Wednesday, December 30, 2009

Birth in the media

At one time, when birth was taken out of the home and moved into the hospital, no one in our society actually saw birth. When childbirth classes started up and we moved into the more informational age, expecting couples might see a handful of births during their pregnancy in their childbirth classes. Now days, with reality t.v. and Health channels, etc. anyone that wants to see births can. However, is what they are seeing really telling them about Birth?

So many of these shows only follow complicated crazy births, where everything is an emergency. Even when thy 'try' to follow what might appear to be normal births, they all seem to be treated as an emergency waiting to happen. Very rarely do we get to see a really good, truly NORMAL birth.

A Normal birth that I am talking about is a very low intervention, vaginal birth. Where the mother is not induced and goes into labor on her own. She works with her labor, she trusts in her body and her baby, the birth unfolds and happens with support and help. The birth is not being directed by someone else outside herself telling her what to do and when. Some of these births can and do occasionally happen at hospitals. More often these types of normal births take place at birthing centers or at homes. Every once in a while I will happen upon a nice, fairly normal birth on one of the standard birth shows, however usually it is all about how scary we can make even normal things seem, by adding voice overs to what is being shown on screen. I have had a Labor & Delivery nurse tell me that the shows even scare her, when she knows that what they are saying in the voice over, and what they are showing on the screen are inconsistent, and do not show how things really are.

It seems that most of the channels out today that show birth shows, if they decide to show normal birth shows, call them by some sort of name that often carries a slightly negative connotation. Titles like, "Unconventional Birth" are tacked on to a show about women choosing to have unmedicated, or out of hospital births. The show was really good, but why the title? It seems that they have to have something a little edgy or they think the vast majority of people wouldn't watch it. One of the best shows I have seen that consistently shows normal births is, the Miami Birth Center - about a Midwife at a freestanding birth center, and they have really wonderful births. However, I don't know if this one is still airing, and last I heard it was on at 4 am or some other crazy time in the middle of the night, when very few people would be watching.

The channels, it seems, would rather show some crazy show where all the births are emergencies, most are surgical deliveries, and even if someone 'tries' to deliver naturally, they often fail in that attempt. Having been induced or having labor augmented artificially with drugs, the women are strapped into beds, and can't handle the intense drug induced contractions, and ask for drugs to deal with the pain. All of these interventions often lead to failure to progress, or fetal distress, and many women end up with cesarean sections. Sadly, this is in fact the way modern birth often plays out.

Women are afraid of birth. They hear the stories from their friends, about birth today, and they hear the stories from their mothers and grandmothers about birth in yester-year when birth was in fact pretty scary, mom's were dropped off at the door, drugged and tied down. They often didn't see their baby until a day or two after birth. This is the legacy we've provided for our sisters and our daughters... and now, to add to it, they can tun on the t.v. and right in the middle of their own living room, they can watch emergency births with all the fear mongering that the producers intended. No wonder most mom's are afraid of birth.

Today I read about a group who is trying to get a petition signed to encourage a station to produce and air a show about positive Normal births. If you are interested, check out the link and add your signature. Pass it on to your friends. Perhaps if we can get information about positive birth, less moms will go into the birth process so full of fear.

Tuesday, December 1, 2009

This is why I do what I do...

I read this blog post and felt like this doula & mother, puts into words quite nicely why we feel so passionate about birth and why we want to share this with others.

Check out her blog.

Thursday, November 5, 2009

Birth Up Close

An amazing look at birth through a sequence of photo's by birth photographer and doula Patti Ramos.

Sunday, September 20, 2009

Blessings for Birth

Something that has become a new thing to do for a pregnant woman is to hold a 'Blessingway' in place of a baby shower. Traditionally a "Blessingway" was a Navajo Ritual Ceremony that as very special. Today it is more often than not an extension of a baby shower, or is just a baby shower by another name, without giving thought to the actual Special/Spiritual Ceremony that it was meant to be.

In another blog she wrote about "Blessingway's" and about special blessings that were given by and to LDS women in the earlier years of the Church History.

In her Blog Rixa tells a bit of how it was sort of done away with in the mid 1900's. I wonder if some of this wasn't in part because Birth in general was being taken out of Women's hands, and lives, and was increasingly moved into the Hospital setting, where women were shut away for birth, adn taken away from their Sisters, and society... as such the Blessing of Women By other Women became a thing of the past as well.
Just my thoughts...

Birth Is Best...

This was posted by fellow doula. It is a beautiful message about some of the things we can do to make Birth be the Best it can possibly be!

Thursday, September 10, 2009

Trust in birth...

