#23 Bundle Birth History

Listen Now

Description

Welcome back to Season 2! To start season 2 Sarah and Justine reflect on the history of Bundle Birth. Sarah shares how she left the bedside, how we started a business, the hardships she’s faced, and what the future looks like. Justine shares how she joined the team, and they discussed what they are looking for in future team members.

Justine Arechiga:

 

Justine Arechiga:

Welcome back to season two of Happy Hour with Bundle Birth Nurses. If you didn’t realize, we have been gone for a little bit. It feels like one second to be honest with you.

Sarah Lavonne:

True.

Justine Arechiga:

But we are back with season two and we have some fun plans for this season, which include really awesome guest speakers that we already have booked that we are excited to learn from and share with you. But for this first episode, it’s always like, what do we do first? It feels like it needs to be, I don’t know, with a bang.

Sarah Lavonne:

Climactic.

Justine Arechiga:

Right. But what we wanted to do actually, so if you’ve been following along on social media, December and January were really reflective months for the Bundle Birth team, especially Sarah. And in January we had our five-year anniversary of Bundle Birth and I got to attend as Director of Bundle Birth Nurses.

Sarah Lavonne:

Yeah.

Justine Arechiga:

But it was a really great time to celebrate everyone that’s been involved in the Bundle Birth journey, and it was really nice. I was very emotional. I sobbed through my whatever speech I gave, but I was thinking it would be nice to share Bundle Birth history today with Sarah. So we’re kind of going to interview Sarah a little bit. And someone had come up to us this weekend, we were at the AWHONN Leadership Conference, and asked how did you guys get started? And we realized that’s not super apparent maybe to some, especially if you just joined in or just started following. So how did we get started? Especially I know nurses are listening to this, so the Bundle Birth nurses side or maybe the Bundle Birth side because some of you might see Sarah and be like, Ooh, labor coach, I want to do that. So we wanted to share a little bit about what was the catalyst for Sarah to start Bundle Birth.

So Sarah, you were a labor nurse for a lot of years and you were in different roles. I know we talked about that. You were a staff nurse, you were a manager in a manager role, you were in a preceptor role, you were a peer mentor, you were in charge of childbirth education, so you had a lot of things and then you left. You want to share a little bit about your decision to leave the hospital?

Sarah Lavonne:

Yeah, I think we can all relate with that nursing is not always the easiest, and I was at a place of burnout to be honest as a labor nurse, and then that’s sort of what pulled me into more of a managerial role, which was totally unintentional. It was meant to be temporary, but the person who had a baby never came back, and so I was there until I quit my job, really. And so I think I had gotten to a place where I knew that something had to change and I had done a lot in my career, which is kind of notoriously Sarah. I get bored pretty easily and I learn pretty quickly. So it was like, okay, what’s next? Okay, what’s next? But also I felt like as a labor nurse, there was always more of me to offer. And then as a manager, I loved that role and having a team and building them up and sort of seeing the ins and outs of how the hospital worked. But I also was like, oh, but birth. I felt really disconnected.

And so I felt like there was nothing that really was able to celebrate or bring all of my giftings together. And then I’ve said this a million times, but I felt like there was so much change and I had so many ideas of how to help the world of birth and what families needed before and during and after, and I had all these ideas which were all just shot down to say it lightly, and my energy was annoying to the hospital, so if I can be candid, I’m going to be half candid here. And so I just sort of got to a place where I felt like I had maximized my reach from the inside out and the only option was from the outside in.

I also had a conversation with my boss at the time and I was pitching all these new ideas and literally for free, I would’ve done them under my regular salary. And I looked at her and I was completely honest, but now looking back, I’m like, I’m sure it came across as sassy. But I looked at her and I was like, so basically what you’re telling me you want me to do is come to work and go to meetings. And she laughed and was like, oh, well yeah, and answer some emails. And she was serious. And I remember looking at her and walking out of there and calling a friend and being like, my soul will die here. And so I was at this place where I just felt unsatisfied and felt like there was more specifically for me. And one of the things I talk about, whether it be privately or publicly, and I’ll say it here publicly, is that I just genuinely believe that everybody is here for a reason and everybody has their own unique skillsets.

