from there.  We are with the baby.  Mom may choose to pump and have us feed the baby or maybe she wants to breastfeed.  In that case, we would console baby for as long as possible, then bring the baby into her, she can breastfeed, and then we will change the baby and put him or her back to bed.  So we are with the baby all night long while the parents sleep.  The doula will stay as long as the family wants them in the morning but a typical shift ends about 6 am or so.  A lot of times we leave when everyone is sleeping.  And mom can get up with baby whenever that is.

What does service typically look like for a new or growing family—how often do people need care, is it different for everybody? 

You know it is different for each family, depending on if there are multiples or not, if it is a first child, etc.  We do have packages offered on our website that give some examples.  And I would say that most people buy one of our packages.  Probably in the next few weeks people will be able to purchase these right from the website (as well as our classes).

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What does the training look like for a postpartum doula? 

We have our own postpartum doula training and certification program.  We have an excellent trainer formerly from Fairview and she has developed a certification program.  We felt that a lot of postpartum doulas coming to us as DONA-trained doulas (birth doulas with a piece of postpartum education) had great training but that it didn’t go far enough.  We wanted more extensive training.  So we developed our own specific postpartum training program.

People can go through it and not necessarily work for us, though there is always the option to interview with us, while other people will work independently or just want to learn this information for their own benefit.  We give people a max of 6 months to go through the program and there are 4 components: reading, classroom training, shadowing a doula, and pro bono work for moms in the community that need help.  The details of the classroom training content can be found on our website.

How did Welcome Baby Care come to be? 

One of the unique things about our service is that we also do senior care—so we are kind of a full spectrum in-home care provider.   How Welcome Baby Care started was with this senior business.  When my stepdaughter was having her first baby—and I have raised four children myself—I was there as a grandmother I thought, “I’m really rusty—I don’t really have all the answers to help out.” So what occurred to me at that time was, just like seniors, new moms need support, everybody needs a doula.  And its just one of those things, you know it’s the same type of care, the difference is the type of caregiver.  But it is still that turbulent time in people’s lives where they don’t know what they are getting into.  It’s so new.

So that is when we decided to have these two ends of the care spectrum (we split these into two sister companies).  And that’s how it came about.  Then I discovered that a doula with her expertise, the sixth sense they have…those were the kind of people that I wanted to do this care.  They are just so loving and caring and have such a heart.

Can you tell me more about the doulas you work with? 

The doulas are hand picked and multi-talented.  They all have their own gifts; they are all different in so many ways.  They are all doulas but they all have special additional gifts that they can offer.  So when we are interviewing with families, what’s great is that we have this whole team to pick from, not just one person.  So we can really assess what the family needs and hand pick the doula or doulas that are going to be the best fit.

Another great thing about having a doula team—and all of our doulas are our employees, none of them are contract—is that we have ongoing monthly training. So we may have speakers come in, and there is always a discussion session.  If there is ever something with a family that they maybe have a question or concern about, it’s all confidential, but they also have this team to talk with and get support from.  So they are not trying to figure things out all on their own.  And what’s really important is this ongoing training component.

When they go into a home, we always want that continuity of care.  So when you hire our doulas, you are not going to get someone different every time.  You are going to get the doula or two that are the best fit for you (# of doulas per family depends on # of hours needed).

What other services does Welcome Baby Care offer?

Through in-home care, lactation support, and classes, we offer:

  • Information for bonding techniques for new families (including adoption)
  • Breastfeeding support and counseling
  • Special care for preemies and multiples
  • Expertise in postpartum depression
  • Overnight care
  • Household care
  • Bedrest support
  • In-Home infant CPR

As far as our classes go, we offer a gamut of breastfeeding classes.  We have Breastfeeding 101, which is “the basics”.  The 201 class is not just breastfeeding or bottle feeding but also weaning, starting solids, and those types of things.

We also have a Grandmothers class, which is really popular.  This is where the expectant mom and her mother and/or mother-in-law come to class together.  And they talk about the differences between when grandma had the babies versus now.  A lot of new things that are happening, such as back to sleep and feeding and equipment, and all those things that may be new that grandma may not know about.