Someone passed on this link to a lovely birth story. It is very powerful. I just had to pass it along as well.

I often want to stand and shout it from the roof tops, "THIS is how birth can be! How birth SHOULD be!"

Trust in birth! Trust that God made a beautiful design, and we are designed to give birth, to bring forth these sweet innocent, wonderful little souls, straight from God's Presence! What an honor! And what and Honor it is for me to be able to assist, and witness this Miracle!

Friday, August 21, 2009

From a dad's point of view...

The above link is to a fabulous post (the language is a bit colorful occasionally), about the raw honesty of birth. It is touching and amazing! Dad is a writer and does a fabulous job of retelling the story. It is a vbac as well. Well done warrior mama!!! Just beautiful!!!

Wednesday, August 19, 2009

~~A Word of Thanks~~

'Love... it bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things... if I do not have love I gain nothing.'

~1 Cor 13:1-7

Sometimes I am just amazed at people... I work with mom's, and families all the time. It is often hard, physically as well as emotionally. I absolutely LOVE to see that sweet new baby being brought forth, and to watch as a 'Family' is born. I love to see proud papa's, just over the moon about their new babies, and fall in Love with their sweet wives, all over again, and appreciate them for the hard work they did to bring forth their child. I love to see mom's as they grow in confidence and look in wonder at their personal little miracle!

Sometimes I have worked with friends. That has been a sweet moment, to know that I was able to share such a special part of their lives. I treasure those moments. They are like special gifts.

Others, I meet, I work with and when everything is through they pretty much go on about their lives, and I often wonder how they've been, how the baby is growing, and what they are doing. It was a working relationship, and when the work is through, so are we for the most part.

And still others, start out as working relationships, and they grow into something more. We become friends... I treasure those friendships, even if we sometimes joke around that they 'paid' me for my friendship... of course they got a pretty good deal on the value of their dollar I'd say! ;-)

When I help a mom and they tell me they couldn't have done it without me, I try to encourage them and help them to realize that THEY are the one who is strong! THEY are the one that did all the work! I thank them, for allowing me to be a part of something so incredible! (If anything I feel a bit guilty when I come home from a birth exhausted - physically, and get to crawl into bed and sleep or rest to restore my energy, when I am NOT the one who WORKED so hard!!! I am NOT the one who was having contractions for hours! I am NOT the one who is coming down from the adrenaline rush after the birth, and have a baby, albeit a sweet little bundle of love straight from heaven, but a baby to nourish and to take care of! However, it is so sweet when a mom (and or dad), just really feel like I was a great comfort to them, and did help them to remember what to do, how to breathe, and remind them to get up and move around.

Today, I went to visit a sweet mom and her little baby. They are just the sweetest, fun couple. I really enjoyed getting to know them! (and she has the funnest southern accent and expressions, I love to talk with her!). Things did not go exactly the way she had hoped and planned, but we worked very hard. She worked very hard and had a lovely birth, and a darling, adorable baby! She has since, had quite a rough time, with some feeding issues, but she is persevering! She is determined, and things are beginning to get better. It has been a lot of work, a lot of patience, a lot of phone calls, consultations, and tears on her part. When I went to see her, she had somehow, taken the time to get a thank you present for me... I couldn't believe it!

How thoughtful, and kind. She told me she really thought about what to write in the card she gave me. She wrote the scripture, above, and then, a very sweet message that I will treasure. A special kind of gift...
So, THANK YOU, dear friends for the gift of being able to witness such miracles!

Thursday, August 13, 2009

Maternity Care Beware: Consumer Reports Quiz on Maternity Care

Take the quiz: (linked below)

Then read the report:

Consumer Reports
Source: “Evidence-Based Maternity Care: What It Is and What It Can Achieve,” a detailed review of clinical evidence by Carol Sakala and Maureen P. Corry published by the Childbirth Connection, the Reforming States Group, and the Milbank Memorial Fund, October 2008.

Sunday, July 5, 2009

How's this for a consent form?

A mom expecting another baby after a previous cesarean surgery for the birth of her first child wrote this... Wow!

I got this link from another doula... it's so sad that mom's feel like they have to work so hard, and 'fight' in order to be able to have teh births they want, and deserve.
All of this for what should be a normal natural function of the human body...

Tuesday, June 16, 2009

Inspirational Stories of Natural Birth... Free E Book!!!

Sheri L. Menelli wrote a wonderful book full of possitive birth stories. I bought the book several years ago and loved it. I have loaned this book out to my doula clients, and other friends who are interested in having positive birth stories of their own.

