Bringing Information and Resources to Houston is an amazing event held each year to educate pregnant women and families in a free, fun, and exciting way!  As you arrive, you receive a free goodie bag with pamphlets, coupons, and freebies.  Next, you must decide which of the speaker sessions you'd like to attend.  There are multiple rooms where a variety of informational lectures/talks/demonstrations/films take place.  You can learn about nutrition, education, babywearing, breastfeeding, health concerns, and so much more!  

Then there are the vendors!! So many wonderful vendors come from all over Houston and the surrounding areas to offer their services.  Some vendors have supplies you can buy right at their booths, others offer discounts for when you visit their store later.  Many vendors have freebies, giveaways and raffles, and baby stuff for you to try out.  I'll be honest - the vendors are personally my favorite part of the B.I.R.T.H. fair ;-)

At Noon, we celebrate the physicians in the community who help support healthier mother & baby maternity care.  Following the awards, there is a fashion show!  The models are families from the community wearing clothing from various local stores as well as cloth diaper apparel and sometimes babywearing gear.  The children have such a great time being a part of the fashion show!  You can tell they know they're doing something very important!

Oh, and did I mention that all of the B.I.R.T.H. Fair events are FREE!?!  Yup!  100% FREE!!  So if you are pregnant, new mama, old mama, small family, large family, or even just thinking about having a family, this fair is for YOU!  Come out and meet the members in your birthing community!  It is a wonderful time to find the support you need for your pregnancy, babies, and children of all ages!  Also, don't forget to stop by and see me at the Music Garden booth - I'll be helping out there this year!

Click here for a detailed list of the Special Speaker Sessions: diapers, dads, & doulas, vaccines & VBACs, waterbirth, healthcare options, postpartum disorders, & education...there is something for everyone!


"Got a babywearing breakdown? Come by the BIRTH Fair's Sling Station, open 1 p.m. to 4 p.m., Saturday, October 6, 2012. Local babywearing "technicians" will provide free, one-on-one baby carrier advice and tune-ups. Improve the fit of your existing carrier, learn a new technique or carry, get a recommendation, or ask a question!

New to babywearing? Please join Angelique Geehan and Mary Puryear Potee at 11 a.m. for "Baby Carriers and Slings 101." This orientation will cover the benefits of using cloth slings, major types of carriers, how to select a good carrier for your family (including basic safety points), and where to find help as your family's babywearing needs change.

Please feel free to spread the word!" -  from my friend's Facebook page :-)

Extras! - This is a 3 day event!

Special Speakers Series

Friday, October 5, 2012

United Way - 50 Waugh Dr. - Houston

9:00 am to 12:00 pm - CPR - FREE - register at 
9:00 am to 9:45 am - Circumcision
9:45 am to 10:30 am - Placenta Encapsulation
10:30 am to 11:15 am - Abdominal Scar healing
11:15 am to 12:00 pm - Acupuncture

Sunday, October 7, 2012 
Haven Center
St. Stephen's Episcopal Church - 1827 W. Alabama

1:00 pm to 3:00 pm - Birth Trauma & Your Baby's Brain - Pauline Dillard
3:00 pm to 5:00 pm - The Birth of a Father - Patrick Houser
If you are interested in learning more about ZumBellybolli, this is a great opportunity!  Karen Hatch is offering a 2 part workshop that will go in depth about what is ZumBellybolli and how to refine techniques to get the best workout while protecting your body.
~This repost is from November 19th, 2009 and was first found on my old blog which can be found here

~The next National Wear Red Day will be on February 3rd, 2012.

Many people don't know this about me but I have an extra hole in my heart!!  Today is the anniversary of the day I became whole-hearted on November 19th, 2007.  A tiny, umbrella shaped device was placed in my heart to cover the hole and my life was changed immediately.  Last February (Heart Awareness month), I wrote the letter below about my experience so that I could share my story online for national Wear Red Day (2/05/10 next year).

February 3rd, 2009

I grew up thinking I wasn't very good at sports, I was a bit lazy, and I especially hated running. In college, I started having more regular chest pains, especially after exercising. I tried swimming and got out of breath easily. Many different doctors had many different explanations: exercise-induced asthma, old chest injuries, etc. I just learned what I could and couldn't do and got on with life. 

As I got married, moved, bought a house, landed a career, and moved on into the "adult world", I started having more chest pains, usually with stress. With my new adult life came health insurance so I insisted that I find a doctor who could tell me why my chest ached, sometimes so severely it would cause me to gasp in pain. We wanted to start a family but I refused to do so until I knew I was healthy. A simple EKG revealed that something abnormal was going on in my heart. Further testing was required, revealing symptoms that the doctors were very concerned about. I received a phone call that brought my life to a stand-still: the doctors let me know that my heart could have a serious condition that would require surgery very soon but we would do an MRI for more details to narrow down the problem. Upon hearing that something was seriously wrong with my heart, the one organ that seems so vital to our lives and well-being, I became very scared. I was only 26! How could I have a heart defect!? 