Kind of breaking down the barrier of her knowing what is important, and what mom feels is important, because often grandmas play a large role in raising the new child.  So with the help of this class, they are not going into it with preconceived ideas, barriers, and walls and not really discussing it.  And it’s learning on both ends—both the new mom and the grandma.  It’s a combination of education and facilitating communication between the generations.

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What if you are not sure during pregnancy whether you want or need a postpartum doula? 

I would suggest pursuing it.  We are here to answer all questions without any strings attached.  And maybe its not even postpartum services she may have questions about.  We also have a separate lactation service so maybe if she is feeling uncomfortable about breastfeeding and has questions, you know she can ask without being locked into in-home services.

I think that it’s worth attending one of our classes. We help provide a postpartum plan.  You know a lot of people make a birth plan, but not always a postpartum plan.  And we help you develop a plan, which covers things you should be aware of postpartum.

And again, consider calling and asking questions or even interviewing someone just in case, because again no strings attached ever.  People don’t always realize the importance of having that care.  You know, in other countries, people have their families and they have people helping them and we just don’t have that in this country.  The lesson is from second world nations that really know how important extended family care is.

What if you are sitting at home one week postpartum and you realize you need some help.  Is it too late to call a doula? 

It’s never too late.  We answer our phone 24/7.  I get calls during the night.  Calls come in when people are in the hospital or are feeling like they need to go back to the hospital.  You know, I got a call from a mom recently, I couldn’t even understand her.  She was so tired and so overwhelmed—it was four in the morning—and I was trying to get information and finally I just asked: “Do you need help right now?”  She asked if we could call her back in the morning at nine.  So we called her back and she was so overwhelmed.  But we were able to help her.

So anytime, we are available for new moms.  We want you to call us.

What advice might you have for pregnant mamas?

No expectations.  I mean, plan, but have an open plan for how the postpartum is going to look.  I think one of the most damaging things about our social world and the media is they put such high expectations on new moms and I think that is a mistake.  To buy into that and listen to too many people ahead of time and have all these expectations and lofty goals is a mistake.

You know, take things a day at a time and realize that, more than anything, you just want to have time for that baby, and give them everything they need.  But don’t have this idea of what its going to look like—like you’re going to lose weight, you’re going to look like this, you are going to have all the perfect equipment and clothes, and everything is going to look perfect and composed, and then buying into what all your friends are saying.

You know make sure you know who your support people are: get the support.  But don’t surround yourself with people who tell you how you need to be—just get that loving non-judgmental support.  And know, too, that we come in with NO judgments—mom can decide and parent the way she feels is right.  You know, we will guide and support but we will not judge.  That’s the biggest thing—you do not want judgment around you because it is just toxic.

What advice do you have for new mamas, who are maybe going through the postpartum period right now?

For them, I would say, the same information applies.  You need the support of other people.  Do not isolate.  Get the support.  Find those people that don’t have expectations for you.  Because you are the parent and you know your baby better than anybody and you need to be the one to make decisions.  You know, 10 or 20 years from now, it is going to be your decisions that matter, not anyone else’s.  So I think you need to really look at your own “mama guts” because you know.  And don’t think you don’t know because you DO know what is best.

And also, there are so many good resources out there, so take advantage of these great resources.

And plenty of rest and relaxation, and try not to put too many expectations on yourself.

You can contact Welcome Baby Care on their website or by calling 952-942-5676. 

 

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Interview: Sarah Longacre of Blooma

SLongacreBloomaSTPWe recently had a chance to catch up with the lovely and phenomenal Sarah Longacre, owner of Blooma, a fantastic Twin Cities birth hub offering yoga, fitness, education, wellness and more for pregnant and new mamas and their families.  If you haven’t heard of Blooma or been to one of their amazing classes, we recommend learning more about their many, many class offerings and workshops.  Read on to hear what Sarah shared with us on her business, the benefits of yoga during pregnancy, her advice for mamas, and much more.  A big thanks to Sarah for taking time out of her busy life to chat with us!

