Babies in Bloom simply loves families. It is a family-owned business dedicated to the education and support of growing families. Owner, Rochelle McLean, simply loves babies, and all things birth-related. She began working with families and babies more than 20 years ago, and has made her passion a career since 1999. She strives to help each family meet their goals during pregnancy, birth and beyond, lending support and encouragement every step of the way.
When I was a child, I was always fascinated by birth. At the age of 10, while my friends dreamed of becoming princesses and ballet dancers, I announced that I wanted to be an obstetrician when I grew up. I attended my first birth when I was 17, supporting my cousin and her husband while she gave birth to their daughter. That wondrous moment galvanized my decision to pursue a career in medicine and birth. The license plate on my car even read OBGYN2B and that is the path I focused on in high school and college … until I decided to marry my best friend who happened to be entering a career of military service.
I spent the next several years moving around the country with him, working in early childhood education, but always felt that something was missing. The birth of my own two children reawakened my desire to work in the birth field. It allowed me to realize that pregnancy and childbirth was where I was meant to be. I treasured every moment of my pregnancies and read voraciously. When my friends’ husbands were deployed, they asked me to be there when their babies were born. When my children were old enough, I returned to school.
While in nursing school, I took a doula training course thinking it would help me be a better labor and delivery nurse. Instead I found a name for the role I had assumed with so many friends and family members. Becoming a certified childbirth educator and lactation consultant allowed me to expand my knowledge and ability to support pregnant women and families. I knew that this is what I was supposed to do and finally felt complete.
The best part of my chosen career is that it allows me to do something I enjoy without compromising the most important job I have – that of wife, mother, daughter, sister and friend. Working with pregnant and new families isn’t my career, it is my passion. I enjoy being able to meet people and help them navigate the transition to parenthood. I feel so blessed to be able to do what I like and love what I do!
Why did we open a store?
Through the years, clients and students frequently asked me, “Where can you buy a …?” or, “How do you use a …?” I envisioned a place where people could come in and take a class or, find the perfect product to meet their needs during pregnancy and the first year of their baby’s life. Not an overwhelmingly huge store with aisles and aisles of stuff, but a place where you could pull up a chair and ask someone questions. A place where someone would help you choose the right items for you and then show you how to use them. My intention is that Babies in Bloom embodies that dream.
A Birth Center is Born
I have been teaching childbirth preparation classes in North San Diego County for more than 10 years. When educating students about their options for birth, we would talk about hospital and home, doctors and midwives. Many parents were interested in birth centers, but did not want to travel to downtown San Diego or Orange County to give birth.
At a community event, I was speaking with a midwife friend, telling her my frustration about the lack of birth centers in North County. "Why don't you open one?" I giggled at her suggestion. When I went home and shared the conversation with my husband, he said, "You should." Thus the seed was planted and one year later, we are thrilled to have opened the first Birth Center in North San Diego County. Our hope is that one day there will be as many birth centers as needed for all of the women to have the choice to deliver where, how and with whom they desire.
Our Birth Assistants
In addition to your midwife, you will be attended by a birth assistant while at the birth center. To help you get to know them, we asked the following questions:
- What is your professional background?
- What's one thing you wished all new moms new before their baby arrived?
- What's something about you that clients/people would be surprised to know?
Alison has been an RN in a level 3 NICU ever since graduating from nursing school in 1999. Babies in Bloom is her first out of hospital experience and she is loving it! In 2016, she completed her lactation consultant program and earned the IBCLC credential. She wishes all moms knew to get breastfeeding education before birth and support afterwards. "You won't always have struggles and need help, but many times you will. It's important to have the support of an IBCLC and knowledge base when things start to get hard. And to follow that, things WILL get easier." People might be surprised to know that she lived in Romania for two years and is fluent in Romanian. Also, her older two children are adopted.
Courtney graduated form Saddleback College after getting a bachelors degree in Ecology from UCSD. She went straight into labor and delivery at Mission Hospital after graduation and has been there for 8.5 years. She decided to be a part of the BiB team because she believes pregnancy and childbirth are not a disease and should not be treated as such. Her advice to moms is to "Trust your gut. Don't worry about what everyone else does, just do whats best for you and your family. You are going to make mistakes and do things you said you would never do when you are a parent. It's okay. Be forgiving of yourself and others." She started going "silver" at 16 years old. She wanted to be a Marine Biologist when she grew up. She earned her scuba diving certification in Mooloolaba, Australia when she was 17 and dived parts of the Great Barrier Reef.
Kathleen received her Bachelor of Science in Nursing from the University of Pennsylvania. Upon graduation, she entered the military and was stationed at the Naval Medical Center in San Diego. There, she was lucky to be assigned to postpartum and, later, the neonatal intensive care unit. After completing four years military service, she returned to NMCSD as a civilian and continued working in the nursery and NICU for the next 11 years before joining the Babies in Bloom family. Kathleen wishes all new moms knew that there is no one right way. Every baby is different and every family is different. You will receive plenty of advice, solicited and unsolicited, and it will all differ, but only you can determine what works best for you, your baby, and your family. Once you've done that, you can just smile and nod, then continue doing it your way! People would be surprised to know that she is a part time crazy cat lady. She has one cat of her own, but often foster litters of kittens for the San Diego Humane Society.
Rebecca received her bachelors degree in health sciences from UC Santa Cruz in 2010 followed by a bachelors of nursing from CSU San Marcos in 2013. She worked for 2 years as a medical-surgical nurse with an emphasis on infectious disease before cross training to Labor and Delivery where her true passion lies. She has also received doula training through a DONA approved training course. She currently works as a perinatal RN at UCSD Medical Center but is drawn to the out of hospital birth experience and is thrilled to have also found a home at Babies in Bloom Birth Center. Rebecca wishes that all moms knew how inherently strong and capable they are, to trust their intuition, and to not be afraid to ask for help. In addition to all things pregnancy and birth related, Rebecca has a passion for rock climbing and the opportunities it provides to push the boundaries of her comfort zone. This includes the journey back to health and wellness after sustaining a severe climbing injury which has been filled with triumph and enlightenment.
Our Boutique Staff
Affectionately known as the 'Bloom Girls', our retail team is here to provide you with the education and assistance you need to select the products and classes that are best for you.
With a wide range of knowledge and experience (including a lactation consultant, a doula, a CPST and a nanny), the Bloom Girls are happy to answer your questions and provide you with exemplary customer service.