Me and Justine are very different. We’re similar in a lot of ways, but we’re also very different. And I’m very different than other people on my team. And I really believe that if we are able to embrace and just love the depths and the core of who we are and what our unique giftings are and then live into those, that together we actually amplify each other and that there’s so much to go around. But easily we’re like, well, I want to be like this person, I want to be like this person. And I remember just being in that moment, I know who I am and I know what I can offer and I know I can offer something and I don’t think it’s here.

And so very long story short, I quit my job on a whim. That conversation happened middle of September of 2017, and I officially quit October 17th, 2017 and just said… There was a lot of hurt and a lot of, I felt, betrayal that happened along the way that sort of pushed me over the edge, and just sort of having given my life to the hospital and realizing that no one’s got your back, no one really cares about you, that I am truly a number no matter how talented I am. And I remember saying I will never work for anyone again. And there’s actually a picture I found as I started where I was not happy when I left. It was a hard ending. And I remember that fire being under me to be like, nope, this has to work because I’m going to have to pave my own way.

And so I started with childbirth education. That’s what I knew. I also had always said, knock on wood, if I ever lost my nursing license, I’d be a doula because I loved that relationship. And I was like, easy, I’ll start there, that’s how I’ll pay my bills and sort of hold my hands open. There was a very monumental conversation I had with this architect interior designer couple in LA that I will never forget. It was my very first private feedback class and she asked for my slides, which I had put together all these specialty classes for for my hospital and then just was like, I want to do it different. So obviously some of the content’s going to be the same because birth is birth, but put together my classes throughout the course of a couple of months, started a YouTube channel. I had googled and been like, where do pregnant people go? Like? Like, YouTube. And then I saw my competition quote unquote on there and I was like, oh, I have some personality to offer here and some background and some creativity here.

So I decided I was going to put out a few YouTube videos, mostly, selfishly, to be able to send my patients when they asked me the same thing over and over again. How many times can you explain when to go to the hospital? Shoot me in the head. I cannot tell you one more time. So it was totally selfish that I put this YouTube channel together and was like, but these are the questions they’re going to ask me, and so I want to have these videos that I can send them and be like, okay, and then we’ll follow up with questions. So that’s really where YouTube got started. And then I put together my classes, started teaching here and there. By teaching, we’re talking once to build up a client base and find people who are going to pay you and entrust you with that private class. And in LA it’s a little bit more open to that because they’re used to more private things.

Did this feedback class and she actually asked for my slides and I said, no, that’s like my IP, it’s not copy written yet and I don’t really want it floating around. And she looked at me and she goes, let me just tell you something, Sarah, and I needed this so bad, really having been in the dirt and in the mud of uncertainty and overwhelm and starting a business. I always say too, I’ve done multiple business interviews and I’m like, I’m a nurse. Do we take any business classes? And I have my bachelor’s, but we didn’t take one business class in nursing school. I literally know nothing. ROI? Like, what the heck is that? Return on investment? All this business talk, I’m so clueless and still to this day I’m like, I’m a nurse, I’m not a business person.

Mind you, five years in, I can say confidently I’m very much an entrepreneur, but I’ve had to learn and teach myself so much and so I bought a bunch of books and I rented a bunch of books from the library and I just dug my head in and just had my hands open understanding that I truly knew nothing. And so I got to this place with this client and she looked at me and she goes, the magic of this class is you. No one can steal who you are. And she said, lead with who you are and not the knowledge you have. And I remember being like, huh, okay, that’s good advice. And then she said, the best business advice I’ve ever gotten is let your business grow organically. And how many times, Justine, have you heard me say that across the years?

Justine Arechiga:

A million times.

Sarah Lavonne:

Yeah. But I didn’t know what it meant and what it means for me now I totally get is that it’s this idea of flex and flow of have your idea and push towards a goal, but take the one step forward towards it and then hold your hand very loosely to that. Because if you’re not paying attention to the trends or to just the signs of something else or to where your heart’s at or where your passion’s at, what you care about or what other people are telling you in theme, you are going to miss it. It’s easy to lock in. I wanted a brick and mortar. I imagined a physical location in LA that was a center for all things birth and thank God that’s not where we’ve gone. We’ve gone a million other ways. And so there were so many pivotal conversations, relationships and people that were there along the way.