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Name: Sarah Longacre, owner of Blooma, yoga instructor, and birth doula extraordinaire

Hometown: Minneapolis

Current Hometurf: Minneapolis

Family: Married (Brian) with two step children, Levi (7) and Phoenix (4), and a baby due Fall 2013

How did you find your way into yoga?

I’ve been practicing yoga ever since my college years at Arizona State University.  I continued my personal practice through my 20s and I started integrating yoga into the births I attended as a doula.  I began attending births in 2000 in Portland, Oregon.

How did you incorporate yoga into the births you attended?

Really just the basic, basic fundamentals of yoga—mind, body, and breath—having breath be the foundation of a mother’s birth.  And then from there it is physically getting out of bed and moving and stretching and using really easy, gentle, basic poses to help moms open up space not only in their physical body, but also in their minds and hearts for the birth of their baby.

Can you tell us how Blooma came to be?

So I had been teaching prenatal yoga in half a dozen yoga studios in Minneapolis and I started realizing the priority of prenatal yoga for many studios was just not there.  You know, it’s challenging—you are working with an audience, a special population, that has a very short span of time and the turn over rate is extremely high.

But I felt very strong that there needed to be a place, a center, for women—not only to come and get education on yoga, but also education on childbirth and wellness.  And really connecting with others.  And at that time, in 2007, there were no birth centers or out-of-hospital childbirth education courses except for a few Bradley classes in churches and whatnot.  There was the amazing Childbirth Collective but, what the Twin Cities really needed with a home, or hub, for all of the resources women need during pregnancy.

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So we opened the doors of Blooma in October 2007 (this year we will be six!).  Our first location was on the edge of Minneapolis and Edina (44th and France). We were there for five years and we literally grew out of the space.  We just needed more and more yoga space and more childbirth education.  Our classes were growing.  The childcare we have at Blooma is one of our biggest perks.  Between all of those things, we knew it was time to expand and change locations.  Really what it came down to was looking at the demographics of our clientele and they were coming more from southwest Minneapolis as opposed to Edina.

We also used to offer classes out of Health Foundations’ amazing upstairs gathering space, but grew out of that as well.  So in 2012, we opened two new studios—one on Lyndale Avenue in Minneapolis and another on Selby Avenue in Saint Paul.  We also serve mamas in Shakopee at St. Francis’s Hospital—we love to have the support of a local hospital!

What services does Blooma currently offer to pregnant women and new moms?

In terms of yoga, we offer prenatal yoga, BYOB (Bring your Own Baby) yoga for postpartum mamas and their babies, Vinyasa yoga for everyone, Barre classes for everyone and yoga for tots, kids and teens.  We also offer New Mama groups, which really support and provide community for new mothers as they make this huge transition into motherhood.  We also have baby weigh-ins and childcare offered during many of our classes.  This summer we’ve been offering yoga camp for kids.  We regularly hold special yoga workshops.

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In terms of childbirth education, we offer classes and workshops in Bradley Method, Birthing from Within, HypnoBirthing, and offer our own courses titled “The Blooma Birth Class,” “Blooma Again, Childbirth Refresher,” and “Blooma’s Birthing Intensive for Couples”.  We hold workshops on diverse topics, including but not limited to VBAC, breastfeeding, postpartum, prenatal nutrition, and more.  We rent space for Mother Blessingways and offer personalized coaching for pregnant women and their partners/labor support.

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As far as wellness, we are proud to have many amazing practitioners offering acupuncture, chiropractic, massage (including Mayan Abdominal Massage), and belly + body art.

What are you most excited about when it comes to Blooma these days?

I’m hands-down most excited about our childbirth education.  We have the most incredible doulas that teach our classes.  And the thing I love most is that these doulas are at births every single day.  These women are literally out on the “front line” helping women at their births.  So when they teach childbirth education, they are teaching from such a real place and such a place of passion, and trust and intelligence for and about birth.

