Wednesday, June 1, 2011

A Fearless Woman: June

Excerpt from my date book, A Fearless Woman.
Artwork detail ©Jeannine Roberts Royce
She Leaps.
But Where's the Net?
As sure as she leaps,
there is a fall somewhere
in her future.

With all due respect... the net may
or may not appear.  A fearless woman leaps
anyway.  And leaps again, and again, and...

-"A Fearless Woman" 2011 date book,

Jena Vincent of Abundance Massage

Sunday, May 1, 2011

A Fearless Woman: May

Excerpt from my date book, A Fearless Woman.
Artwork detail ©Jeannine Roberts Royce
She Redefines Success
Success comes not through fame and fortune
but through rising and risking, again and again.
She emerges a passionate, resilient woman
with a fearless core.
-"A Fearless Woman" 2011 date book,

Jena Vincent of Abundance Massage

Monday, April 11, 2011

"Tonight, I became a doula."

Pretend today is March 1st... the past several weeks have been insane and I'm just now able to write this.

Today, I attended my fifth birth.  Today, I was born as a doula.

Everything went very differently than we were anticipating and planning.  The idea was spontaneous labor when the baby was ready, laboring at home until Mom felt like it was time to go to the hospital, using a lot of movement to help things progress.  Birth balls, showers, tubs, walking... until it was time to push out the baby.  Mom was okay with an episiotomy if it was necessary, but there would be immediate skin to skin, hopefully a breast crawl, and spontaneous breastfeeding initiation. Baby would room in and never leave her side unless medically necessary. It was a powerful and well-researched and natural plan, and very little of it happened.

We went in Monday for a 41+1 non-stress test and found that over the weekend since her last appointment on Friday, the amniotic fluid had decreased by about half and the placenta was showing signs of age. After some discussion with the midwife, Mom decided it was time to give her body a bit of a boost getting going. We went to the hospital that evening for some cervical ripening and to settle in for the night and next day. Over the next 20 or so hours (12 of which were spent just letting the ripening agent work) there were broken waters, fetal monitor issues, pitocin, an epidural, and Jane Austen. There was much more, but I feel like those details should be left up to her to disclose if she so chooses. Nothing went quite as planned and I personally found myself learning and growing, gaining understanding of why doulas are so needed, especially when things do not go to plan.

Pitocin didn't mean I wasn't doing my job. An epidural didn't mean I wasn't necessary. Mom was at peace with every decision made and every intervention given, but for it to be as natural as it could be among everything that happened, she really needed both of her birth partners: her husband and myself.

Probably the most poignant period for me was during pushing. She had some difficulty finding a position that worked for her to help bring the baby down but while she was on her left side, her husband held up her right leg and I sat at the end of the bed, pushing up her right sitz bone to help open her pelvis. We held this basic position for at least 45 minutes, while I encouraged her by saying how much of the internal monitor wire was coming out with each push. It wasn't much movement and when she moved to the other side and the baby really started to descend it became clear that it had been from scalp distortion rather than the baby really coming down, but that simply is not a position that just anyone could or would put themselves into.

It takes a doula to use your body that way to help a woman in labor, to be that close to such an intimate part of the human body and be completely unfazed by that fact. It takes a doula to reapply warm compresses during crowning while you wait for the midwife to come in from another birth. It takes a doula to stay with Mom while Dad goes and watches baby on the resuscitation table, and the midwife stops the bleeding. It takes a doula to take the placenta home and clean it up to freeze for eventual planting while the family's still in the hospital. Professional doulas aren't the only ones who do these things, but you need that doula spirit for it to work for you and for you to work for Mom.

I had doubted myself during the labor, while she was getting her epidural, pleading with God whether I as really set up for this work of mothering mothers and easing babies' ways into the world. I had my answer within hours of the question being asked.

On the afternoon of March 1, 2011, I became a doula.
"Sisterhood" candle lamp ©Maya Hill,

Jena Vincent of Abundance Massage

Friday, April 1, 2011

A Fearless Woman: April

Excerpt from my date book, A Fearless Woman.
Artwork detail ©Jeannine Roberts Royce
She Dances to the Beat of Her Heart
She discovers that she has astonishing flairs,
wisdoms and gifts unheralded, and perhaps even
inspired dance moves she did not know about.