But I will say that getting started not only was scary, but was truly terrifying. I luckily had been debt free for a few years and worked very hard to get there. I went to private school and my family comes from a missionary background, so not money. And so got there but then, so I had a safety net of savings, but I got to zero. And there was a time when somebody gave me a Costco membership for my birthday and I remember being like, this is the gift that keeps on giving because I can go and eat samples. That’s how dire it got. The number of meltdowns on my floor and being like, this makes no sense. I’m looking at my bank account and being like, I just think I’m supposed to be here. I really think I’m supposed to be here, but where are the clients? Where is the money? Where is the impact? Where’s my place? And early on, especially, say, social media even, I was working, I worked probably 12 to 18-hour days consistently for three and a half years.

Justine Arechiga:

Isn’t there a funny meme about that where it’s like, I quit so I can work on my own.

Sarah Lavonne:

Yes.

Justine Arechiga:

So you have to work less, but really when you get your own company, you work so much more.

Sarah Lavonne:

24/7.

Justine Arechiga:

Yeah.

Sarah Lavonne:

Your brain never turns off. If you’re actually talking about what’s going on in your brain as work, it has been truly a skill that I’m still trying to develop to turn off my brain. And so I think that it’s easy to look at people’s success, especially now, and go like, wow, yeah, but not understand the struggle and the number of times I knew where every per diem job was in LA and I got to a place, I remember it was the crossroads where I looked at my bank account and had a full blown meltdown and just was like, God, this makes no sense. I really truly believe in my knower that this is where I’m supposed to be, but nothing is reflecting of that. Where are they? There’s so many families I could help…

And I was thinking at some point my dream was to pay rent with YouTube ad money which, at one point, very, very small period in my life, we actually did. Now that’s not the case, and that took three and a half years of posting a video a week. I edited my own videos for a year and a half, and then someone came along and did it for free for me for a year before I could pay him. So I think recognizing I did not get here alone, and we’ll talk about meeting Justine in a second, but that this has been truly the most excruciating process of my life. And that consistent, what I would say when people are, what does it take to start a business? I’m like, it takes so much grit and so much resilience and so much belief in what you’re called to and sacrifice because luckily for us, COVID came around, which forced us to be able to have a whole lot more free time at home to work.

But to really get all the pieces in play and all the million components it takes to run a business and then start thinking legal and protection and copyright and background and payroll and HR, and all of those things we have in play now, but that has taken a solid five years and that has cost so much money. And you know when they say, I remember reading something early on, if you can make it two years in a business, there’s a chance you’ll make it. Most businesses fail in the first two years, and if you make it to five, you have longevity and you’re not going anywhere. And so here we are five years in, and I get emotional thinking about it because I remember there was so many times thinking back and being like, there’s no way I’m going to make it. There’s no way I’m going to be back in the hospital, which is fine. But for me personally and who I am and what I have to offer the world, I just felt like there was something different for me that I was called to something different.

And so as far as what it takes, it takes a whole lot of conviction and a whole lot of willingness to truly give. And I don’t think everybody had to do that, but I feel like I did. I had to give everything up in my mind, and that was my own personal life, my own mental health, my own boundaries, in my relationships, dating, friendships. I’ve lost a lot of friendships along the way. So it’s not for the faint of heart, but mind you, the reward has been what’s pushed me on. And now to be able to offer jobs and employment to people that are passionate and need an outlet to share who they are with the world and it doesn’t even have to be the world, but with one other in a different format, or impact outcomes in a different way, or whatever it may be, that for me is probably the biggest thrill of where we’re at now. Mind you, Justine, how did you come to be in the Bundle Birth Nurses side?

Justine Arechiga:

So yeah, I have a very similar story of Sarah to the point of I told my husband, my soul’s going to die one day. I realized early on that nurses were the gatekeepers of experiences and I was getting frustrated with patients not being able to choose what they wanted to do in regards to their body and their birth or being discouraged to have preferences or plans. And so I decided I wanted to do childbirth ed and I went to a class, ICEA. ICEA is the class that we really like here at Bundle Birth if you want to get childbirth education under your belt. Went to a class, started an Instagram, like everyone does, for childbirth and labor nurse side, and then quickly found Sarah and just felt really drawn to reach out and connect with her. And then long story short, we met and she let me spend the night at her house the first day we met, and we dreamed up what a change would look like. And we have written on her whiteboard in the office-

Sarah Lavonne:

Having renewed passion and energy for L&D and families with a culture shift in nursing with active RNs who own their care, own underlined.