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Unfortunately, one thing I see way too much is women and families coming into childbirth education who are really full of fear.  I believe our teachers are so passionate about birth that they teach in a way that is so full of knowledge, but also really respecting every parent’s unique needs.  And parents do have such personal, individual needs.  It is hard to teach the masses as many hospitals do—you know they often have 20, 30, 40 couples in each class.

And so I am really very thrilled about our childbirth education.  We have a team of educators and classes coming up this fall that I feel very strongly are the best available in the Twin Cities.

What are some of the benefits of yoga for pregnant women and new mamas?

The physical benefits are unparalleled—when you are talking about your body changing and growing (gaining anywhere from 20 to 60 pounds) our bones, our ligaments, everything is adjusting and there is not a better way to learn how to strengthen, but also soften and breathe into, the places where we are feeling these constraints.

In my own pregnancy, at 30+ weeks, I can tell you I have never felt better physically in my whole life, but I have never needed yoga more in my whole life until now.  I’ve known the power of yoga, and I know the power of birthing, but until this part of my journey, I’ve never been so 100% sure that prenatal yoga is the best physical activity for pregnancy.

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While these physical benefits are huge, to me, one of the biggest benefits that people don’t often talk about is coming together in community.  With all the pressure moms have in 2013 in being mothers—from how to give birth, to cloth diapering, to “do we breastfeed?”—the pressure that is put on women to raise children a certain way!— to “do we go back to work?”, to “what do we have to give up?”—it’s a very scary time and it’s a very isolating time.  I felt like I was the only pregnant woman on the planet during the first 15 weeks of my pregnancy because I felt like no one else could be experiencing what I was going through

Until I go to Blooma.

When I go to Blooma, and I get on my yoga mat, when I look around at all the other women in our classes, I see women who absolutely have the same fear, the same excitement, the same challenges in their marriage, and challenges in their own hearts, and I realize that I have a tribe, that I have sisters, and that I am not alone.  And that, in itself, is worth stepping onto your mat.  It is worth coming and taking a deep breath in a circle of other women.

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Whether you take a class that is mostly talking or more of a movement based class, Blooma is a place for all women to come and connect with their breath, their body, and their community.

What are your favorite poses for pregnancy these days and what are the benefits of such poses?

{Laughs} Hands-down, savasana!  Resting pose at the end—I mean, to me, it’s like birth—that feeling women get towards the end, after all the hard work…“I just want my baby in my arms!” in yoga it’s similar—“I’ve worked so hard, I just want to lay down and relax!”  I say this half-jokingly but I also think it is so important to take the time to relax, especially in pregnancy.

But personally, for me, I love standing poses—I love warrior poses.  Because warrior and goddess poses make me feel bigger and larger than life, they open up space for me to extend and expand, but also really get grounded.  Getting grounded is key, I think, in pregnancy to having a sense of being in the present moment.  To get super grounded to the earth through your legs and then open up your heart to the sky—those poses have become so beneficial to me in prenatal yoga.  So it’s a good balance of standing poses, and yeah, I SO look forward to the end of my yoga practice when I am soft and curled up and I can feel my baby—there is just nothing better than that.

And for postpartum mamas, what are some juicy poses?

Definitely heart-openers—we spend so much time as new moms hunched over—whether we are breastfeeding or bottlefeeding, carrying baby, etc.  So poses that lengthen out the side body, draw the shoulders back and engage the core, help to lift the heart in a way that moms need more than ever.

Do you have any advice for expecting mamas? 

The biggest advice I have—and I feel like I have said this before but I mean it now more than ever—to be so loving, and so kind, and so gentle to yourself.  The pressure that is put on pregnancy and women—it’s huge.

One of the big things for me in my first and second trimester is—you know, people would say to me “Oh my gosh, are you so excited?! Are you so excited?!” and “This is such a blessing, this is such a gift” and it didn’t feel that way to me.  Because I was really starting to wonder, “How am I going to do it all?” And I was already mourning the loss of the life I have known.  And that is when I am called into the present moment and to trust that this child 100% chose me, this child wants to be with me and this child was given this opportunity to come into my family.  And I get to learn. I get to learn from my baby—I get to learn so much. 