This is no time to behave.
This is no time to be shy.
-"A Fearless Woman" 2011 date book,

Jena Vincent of Abundance Massage

Friday, March 11, 2011

A few simple changes

I was contemplating the way I have set up and maintained my social networking presence as a massage therapist and doula, and I've decided it's a little screwy.

I started this blog ostensibly as a promotional tool for my business. All well and good, but there just isn't enough about my business that's very interesting to a large, non-local population of readers. Heck, there's not enough of interest to a miniscule local population of readers. (Read: me.) I want to branch out, expand my circle of readership and get more Likers on Facebook without bothering non-locals with news of a current special or the like. (Like 25% off appointments or gift certificates purchased on March 21st in celebration of Spring! Yeah.)

So here's what I'm going to do. I have officially changed the URL of this blog so update your bookmarks! The blog itself is going to get its own FB page linked to my Twitter, and this will be where most of my FB/T birthy stuff will be going on. I have changed my Twitter name to @abundantdoula for this shift. The Abundance Massage Facebook page will remain linked to the same account for now, and instead of maintaining a promotional blog for the business, I will keep all that to the FB page. I think this will streamline my social media presence a little, or at least make it a little more public-friendly.


Jena Vincent of Abundance Massage

Tuesday, March 1, 2011

A Fearless Woman: March

Pretend this was the first thing you saw on March 1st. I have a date book called A Fearless Woman. Every month begins with a quote, and I'm going to post them on the first of the month for the rest of the year.
Artwork detail ©Jeannine Roberts Royce

She Shines Her Light
She is not stifled by setbacks or paralyzed by fear.
She uses life's challenges as exquisite opportunities
to reexamine her vision, to reassess her gifts, and
to summon back her light. 
-"A Fearless Woman" 2011 date book,

Jena Vincent of Abundance Massage

Friday, February 25, 2011


Courtesy of Rachel's button box

Yup, I jumped on the button bandwagon, so I'd be ever so grateful to follow bloggers who grabbed an applied the button on their own lovely blogs, and who let me know if they have buttons of their own for me to grab in return!

Jena Vincent of Abundance Massage

Thursday, February 24, 2011

RambleRant: "Midwife" just doesn't cut it anymore

A friend came out the other day with an idea for a directory of LDS birth workers, after reading this article over at The Gift of Giving Life.  From her Facebook Note:

I would really like to see a directory/registry/list of LDS doulas, midwives and childbirth educators that is shared on the internet for LDS women to refer to as they are looking for maternity care. In a way, it would bring back a little bit of the community that once existed in the church with Relief Society sisters literally providing relief during some of the most important and hard work of a Mormon woman's life.
I am completely on board with that idea, and there's been some discussion on how to do it, what to call it (Birthing in Zion seems to be fairly settled), and things like that.  I rang in with my (shocking!) suggestion to add prenatal massage therapists and infant massage instructors to the list, as well.  There is a whole slew of different fields related to birth that it would be wonderful to get listed in one place, all under the heading of "birth workers".

Birth workers.


I don't really like that term.  Yes, it's descriptive and accurate and it's a good umbrella term, but I find it very boring and PC and dry-sounding.  Midwives used to be the encapsulation of baby catcher/herbalist/doula/lactation consultant/childbirth educator/therapist/etc. as far as there were such things.  Granted, doulas were once the community of childbearing women around you, and chances were that you already knew a great deal about childbirth and breastfeeding because they were a part of regular life that wasn't hidden away behind hospital doors, blankets, or--Heaven forbid--bathroom doors.  (Ew.)  But if you did need the extra help, or you didn't have many examples in your life of child-bearing, midwives were there.  Now, the term still applies to the same sort of job, but there are numerous related fields that branch off of it, and the umbrella term is really unsatisfying.

The issue gets compounded somewhat when, like many people I know, a birth worker multiplies their talents and expands their knowledge.  Imagine a party...

"Nice to meet you.  What do you do?"
"I'm a CPA."

You now know this person handles money, finances, and taxes.
"I'm a CD, IBCLC, CPMT, CEIM, and CBE."