Justine Arechiga:

And I think we’re doing that.

Sarah Lavonne:

I think so too.

Justine Arechiga:

It’s really cool.

Sarah Lavonne:

Crazy.

Justine Arechiga:

So one wonderful thing about Bundle Birth has been there’s no red tape. The red tape is Sarah and I can pretty much convince her if I really am into it.

Sarah Lavonne:

Sometimes she has to work very hard.

Justine Arechiga:

Yeah. And so Physiologic Birth wasn’t ever supposed to be online, and I melted her from keeping her in person. And now we look at that and we’re like, how could we ever do that still in person and have the same reach? There’s just no way. So yeah, so I was able to join the team.

Sarah Lavonne:

Well, and let me jump in here because I was at a place in doing patient education and really building out and feeling like things were picking up. YouTube was never, even to this day, I don’t consider myself a YouTuber and I have the plaque on the wall. And so that piece for me was just sort of out of a sense internally of when in doubt, just keep posting on YouTube, just keep going on YouTube. And that’s brought me a whole lot of sales that started to help pay my bills and help me not to have to know where all the per diem jobs were in the hospital anymore by that reach and that marketing through YouTube. But I was educating, and then I’d hear these people that were like, I took your class and then I got to the hospital and these nurses were crabby about it. They were anti everything I had to say, and I felt so disempowered.

And mind you, pause, in the hospital, most of my nursing in the hospital, a lot of the education that I was doing was for nurses. As a peer mentor and even as a childbirth educator, we’d have to make sure we were all on the same page. And so that passion of mine had never not existed. And I sort of had envisioned training doulas before I’d ever get in with nurses. Now looking back, I’m like, well, duh, nurses, I am a nurse. That makes sense that we would go that direction. But I had always had this passion and had seen the impact of them showing up to the hospital and feeling just flattened by the nursing team and being like, this is really where the difference can happen, but not really imagining that we would have any influence in that way.

And so when I met Justine, it was like I met someone with the same heart and the same drive, the same passion that gets it that I have been saying to… Like, I was entirely alone at that point on my team, but to anybody that I would talk to about what I’m seeing in the birth world, and it was like this synergy and this kindred spiritness in our viewpoints and our hearts for the world of birth, and I was at a place where I could not take on one more thing by myself, maxed to my eyeballs, which I’ve been now for years. And we keep building out ways to try to free me up. And now I’m feeling like I work out and I make coffee in the morning and I meditate, and I have some routines that I’ve never had before in the last five years, actually probably in my life. But we had met and it was this connection piece. And so when I’m looking for someone, you stalked me and got into my corner, but I really believe that everyone has something to offer this space.

And it’s a matter of what I’m learning as CEO now is sort of this resource management and resource stewardship of those that I have around me and really learning your staff and learning what they’re good at and not trying to force something that they’re not good at. And if they’re not good at it, somebody else is. And I really think that that’s been a way that we’ve been able to grow, really seeing potential and seeing passion and knowing that I’m also an extrovert and that energy wise, I could never do it alone.

And I had been building this practice of Physiologic Birth as a doula or a birth coach, which I call myself a birth coach, not a doula publicly for legal reasons, and I was just like, there’s a lot that’s happening that I’m seeing now that my hands are tied as a nurse. I can’t up the pit, I can’t call the doctor. I can’t talk them into an AROM, which I was used to medical management of care. Instead, this physiology focus and also learning what patients wanted and how empowering it feels, even just approaching from a physiology perspective, done all this reading and training and had developed this practice that I’m like, this could shift nursing and it really is probably a piece of what was needed. And then we found CMQCC and their guidelines for supporting a vaginal birth, and it was like, oh, well, there’s actually research that proves that this is a way to help impact outcomes.

So that’s where Physiologic Birth started, and that was sort of our first in of a way to work together practically. Because from a business perspective, it’s hard to pay you for Instagram as a hobby, but to pay you for actual work or leading to, now Instagram is very much a part of your job and you do get paid for that, but back in the day it was like, but where are we sending them to actually build revenue so that I could pay you to be a part of this company? And so that was a slow process, but eventually we got there.

Justine Arechiga:

Yes. I think it was October, 2020, I think? This will be three years.

Sarah Lavonne:

That was when you started.

Justine Arechiga:

Became official. Yeah.