Overall, I think that we don’t teach ourselves to love ourselves unconditionally.

I feel nothing but compassion for the pressure that women feel.  I can be in a class of 30 moms and ten of them couldn’t be more excited about being pregnant—they’ve been waiting and trying for years.  Another ten of them, they are scared out of their minds.  And ten of them, they go in between.  And there is nothing wrong with any of that.  I taught just this Saturday and half my class was in tears because they couldn’t even wrap their heads around: “What is it like to be a mom??”  And I am not just talking about first time moms, for some this could be their second, third, or fourth—and you know, they need the yoga more than anyone.  And many of them know the importance of stepping onto their mat to take care of themselves.

The other thing I would say is not to feel intimidated by yoga.  A lot of women are coming to yoga in pregnancy or even in postpartum for the very first time, which is awesome. So many women are intimidated, they think they have to be a certain way or look a certain way or be able to do certain poses—but I just want to break that myth down—you don’t have to be decked out in yoga name brands and look perfect throughout the entire class.  Here at Blooma, you know, we are all about crying babies.  It’s important not to feel ashamed or discouraged from coming onto your mat after having a bad day—that is actually when you need it the most.

And for some moms in the postpartum, they don’t love being a mom, they don’t know if they chose the right path and they are struggling with their relationship with their child—and how normal is that?  But we don’t talk about that.  We DO talk about that at Blooma.

At New Moms group, this is a key place, because there is more talking and sharing.  And this is a place where it’s okay for new moms to say, “I am scared” or “I feel alone” And if you do BYOB yoga before that, you open up a place in your body where a lot of that energy may otherwise get stuck.

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Any other advice you have for new mamas?

I would say New Moms group is the best place to start, especially after a C-section or otherwise difficult birth, for mom’s that aren’t ready yet for physical movement—New Mom’s group is a wonderful resource.  And, hey, come back in November and I’ll give you more advice for new moms.

Do you have anything else to add?

Yes! I want to extend a BIG thanks for the Birth Community of St. Paul and Minneapolis. My staff of 60+ and I could not be here without all of the unconditional love and support they give… and I pray we give it right back to them!

Interview with Lindsey Deeb, Pediatric Nurse-Practitioner

Recently, we had the good fortune of catching up with Lindsey Deeb—our fabulous pediatric care provider—to chat with her about her practice, her style of care, and her recommendations for expectant and new families.  Lindsey is accepting new clients at Health Foundations, where she practices every Thursday.  She practices out of her clinic in Inver Grove the rest of the week.

LINDSEYName: Lindsey Deeb, nurse-practitioner and owner of Dakota Pediatrics 

Hometown: Sioux City, Iowa, where her parents, brother, and his three kids still live. Lindsey’s family makes the 4 to 5 hour drive to see them almost monthly.

Family: Husband, Bobby, and two kids: Andrew (3) and Kathryn (18 months).

Education/Background:

  • Studied child psychology at University of Wisconsin-Madison and worked in inpatient child psychology for a few years before going into nursing.
  • Studied nursing at Saint Catherine’s in Saint Paul. Worked in pediatrics at the University of Minnesota for a couple years.
  • Moved to San Francisco to complete advanced practitioner studies at the University of California, San Francisco.  Spent four years in San Francisco, where she married her husband and had her son, Andrew.

Current Home Turf:  Lives in Minneapolis and is building a house on the Eagan/Inver Grove border, which will bring her closer to the clinic.  She’s excited to run or bike to work!

Can you tell us a bit more about Dakota Pediatrics?

We are a small private pediatric practice located in Inver Grove (and I see patients at Health Foundations as well).  The practice was founded by my mother-in-law and we had always planned on working together.  Unfortunately, she died suddenly of cancer, so now I own and operate the clinic with my husband, just like his parents did 30+ years ago.