Unless you've come across a very Mom-and-baby-savvy accountant, you lost them right about "LC", because they're still thinking 'Compact Disc? IBC Root Beer?'  Once their eyes have glazed over, it's too late to explain that you're a Certified Doula, International Board Certified Lactation Consultant, Certified Prenatal Massage Therapist, Certified Educator of Infant Massage, and Childbirth Educator.  And alas, while "birth worker" is descriptive, it's still fairly confusing in a society where most people think of that as "OB/GYN, or L&D or NICU nurse".  (Letters, letters everywhere!)  I guess the confusion is a good conversation piece, but I find people are still perplexed by the whole notion.

I'm not sure I'm up to coining a new umbrella term, myself.  It takes a lot of consideration, possibly even digging into other languages (a la "doula"), and it wouldn't really change the "you do what?" part of conversations.  "Doula" has been around for a few decades now and it's just starting to become a word that people recognize and understand, though I still get a lot of people with quizzical looks and "Oh... How'd you get into that?"  There's also the fact that even a new umbrella term wouldn't simplify the multiple certification issue at all, and would just give you one more level of necessary explanation.

So, alas, I can't have everything.  But wouldn't it be nice?

"I'm a ___________."
"That's wonderful! You must love babies and moms."

I do.

Jena Vincent of Abundance Massage

Tuesday, February 15, 2011

Thoughts on being a traveling doula

As noted, I'm in Utah, awaiting the arrival of a friend's baby. This is the second or third time I've done this sort of thing in my life. It would have been a solid third except that the last one was a very sudden "they're inducing me tonight" throw-together-a-bag-and-hop-on-a-plane affair without the prenatal waiting period. Nevertheless, I've traveled out of state and time zone three times now in order to help prepare for and attend a birth.

It's interesting. It's very different, being on-site rather than just on-call. Your life is on-hold at a much deeper level, but I find the overall experience a bit more fulfilling, really, and I'm grateful that I'm at a place in my life where I have the opportunity to do this.

You're always available for consultation and advice, without even having to pick up the phone. This makes you invariably wish you'd brought your entire doula (and massage and herb and aromatherapy) library with you, which is--of course--impossible. You have to pare down what you bring to the essentials and pray your memory and/or Google don't fail you. You get to help shop, prepare food, run errands, clean, take care of older children if there are any... it's very much like postpartum work, jut earlier. And there's a lot of waiting and the daily questions.  "What shall we do today? What still needs to be prepared? What can we do to help nudge things along?  What will help ripen a cervix and encourage contractions?"

Then there's the parallel blogging, where we're sitting on opposite ends of the couch, typing in our blogs. Always fun.  :)
Rachel working on a blanket for baby Evelyn.

Things I've learned:
  • AAA is VERY useful to have, especially in winter, especially when with a pregnant lady.
  • Bacon sushi is a surprising revelation.  Tasty!
  • Basil essential oil smells surprisingly like licorice/anise/fennel.  It's also apparently quite and quickly effective on itchy bumps that might or might not be bites.
  • I need to write notes on EVERY oil in my doula kit and keep it somewhere close to it.
  • On the same note, Labor Lab is an invaluable book to have on hand.  Not quite comprehensive, but very useful as a reminder resource.
  • I should consider investing in less bulky "doula clothes" to keep in my bag so they don't take up so much space.
  • Spending at least 30-40 minutes per day sitting/bouncing/flexing on a birth ball can apparently help ease constipation.
  • I found even an informal, small Blessingway much more interesting and fulfilling to participate in than I've ever found a baby shower, and I think they should definitely become more common in our society.  (Granted, I was just an attendee and not the honoree, but it felt much more personal and like a rite of passage and initiation--as it should--than a giggly party with silly games and gifts.)
  • There are worse ways to spend a few weeks out of my life. :)

Jena Vincent of Abundance Massage

Tuesday, February 8, 2011

Doula Days: Evelyn's car seat

My friend, Rachel, is a very crafty laDIY.  Look what she did for her baby Evelyn.
COMPLETELY reupholstered

Cutest strap guards ever.
I love it.  It's gorgeous.  It's handmade.  She won't do it against for anyone but her own beloved offspring, but I've encouraged her to type up everything she learned, figure out yardage, do up a pattern if she can, make it a pdf and sell it for a very reasonable price in her Etsy store.  (Or anything in her store, but she's been a little busy with the baby-growing, ya know?  She makes adorable knit hats and headbands, though, and you should really Heart her store for later.)  I think she could use some motivation on the pdf, though, before she forgets.