Fortunately, the MRI revealed the lesser of the heart defect/disease evils - I had an Atrial Septum Defect - something normally detected at birth (blue babies), but somehow mine was lying hidden until now. This hole in my heart was causing a recirculation of blood, not allowing all of the much needed oxygen to make its way to the rest of my body - hence the many life-long symptoms I had displayed: easily tiring, easily running out of breath, 2 flights of stairs feeling like 4, and oddly -clubbing in my fingernails. My whole life I thought I wasn't very good at sports and that I was lazy - to find out my body had simply had to work around the lack of oxygen was sort of a relief in a weird way.

Ok - now what? We repair my heart as soon as possible. Thanks to modern medicine & a terrific surgeon, my chest was not cracked open (perhaps it was best to wait out those 26 years!) and the almost quarter-sized hole was repaired intravenously, with teeny cameras and tools, in an out-patient procedure and one miserable night in the hospital (I wasn't allowed to turn over and then stand up for HOURS afterwards).

In only a couple of months, my body had quickly responded to being whole-hearted, allowing me to breathe easier (stairs aren't so bad!) and work out harder in the gym - even the fingernail clubbing went away. I came out on the positive end of a heart problem, very lucky indeed!! I am somewhat of a "novelty" as my cardiologist said; my health profile (age, weight, gender, etc) doesn't fit this type of diagnosis very often so he is keen on keeping tabs on how my heart progresses over the years. My husband and I try to be more health-conscious, attempting to eat better and work out more. We are now expecting our first baby and are very happy to know that everything is going well and so far, my heart is still doing great. 

~Franny Zollinger
age 28

11/19/09 - Added note - my heart was GREAT for the pregnancy!  My cardiologist said everything was fine and I shouldn't have anything to worry about. 

11/19/11 - I still have an echo done on my heart and visit the cardiologist once a year.  Everything is still going great!

Learn more:
I have always enjoyed ballroom dancing, going for hikes, riding my bicycle, swimming, doing yoga, ultimate frisbee and various other types of fun exercises.  Living in Houston has really changed my ways, however, and not for the good!  It is so hot and humid here that I am in no mood to go outdoors to enjoy my favorite activities.  So, I am trying really hard to get into working out indoors.  

We are members of the YMCA and love taking Riley there for swim lessons in the summertime and were really happy when he started enjoying going to the day care they provide.  I like going to the classes but am really bad at being committed to a schedule, which means I don't work out nearly enough.  Occasionally I would workout on the elliptical/stair stepper hybrid machine for 20-30 mins, but it is not my favorite type of workout. Sometimes I would go to the yoga classes, and then I discovered Nia and really started to enjoy working out again.

What is Nia?  It is a beautiful dance workout that also involves martial arts & yoga.  It is an expressive workout that stimulates your mind, rejuvenates the soul, and promotes healing for your entire body.  It is a low-impact workout that allows you to choose your level, from one to three, based on your own body's abilities.  Most days I would push myself for level three, working up a sweat and having sore muscles the next day.  Other times I would enjoy a more relaxed level one, letting the class offer my body & mind a chance to enjoy the music and work on flexibility and reconnecting with who I am.  It is a great source for creative outlet and imagination, encouraging you to find your own dance style based on the simple moves offered by our amazing instructor.

Then, I started going to Zumba, a high-paced Latin dance workout, which fit into my schedule better.  This week, I was surprised to find out that my class has morphed into a new class, one that I think will actually help me to be committed to a regular workout routine: Z-BellyBolli.

What in the world is Z-BellyBolli?  Honestly, I'm still not entirely sure I know what it is! I can tell you this: it is fun, it kicks my butt, and I leave class feeling really good!!  I asked the instructor if she could offer more information on the class and this is what she gave me:
Release your "inner Shakira"
Shimmy and Shake the pounds away
Benefit from the most targeted arm and ab-work you can get while having fun!
Not only will you feel sexy, sassy, & spicy, but it "will improve your posture, your flexibility, your endurance and of course your sex appeal and confidence!"  This class incoporates Zumba, Belly dancing, and Bollywood dancing.  And my favorite part - we are encouraged to wear coin hip belts to add to the excitement!  I am loving it!  I am convinced that after a few months of this class, I will be on the right track for a healthier, happier me.
My hip scarf