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Vivian Rider is our pediatrician; she’s been practicing in the area for over 25 years. For a long time, she practiced at a small clinic that was engulfed by a large corporate clinic system.  Once the clinic transitioned to new protocols, she was seeing about 30 patients a day and would often get in her car at the end of the day and just want to cry—it was just a horrible way to practice medicine.   But now, she loves practicing in our atmosphere here and believes that she is practicing medicine the way it should be done.

We have three medical assistants, Leann, Kao Song, & Chrissy, who are all trained in pediatric primary care and triage.  They can handle the most common issues, and if they have questions about something they haven’t seen before, they always come to us for guidance.  And we have an in-house billing and referral specialist, Deb, who has been with Dakota Peds for over 20 years.  Jenny is our receptionist, but also handles some billing and administrative duties. Bobby’s aunt Linda, who is also an LPN, is our special projects coordinator.  And Bobby helps me with almost everything else that goes on “behind the scenes” or outside of the patient room in our case…so he’s like a jack of all trades and, like myself, is always available to any family if they have an issue or concern.

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Though we are small, we have a robust electronic medical record (EMR) that helps us provide better care and more services to our families.  Compared to a practice that still uses paper charts (many of them that still do!), our EMR helps take care of the busy “paperwork” more efficiently, so we have more time to devote our families.  Our EMR also gives each patient an online portal account where they can see their medical records and shot records, schedule appointments, see lab results, etc.

We have two patient care coordinators (social workers) who come in once a week—they can get families lined up with services that they may need or help navigate complex cases involving multiple care providers, such as situations of chronic illness, where families are maybe feeling overwhelmed and need some extra help.

We operate an on-site lab that performs the most common tests, such as blood draws, urinalysis, urine cultures, rapid strep screens, etc. right in the clinic.  Any complex test that we can’t handle in-clinic is sent to an outside lab (almost every clinic does this) and our courier comes twice a day so we can get urgent tests back very quickly.  We receive all our lab results electronically, so we get them very fast and the results are automatically posted to the patient’s online portal account and an email notice is sent the family, so it’s a pretty convenient feature of our EMR.

I anticipate that we may bring on another provider possibly within the year. I am not sure who that person will be yet, we’ve talked about family practice and sort of expanding that way a little bit.  So we’ll have to see.

How did you get connected to Health Foundations?

I approached Amy not too long after I moved back from California—I was trying to get to know other people in the area. Also, as a pediatric nurse-practitioner, and just personally, I really believe in natural birth (I had my kids naturally with a midwife) and I really believe in the midwifery model of care.

So I knew of the Birth Center, and I approached Amy, just to meet her. We seemed to hit it off from our first meeting.  And I think it was during that meeting that she brought up possibly working together—so things just slowly evolved from that point on.

I actually just saw the baby I did my first home visit with—he just turned one.   I’ve been doing home visits for a year and I have been at Health Foundations since February 2013—and I am really enjoying it.

How has your experience working at Health Foundations been so far?

It’s been really great.  Obviously, the entire team here is really warm and welcoming.  I like the atmosphere, its nice to be here and see people who really appreciate the Center for what it is.  My appointment times are a little longer here so I feel like I really get a good amount of time to see people.

The thing that I enjoy the most is home visits, which are done 6 to 10 days postpartum. It’s so nice to see people in their home environment—I get to know my patient families on a little bit different level and its nice to be able to sit and chat and not feel like you are in a clinic setting.  Even though I feel like our clinic is very inviting, it is still really nice to be at home with your newborn and not have to leave.

Also I think that home visits fit really well into how Health Foundations does their postpartum home visits—someone comes to you at 24 hours, at three days, and then I come a few days later, then [the family] is back at Health Foundations at 2 weeks—so its good continuity of care that way.

How about going forward at Health Foundations?

Well, long term, I would love to have another location here in St. Paul and I can see that happening if things keep moving in the right direction.  I don’t have any real specifics on when or how that might work, but I’ve really enjoyed working with Amy and the Health Foundations staff. So, I would hope that if we expanded further in Saint Paul, we would continue or strengthen our working relationship with Health Foundations. 