Sarah Lavonne:

Yeah, became official.

Justine Arechiga:

Yeah, because we were just done with filming Foundations for Mentorship. And so that leads us to our mentorship history, which was-

Sarah Lavonne:

Yikes.

Justine Arechiga:

So I was, like Sarah said, we were trying to find my place and I had just had Nathaniel and COVID had hit, and you were in Minnesota and I was here in postpartum world and we were meeting regularly to what are we going to do? And you came up with this idea of these Nurses Need Doulas, and it just-

Sarah Lavonne:

That’s how it started.

Justine Arechiga:

Trickled.

Sarah Lavonne:

Well, I will say publicly that I was at a place where I felt like we were at a crossroads in business where I had focused so much on the patient side. We had this training, but we didn’t know what to do with it. It was wildly successful for a first training, but where do we go next? And there’s so much need, but how do we package it in a way that really connects with people? And we had said even before the Nurses Need Doulas… Nurses Need Doulas was, what, it landed for me in my head. And that does happen to me a good amount where I’ll be mulling, mulling, mulling, mulling, input, input, input, and then bam, I see it. And the vision is there. That’s, I think, the job of a CEO, and I think also what has helped our organization, because you do need a visionary in an organization.

So eventually we saw it, but we had said, remember we talked about a nursing residency, just how nurses are trained is not standardized, it’s all over the place. Some people get six months, some people get two weeks and everything in between. On average, probably about 16 weeks is on average. But is that enough? No. People are coming out so not empowered and their preceptorship is all over the place. There’s very little standardization for that. And so what would we have wanted was really where it started. And ultimately I remember thinking we need a doula, and what do I do for my clients? I empower them, I build confidence, I help fill in knowledge gaps along the way, and I build them up and I provide a safe environment for learning that they can just be present in their bodies and in their experience, and then also totally involved in the process and then become stronger and better because of it. And so in adapting that sort of mindset to it, that’s sort of where Mentorship was birthed from.

Justine Arechiga:

I was thinking too, we were talking to some people this weekend again at the leadership conference for AWHONN and some experienced nurses were talking about how there’s been a lost art to labor and birth in general. And I think that’s due to our shortened orientations and then also our increase in acuity of our patients. And so of course we’re going to lose that art to birth and labor, and a lot of Mentorship does do that. And it brings you back to that and teaches you that, which I love.

Sarah Lavonne:

I’m also going to add, I think that systems-wide, I think there’s a huge focus on money, which I get. I mean, I’m a for-profit organization. I need money to run this place and hire and build out programs and pay people to help. We are actually currently at a limit as far as growth until we figure out some new ways to use our resources. And by resources, meaning hire help, because it does limit you. So I want to give lots of grace and understanding to the hospital system, but we also have to understand that they are an organization, as much as many are nonprofit, money is the bottom line. And so how do they save money is on staffing and on new information. We need more data on this so let me throw an audit at you. Let me give you one more thing to do without removing and creating space for you to hold space for your patients. That’s a whole nother episode, I think. We’ve said that so many times. We should go through and be like, Ooh, that’s an episode.

Justine Arechiga:

Right. That’s so true. So Mentorship, we decided to sell before we created it. Don’t do that, people.

Sarah Lavonne:

Yes, don’t do it. It is a model. I had done it through a birth coaching program that I wrote for clients. It’s an eight session process where I had one client that it was like, all right, before the next session, I got to have session two ready for you. And so I knew it could work, but that piece… So what we did was we put together the main topics of what we would want to learn as new nurses and everything from, I’m going to go through it really fast, foundations, which is everything you need to know before you actually get started, therapeutic communication, all the baseline stuff, patient education, coping with labor, shared decision-making, physiologic birth, bereavement, breastfeeding, trauma-informed care, all the scary stuff, so high-risk nursing, fetal monitoring, baby or newborn, high-risk newborn, and then wrap up with all the things including launch and leading change on your unit.

So those are the modules or the classes that you get through our Mentorship Program. But if you think about it, we have said, and we will continue to say, because I just think it’s the funniest thing that when we planned it, we’re like, yeah, a 50-minute class for each one, whereas there’s nothing that’s 50 minutes. There are modules that are 50 minutes. Like, how do you do bereavement-

Justine Arechiga:

Yeah, if you’ve taken Mentorship, you’re laughing right now.