Therefore, I would consider it a personal favor if you'd go to this post and leave a comment saying how adorable it is and how much you want to know how to make one of your own, or you know someone who would love to make one, or something of the like.  She's an awesome person, I've known her for years, and she deserves many more readers than she has.

Jena Vincent of Abundance Massage

Saturday, February 5, 2011

Out of State: Doulary!

As of 3 PM: I am officially Out of Town/Out of State. I'm off to Utah to be doula to my friend, Rachel. I'll be gone the remainder of February, and massage business as usual will resume in March. I'll be sure to post photos and updates about the birth and such until then!

Jena Vincent of Abundance Massage

Tuesday, February 1, 2011

A Fearless Woman: February

Pretend this was the first thing you saw on February 1st. I have a date book called A Fearless Woman. Every month begins with a quote, and I'm going to post them on the first of the month for the rest of the year.
Artwork detail ©Jeannine Roberts Royce
She Follows the Ebb and Flow
Life assigns crazy, unwelcome events and
relationships to test and torment her.
She accepts the fates and furies beyond her
control with unflappable composure (and a
serious sense of humor). 
-"A Fearless Woman" 2011 date book,

Jena Vincent of Abundance Massage

Wednesday, January 12, 2011

Moving in the Inner Square: Get your own Square!

As you may recall from about a month ago, I take credit cards via a little device called a Square that hooks into my Touch, transmitting via local wi-fi (courtesy of my lovely neighbors at 101 Things to Do.)  At the end of the post, I also disclosed that I'd be soon be distributing Squares to any interested parties.  Well, the time has come!
Ta daaaaaaaaa!
I got this box in the mail today, full of Square-y goodness and awesome.  All you need is an Apple or Android device with a touch screen and a wi-fi or 3G connection.  You just direct your device's browser to this page, download the app onto your device, and activate your account.  The Square plugs right into the audio jack, but you technically don't need it to run a transaction; you can run a card number without it.

Important stuff to know
Square is built primarily for individuals and small businesses.  There is no fee for the equipment (I'll give you one for free) nor is there a monthly rental fee.  All of that is taken care of in the 2.75%+15¢ fee per card-present/swiped transaction.  This is in the range for what I've seen from banks (on top of their equipment rental charges), so I think it's pretty reasonable.  The rate is 3.75%+15¢ if the card is not swiped.  Still pretty reasonable for taking transactions over the phone or if the reader's not working for whatever reason.  Also, because it works with all four major credit companies in America with the same flat rate, it's a great way to accept AmEx, Discover, business and rewards cards without the exorbitant fees they typically incur on a small operations.

There is a $1,000/week limit on transfers to your bank account, so if you do $2000/week, you'll get $1000 every week, and have to wait until the end of the month for the balance of your money.  This can be inconvenient for some, so just be aware of it if you'd fit that category.  For lower volume individuals or businesses, it shouldn't be a problem.

If you have a printer available, you should offer a printed receipt.  If you do not, you can offer customers an e-mail or SMS version of their receipt.  Very green chic, I think.  I've found that the swipe takes a little getting used to, a little bit of finesse to keep steady and go at the right speed, but I feel it's worth the practice to save the extra 1% charge.

I can't think of anything else pressing for you know right now.  The Terms of Service are worth reading/scanning well, as they would be with anything involving your money.

So, in conclusion...
If you would like to accept credit cards for your small business (or as a back up during a power outage or equipment breakdown; Just ask the ladies at Milk & Honey!), or for yourself, I'm your local source for a free Square.  It's great not only for shops but...
  • Massage therapists (of course)
  • Nail technicians
  • Hair stylists
  • Yoga and pilates instructors 
  • Doulas and midwives
  • Babysitters
  • Tutors
  • Movers
  • Food trucks
  • Artists and art galleries
  • Farmer's markets
  • Craft fairs
  • Garage/yard sales
  • Music teachers
  • Painters
  • Landscapers
  • Getting gas or food money from friends
  • Selling stuff on Craigslist
  • and many other things, I'm sure!
I hope this has gotten you interested in trying Square on your Apple or Android device, a credit card reader for the masses.  You'll receive a Square and a little vinyl decal that proclaims your customers' ability to "Pay with Square"!  If you'd like to request one or if you have any questions, please feel free to email me at: jena (at) abundancemassage (dot) com.