What do you love most about working with kids and families?

LINDSEYBABYI have always wanted to do primary care.  I’ve worked in several different hospital settings and I’ve always worked with kids.  I realized at some point, while I like working with people in the hospital, I really wanted to see kids grow over time and get to know parents and families.  Being in a small practice, that’s something we can really do, and I think it’s really hard to come by these days. That is, building a relationship with your provider and feeling like you are not a number when you come in.

I really like the preventative care part of my job.  Growing up, my mom was always very prevention minded—she always talked about being healthy and active—how taking care of yourself now pays dividends in the end. We had a big edible garden, we composted and canned so we had healthy food to eat all winter. Being healthy and taking care of myself and my family is a big part of who I am.  For me to able to share that with the families I serve is probably one of the things I like the most.  Especially today, because everyone is so busy and there is less time.  I strive to provide people with efficient ways to be healthy—easy things you can do here and there.

How does being a mom shape your practice?

Oh, huge, it’s huge. My work before kids and after kids looks completely different.  It actually caught me off guard.  Before I had my son I never realized that I would lose all objectivity in caring for my own children.  After kids, my empathy level went up even higher than before—I worked in pediatric hematology and oncology before I had kids and I don’t think I could do it again.

I am a worrier by nature—I would say that I worry about my patients a lot.  And I think that makes me a better provider, but it’s increased since I had my own kids because, now more than ever, I feel how important of a job it is to take care of other people’s kids.  I feel honored to take care of other people’s kids.  And, as a parent, I hope that anyone taking care of my kids really takes it seriously, because it’s a big deal.

I think having kids has ultimately made me a better provider.  I can definitely relate to everything people are going through—being up in the night, worrying about your child for this or that, yeah, all the experiences of having young kids.

How would you describe your style of care?

I really believe that the entire family is my patient.  Trust is a big component, too.  I hope people find me to be a really down-to-earth, approachable, trustworthy person.  I am really into relationship building.  And I want people to know that if I recommend something, its really coming from a good place and something I feel is important. I want people to feel included in decision making whenever possible.  It drives me crazy when people come in and they say they’ve been to someone else who was “scolding” them about something—that’s a word that people use a lot—or giving them a hard time or judging them.  I just think that no matter what the topic, doing that is so unhelpful.  I might not always agree with everything my families do but I certainly respect their decisions and I want there to be open discussion around everything.  I never want anyone who comes to me to feel judged.

In addition to that personal level of care we talked about, what are some of the benefits of a small practice setting?

Calling someone like us versus calling a larger corporate clinic to make an appointment, you are going to have a very different experience.  With us, you will probably get someone that you have talked to before, you’re going to be able to make the appointment then, and you are probably going to be able to get in when you want to get in.  If it’s important, we will fit you in or we will stay late and that is not something you’re always going to get at a bigger clinic.

And the other big thing is that if you want to get a hold of us, you can.  Vivian or I are always on call at night, and during the day our staff is great but if you want to talk to one of us just say so when you call.  There is not a run around, you are not going to get bounced all over the place to get your needs met.  For billing or insurance issues, any of my staff members can handle most issues, otherwise Bobby handles him.  And I’ve seen him email families with an answer at 11 pm or on the weekends, so it’s much simpler here.  We’re a small staff that takes care of you as best as we can.

I really hope that we convey a family atmosphere, that people feel welcome and comfortable when they come to us.  I know Dr. Rider feels the same.  And I think our practice is unique because we have a doctor and a nurse practitioner—we come at health care from a couple of different models and I think it leads to a more holistic way of caring for people.  She and I talk about patients together all the time and make sure we both feel like we are doing the right things.  We’ve built a solid network of good specialists and colleagues we can call on when we need to as well.

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One final benefit is that we charge about 20-40% less than a larger corporate group for the same service or test.  That’s something not everyone realizes.  Who wouldn’t want more personalized service while saving money at the same time?

What do you love to do when you are not taking care of patients? 