Sarah Lavonne:

Right.

Justine Arechiga:

Because it’s not.

Sarah Lavonne:

There’s a 185 modules through the whole process, and the whole process, I believe, is a dream come true for us in our gift to new nurses and even experienced nurses. But we were like, yeah, we can knock it out in here. And I remember looking at you and being like, Justine, this will be the hardest year of our lives. If we do this and commit to it, this will be the hardest year of our lives, but we just have to stick to it. And if we commit, we have to, and then what we did was we launched it, we sold it without having any content written or filmed or put together.

Justine Arechiga:

Nothing.

Sarah Lavonne:

And by the time it started a month later, we had to have a whole new class written, edited, filmed, edited of that with a workbook. I think our shortest workbook is probably 14 pages, but we have 40-page workbooks that go along with it that supplement your learning. And then on the site, all the logistics ready to go every single month for a year. I look at the program, I’m like, this program should have taken us five to six years to put together and we did it in a year. Thanks to COVID, to be honest, because we were also all at home and there was no distraction of social life, which would’ve been my downfall. But that was truly the hardest year of our lives and to date in business, the hardest year for me.

Justine Arechiga:

And I remember Foundations and I remember I wrote the first what I thought was the vision for the first class, and you lovingly ripped it apart. The first time I remember getting off, do you remember that? I remember getting off the call and just crying.

Sarah Lavonne:

No. No.

Justine Arechiga:

Not in a bad way. Just overwhelmed, an overwhelmed cry of but we have to film this tomorrow. It’s terrible.

Sarah Lavonne:

It wasn’t terrible.

Justine Arechiga:

So it was that pressure that whole time, but man, beauty came out of it. And like you said, it’s really great. It’s everything we wanted.

Sarah Lavonne:

Well, and for me, if we’re going to film something and put something out into the world and actually charge money for it, there has to be overwhelming value. And that’s why they got so long and why we did not sleep for an entire year and both gained 30 pounds.

Justine Arechiga:

More than that. For me.

Sarah Lavonne:

I don’t actually know, probably 35, 40. We look very different from beginning to end.

Justine Arechiga:

Very different.

Sarah Lavonne:

But that to me was sort of a piece of the puzzle that it was survival mode and we knew there was a finish line, but if we’re going to do it, we’re going to do it right. I’m going to do breastfeeding right. You’re going to get closeups of a nipple with manual expression, or we’re going to call in the Yale MD JD attorney to teach shared decision-making from a legal perspective, or we’re going to call in the best perinatal therapist to teach you trauma-informed care that’s been doing it for a long time. And so that required us to travel, it required us not to sleep, it required… Remember the meltdown that I had for scary stuff?

Justine Arechiga:

No. Well, yeah, but remember even the breastfeeding workbook up north like at midnight.

Sarah Lavonne:

Oh, my God. Yes. And it being launched at midnight and us sitting in our beds. I have a picture of it actually of us sitting in our beds and being like, oh boy, this is not even close to being done.

Justine Arechiga:

It was-

Sarah Lavonne:

I think that was the only, but I will say that was the only one we pushed out like six hours and normally it launched at midnight and we launched at 8:00 AM or something.

Justine Arechiga:

I do feel like the cohort that was there with us, shout out to our MVPs, our OGs, I feel like they didn’t really know how on the wire it was. I feel like it was very seamless.

Sarah Lavonne:

Yeah. The experience I’m sure was seamless, but for us, we about died the whole year. So anyway, the moral of the story truly is that that was Justine’s in, that once we had that project to work on together, it was like, oh, now there’s a role here for you, and now there could be income from this that could pay you a salary. And so we brought you on October, 2020 and have never looked back and you’re going to die here. Okay?

Justine Arechiga:

Die. Die here. Okay, so then Mentorship ended and we dreamed up Cancun, but I can’t remember, did we dream up Cancun after we ended or during?

Sarah Lavonne:

I think it was during. I’ve always said I wish nursing conferences were somewhere really cool so I could have the excuse to travel somewhere really amazing. But when I got my vacation club, so that’s sort of how it started. I have this vacation club, which by the way, if anyone wants to use it, you can use my vacation club. I get a free night and you get a free night or something. I don’t remember how it works, but either way, you can reach out and I’ll let you know the information on it. And so I got this vacation club that was to all these all-inclusives and I dreamt of a babymoon. That’s how it started and I was like, maybe I’ll do a childbirth class with couples and they can get their babymoon and their childbirth ed and help them connect and I can create this whole experience.