(Also, if anyone is a size Medium and wants that shirt, please feel free to take it off my hands...)

Jena Vincent of Abundance Massage

Tuesday, January 11, 2011

Mama sock monkey of awesomeness

I just might make this my profile picture on January 22nd.
©2011 Peggy Costa
My friend, Kat, shared this little gem on Facebook a little bit ago and I couldn't resist passing it on.  It was handmade by her mother-in-law-to-be.  I kind of love it a lot.

After messaging the creatress, I found out it's available for sale on Etsy, and... there's some extra awesomeness.  The monkey gives birth.  I want it so badly.

Props to you, Peggy Costa!

Jena Vincent of Abundance Massage

Saturday, January 8, 2011

Nursing babies suck in a GOOD way; Facebook does NOT


There's been a lot of hubbub in recent years and recent days over Facebook and its apparent beef with images of breastfeeding.  (Congratulations to The Leaky B@@b and Denver Doula for being reinstated!) This beef now extends into the annals of historical images.  Awesome.

Historic Photos & Prints of Breastfeeding is a beautiful collection of albums displaying images from the 19th and 20th centuries, and representations of the charity in Cimon and Pero and Mary nursing Jesus.  Now, less than 24 hours after noted surprise and pleasure at never having had anything deleted, something has been.  Someone turned into a troll.

There isn't much I can say that hasn't been eloquently, vehemently, and repeatedly said by many others in past years and days.  I even caught a Tweet  telling people to stop complaining and just leave Facebook for good.  That's definitely food for thought.  We survived without Facebook or *ew* MySpace for years.  For the most part we communicated with people we cared about and stopped caring about people we didn't communicate with outside of awkward reunions every X-number of years.  We wrote letters that didn't include asinine things like the fact that we got sprayed in the face while brushing our teeth.  We made the social awkwardness of sharing pictures people may or may not have cared about seeing a face-to-face thing, and no one stole our pictures from us.

It would be hypocritical of me to say Facebook's good for nothing and that I don't indulge in the social overexposure brought on by it.  It's good for lots of things and I have no immediate plans for leaving it, myself.  I don't want to leave or boycott it.  What I want is a more family-friendly Facebook.  It has grown far beyond a twenty-something online tool for checking in with classmates and finding out when and where the next party will be held.  Facebook has spawned communities from strangers of all ages and life stages, for good and ill.  Breastfeeding, parenting, education... these things are good and Facebook needs to embrace (or at least allow) them and stop marginalizing those who celebrate one of the most sacred, healthy, and fundamental human interactions.

Facebook, please change your policies and STOP DELETING PICTURES OF BREASTFEEDING.
Jena Vincent of Abundance Massage

GIVEAWAY winners!

It's time to announce the winners of my first ever massage giveaway. My thanks to everyone who entered here, on Facebook, Twitter, via e-mail, and even in person!

The winners are...
  • First Prize: Mia!
  • Second Prize: Prana!
  • Third Prize: Sandra!
Thanks for playing, and Happy New Year!

Jena Vincent of Abundance Massage

Saturday, January 1, 2011

Happy New Year, 2011!

May this year be gentler than the past where we need it, and more blessed when we need it. Change what you want whenever you want. Make it your year.

Happy 2011 from Abundance Massage!

Jena Vincent of Abundance Massage

A Fearless Woman: January

Pretend this was the first thing you saw on New Year's Day. I have a date book called A Fearless Woman. Every month begins with a quote, and I'm going to post them on the first of the month for the rest of the year.

Artwork detail ©Jeannine Roberts Royce
She Rises Beyond All Limits
She has an abiding resilience and resolve
to never hold back, never stand back, never look back.
She reaches great heights.  She shines as she soars. 
-"A Fearless Woman" 2011 date book,

Jena Vincent of Abundance Massage