I’ve always been a really active person—I swam competitively, through college at Madison.  Then I started running after that and I’ve completed several marathons and a few triathlons.

lindseykidsI love spending time with my kids, especially outside.  This summer, we’ve been going to lots of parks, going on walks around the neighborhood, and playing with neighbors. We also hang out with Bobby’s sister and family, their kids are 5 and 3, so they are close in age to ours.

I love to knit, although I haven’t been doing it lately.  And I love to read—I still read lots of medical literature, but I have enjoyed a couple of novels lately. I really, really like to cook.  My favorite dish is a squash risotto with rosemary and its really good.  And though I like it, we are challenging ourselves to go light on meat these days.

 As far as travel, my parents have a log home in the Black Hills in the middle of nowhere, so we try to get out there a couple times a year.  I also try to get to Ontario, Canada’s Lac Seul to go fishing every year.

How do you feel about seeing pregnant women/couples before baby arrives?

I really love it when people come in before they have the baby—I always love that visit.  It allows me to see them before and get a feel for them, and we can see if we’re a good match, which I think is really important.  It’s good to know that ahead of time.

What do you recommend that families look for in a pediatrician?

There are many things you should ask.  If you are going to meet ahead of time, its good to really think about it and even write down the questions that you have.  I do think it’s better when people are a little prepared before they come in.

I can always speak to the things that most people ask me about, but that is not necessarily what everybody is wondering about. Everyone has some topics that are really important to them, for some people it is immunizations for others it’s antibiotic use.  So, directly ask about those things.  I think its okay to ask some personal questions too to get a feel for that person.  Ask if they have kids.

I think you should ask how long visits are and how easy it is to get in. Ask about how easy it is to get a hold of someone off hours.  Because those are the things that, once you have the baby, make you feel better—to know if you can get a hold of somebody,  to know that someone is going to have the time to answer your questions.  And its good to ask about experience and education as well.

What are your thoughts on well child visits? 

SONY DSCSome people ask “Are well child visits really that important?” I do think they are important for a few reasons.  Some people are worried that they may get hounded about immunizations during these visits or that immunizations would be the only reason to go to a well child visit.  And really, it’s more about questions and talking through things.

And growth is really important to monitor, in the first two years especially,—to make sure the head is growing appropriately, that baby is gaining weight fine, etc.  And well child visits can offer a lot of guidance—for example in terms of nutrition, making sure breastfeeding or bottlefeeding is going well.  Well child visits are an opportunity to do a full exam and to just to look over everything.   You might feel pretty bad, as a parent, if you knew you could have caught something sooner, but you didn’t go in.

Plus, since preventative care is completely covered by insurance in MN, you’ve already paid for your physical through your monthly insurance premium.  So if you don’t come in for the physicals, you’ve basically given the insurance company $120-$200 per physical and got nothing in return.  That’s a lot of money to give away.

I always tell people too, I am happy to sit and talk with parents but if someone wants to make it quick, that’s fine too!  I’m into meeting people where they are at.

Do you have any advice for pregnant or new mamas?

I jokingly tell people, do everything you really like to do by yourself now.  But I think it’s really important and something you don’t always “get” until afterwards. And do things together, because that changes.  That change is good, but it’s different and things are never exactly the same again. And I always say, too, make sure you get a lot of rest in pregnancy.

Nothing in the world will prepare you for that feeling you have when you see your baby for the first time—it’s just amazing.  So take it in, just really take it in.  And when you get really tired and sleep deprived—which I think is really hard for a lot of people—you can remember that moment. (And remember you won’t always feel so sleep deprived!)

And as far as breastfeeding, you need be easy on yourself because it’s a new thing to you, it’s a new thing to baby and you have to figure each other out.  That takes a little bit of time and it’s different for everyone.

For new parents, take lots of pictures and really take it in, because it does go really fast.  And I always tell my patients, don’t hesitate to call—no question is a silly question.  That’s what I am there for, I don’t mind the calls and it’s much better than sitting there and worrying about something.  There’s no point in that.  If you can call, we can talk and you can feel better—it’s well worth it.

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