And then that very quickly kind of dwindled in terms of people, if they’re going to go on a babymoon, they want to choose where they want to go and they don’t want to do childbirth ed for it. They could watch my class online while they’re in their room at night. And so instead it was like, well, but nurses… And once we had this nursing community that was growing and engaged and we started talking about it, we’re like, shoot, maybe we could do this. And up until then, everything was online. And our dream is not to not be in person, but logistically and from a business perspective, it is 500 times harder to do things in person than it is online. And especially through planning Cancun, oh my God, I’ve never worked harder on anything. We will weep at the end of it in gratitude that we were able to pull it off because it’s a lot to do something in person.

But also, sort of having established Physiologic Birth, having established this beautiful immense program that is Mentorship, it’s like what else is there? And every time I taught Physiologic Birth, I had this internal guilt that it wasn’t enough to really do it justice. And so there’s this coping side that one, we’re not taught as nurses, we’re taught the basics and we’ll build on the basics in Cancun, but also that if your patient isn’t coping, the physiology won’t work the same, that it all comes down to psyche and an ability to also just understand along the way what might help you and pay attention to your sensations, et cetera. And so I’m so excited for this new content that is brewing and being put together as we speak for Cancun.

And then also with the idea that through the pandemic and everything that we’ve done, one of the things that we talk about a lot internally is that we want to be love and light to you. And I hope you feel that. I hope you sense that in everything that we do. I hope that you feel grace also with an added truth. We say grace and truth a lot, that there’s this, you work hard and we love you and you’re doing your best and just do your best, it doesn’t have to be perfect. And also the truth of, but this isn’t okay and we need to change. And this particular practice is how you’re going to do it in a very loving, safe environment.

And so through the pandemic, realizing how brutal it’s been for everyone, and nursing is brutal regardless and then you add a pandemic onto it, and also there’s limited resources in your hospitals and your poor managers have hundreds of nurses to care for. And so really the goal of Cancun being this idea of let’s have a week to just make you and remind you of how special you are. And really our goal for you to walk away from Cancun is to feel not only equipped at the bedside with such new invigorating hands-on experiential learning, but also time to rest and connect and then also walk away going like, whoa, somebody really does care. Somebody really is cheering me on so that when you go back and maybe you are feeling alone or maybe you are feeling disempowered or fill in the blank however you’re feeling, a little burnt out, that you can go, wait, but there’s this whole beautiful community of nurses that are with me, for me, and actually, there’s evidence to prove.

And that’s really, to be very candid, Cancun, I’m not expecting to make a profit. I intend to spend every dime that’s brought in for that back into you. And obviously I need to pay my staff to be there so that is a part of it. But I’m not trying to make money. This isn’t a revenue producer for us. This is actually a break even. And so with that being understood that the entire point is to help you feel special and it to feel like, okay, someone cares and I can keep going.

And so all of that being said, I think culturally what has happened over the years is this identity has been built and it’s been fun to put words onto that and talk about our values, talk about what’s important, and for me to be able to look back on the last five years and see the team built, we now have nine employees. There’s five mentors of those. I have an on staff backup nurse, shout out to Sarah who’s just been the most amazing backup birth coach for me. She occasionally takes her own clients and backs me up to allow me to have clients along the way. And we’re learning all the time what that looks like, and we’re holding our hands open to letting the business grow organically of what are the needs of today with the goal of just filling in the gaps of the system, and ultimately what’s really become very clear is that, and we’ve said this on the very first episode, that your care that you give has the potential for really shifting the future of our world. And so we want to be a part of that in supporting you to be your best.

And then also not forgetting families, that a part of what we do is care for families and empower families and make sure they’re on the same page with you and help set them up to be easier on you, to be honest. Because we all know what it’s like when you have a really well educated patient, you can just build off of everything they know and you’re all speaking the same language. So what I dream of for the future is really we’ve said we want Bundle Birth to be a household name, but the standardization across the board where hospital birth doesn’t have to be scary. It can be empowering and that we can confidently send people to the hospital from the Bundle Birth side and say, there are Bundle Birth nurses there that are going to receive you and treat you with dignity and respect and follow the process of shared decision-making and that are equipped to offer the best care possible.

Justine Arechiga:

And that’s happening. Slowly but surely, that’s happening. I see that change. So one of my last questions for you, Sarah, is what would you say to the nurse that’s listening to this like, I want to work for them?

Sarah Lavonne:

For us?

Justine Arechiga:

Yeah.

Sarah Lavonne:

Think about where you fit in your own gifts and really do the deep dive and do the internal journey. One of the things that came up at this AWHONN conference when we as a team kept talking about what is leadership and what does the change look like and what’s lacking? And I think what just keeps coming out is these soft skills, what we’re calling them, the therapeutic communication, the stuff that’s harder to learn. And so I’m looking for somebody that embodies the values that we truly live in our everyday life, in our every interaction. This isn’t just a Bundle Birth thing, that we live the value that everybody’s life matters and everybody has something to contribute, and we carry ourselves in a way in our regular everyday life. So I would look for somebody who is developing their own soft skills that represents the values of a Bundle Birth nurse, and that has done the internal work enough to know where you fit or where you believe you fit.

And part of our jobs as leaders in this industry, I would say, is to also help you develop those skills and help you recognize, I’m seeing this in you, and you go, whoa, that’s helpful information, that’s mentorship, right? And so know what you’re passionate about, where you uniquely fit, and then figure out a way to make yourself fit here. And truly, we have people pitch us all the time of like, I want to do this for you, and I may not always say yes, sometimes I do, Justine’s the perfect example, but it has to fit with the mission and where we’re going, and that doesn’t mean that you don’t belong here. I believe everyone belongs here in one way or another, but on the team, especially as a small team, my job is to be protective of the culture and protective of and stewarding my time, Justine’s time and the mission. It needs to be aligned. And so if you think you have something that aligns here, put together a pitch, come prepared, make it look pretty, because I do judge, and that is a value of mine, to be totally candid.

Justine Arechiga:

Pretty presentations.

Sarah Lavonne:

Pretty presentations, there’s Canva, guys. Canva is everything. It’s very easy in Canva. And we expect quality. I have high expectations for what we put out, and I hope you’ve seen that too. And so it doesn’t have to be perfect, but that you’ve actually tried, and email us that you have an idea for us and we’ll listen. We may say yes, we may say no. We may say not now, but this organization is building and growing, and I think one of the things that starting this new year, I’m like, it’s time to keep hiring. Mind you, that also includes continuing to sell and continuing to have the money to pay people because that is also a value of mine, that we pay people for their time. We think that your time is valuable and that who you are is valuable, and so it’s important to me that you’re paid and compensated for that. So that was a long-winded answer, but did that answer it enough for you? Do you agree that that’s what I was going to say? Was that what you anticipated me saying?

Justine Arechiga:

Yeah. Yeah. I anticipated that. And maybe just look, even when you said deep dive, deep dive of our company, and if you see something that you’re like, they don’t have this, and they could really use this, I don’t know what this is, but be creative and be like, I want to fill this need. We had someone recently come to us and she is going to try to fill a need, which is exciting.

Sarah Lavonne:

And we’re excited about it. So I really believe that there is a place for everyone here and that everyone holds value in your own gifts and skills. And obviously I’m trying to manage that. I can’t hire 50,000 of you, but there’s potential and we are growing.

Justine Arechiga:

Yes. If you have any other questions based on our history or our company, reach out. Email me. We can always do a second part of this episode. But we do want you to know who we are and what we do, and it’s just hard to know exactly what your questions would be. But I hope this is a good little intro about who are these people and what is this company and what do you do and our hearts and mission. And I think, Sarah, you really wrapped that up nicely. Thanks for spending your time with us during this episode of Happy Hour with Bundle Birth Nurses. If you like what you heard, it helps us. If you subscribe, great. Leave a raving review and share this episode with a friend. If you want more from us, head to bundlebirthnurses.com or follow us on Instagram or TikTok.

Sarah Lavonne:

Now it’s your turn to go and do that deep dive into who you are and what are your gifts and what are you passionate about and what about nursing do you love? If you’re not a nurse, what about life and birth do you love? And really identify those needs and think about where you fit in this culture change that we keep talking about, or into the world of birth, into your own life, and how do you show up better in your world to continue to make a difference to those around you? We’ll see you next time.