Journey Into Motherhood
Inspirational Stories of Natural Birth
By: Sheri L. Menelli

Sheri is offereing her book for free - as an e book! Please click on the link below and read for yourself the wonderful stories she has collected from so many women.

Wednesday, June 10, 2009

Why the fear of Post Dates?! and What is with all the inductions?

I have had so many mom's pressured into induction for one reason or another, when often it is simply because the magical date circled in red on the calendar has come and gone (or worse! Getting close!!!).

I have read many articles, but this gal Emily has done a great job of writing an article that puts things so nice and concisely, and links to the actual articles and quotes, so... Please, check out her link and take the information to heart...

Another one a friend sent me also has good info on Due Dates:

Tuesday, May 26, 2009

There are no failures... as moms, however, the system seems to be failing us...

Here is a blog post about a very common thread in today's maternity care system. This nurse at tells the whole story... and sadly she sees this nearly every day... "Failure to Progress"
(NursingBirth is a blog in support of change for the current state of maternity care in the United States. My goal in starting this blog is to get the word out there that if things stay the way they are, the safety and welfare of our mothers and babies continues to be at risk. I also want the birth advocacy community to know that there are nurses out there that are on your side! The time is NOW! I hope my blog will include ramblings of my day to day life as a labor and delivery nurse, resources for birth advocacy and tips for becoming involved in the cause, book reviews, commentary on current events, new perspectives on past experiences, and thoughts towards change!)

I have seen too many of these scenarios myself. I have such a hard time watching 'managed births'. I have been a doula now for about 8 years, I became a doula because of a desire to help women educate themselves, to help them navigate the 'system', and to see them have empowered births. To be able to be present and witness THE MIRACLE of BIRTH!

Sometimes the 'system' is so strong, and difficult to 'fight' off. I often feel defeated, and that I haven't helped the women (and their partners) to educate themselves well enough, to be able to combat some of the suggestions (most often pushed by their care provider, this is just what we are GOING TO DO NOW, often/usually without so much as a suggestion that there are any other alternatives to what they (care providers) want to do). I hate feeling like I need to educate women that they will be going into a battle zone, and they need to be ready to FIGHT for their births! (I personally do not like confrontation - I try to avoid it. I wonder if I am doing a disservice to my mom's by attempting to be somewhat 'politically correct' in the birth environment that we live in today.)

Women should NOT have to FIGHT, just to be allowed to Labor and Birth their baby's!

I used to read all the birth books, and be horrified that some women have had care providers that did the things described in the stories! I knew they were true stories, but, In my heart of hearts, I do not want to believe that there are Dr's/care providers out there that are that controlling and callous, with such an 'agenda'. However, I have personally seen first hand on several occasions lately, where an OB had such an agenda...

They won't outright admit to it up front, but the coincidence that the 'need' to do such and such, and end up with the situations that have happened to several of my mom's recently, and after all was said and done, the Dr comments, that 'usually I would do such and such on day two, after the baby's birth', but "I will be out of town" for the game or for the Holiday weekend ahead... so either "I will go ahead and do the procedure" sooner than usual or "my partner will take over your care from here on out since I will be gone". I'm tired of having mom's PUSHED into things, often with slightly disastrous outcomes, because of someones personal vacation or 'on call' schedule.

Now that I've rambled on and on, go back and click on the link to read the birth nurse's blog post. She is not afraid to tell it like it is!!!!!

Wednesday, May 20, 2009

Teaching our children

A wonderful perspective on children and birth.

If all we teach is fear, how do we expect our children to have faith and trust in themselves and in the great design God had/has?!?!?

I saw this quote on a Church billboard recently:

Fear is Contagious...


I LOVED this saying, and thought it applied very well to birth as well as Gospel principles.

Thursday, May 14, 2009

An Excellent Video discussing Cord Clamping

“Another thing very injurious to the child, is the tying and cutting of the navel string too soon; which should always be left till the child has not only repeatedly breathed but till all pulsation in the cord ceases. As otherwise the child is much weaker than it ought to be, a portion of the blood being left in the placenta, which ought to have been in the child.”
Erasmus Darwin, Zoonomia, 1801

Info on research about delayed cord clamping to let the baby get the full blood volume intended.

*A thought I have had about cord blood banking.
I think it is a good idea, especially if you already have a family history of certain disease and illness. However, I personally believe that God had/s a design, and if the baby was supposed to be cut off from that blood volume, (up to a cup?) and oxygen it provides for those first few minutes after birth, then the cord would automatically cut free on it's own, and the cord would not continue to pulse and give aditional blood through the placenta to the baby at birth... Wendy Robertson *

The baby is still receiving oxygented blood through the placenta while the cord is still pulsing right after birth. If we leave this alone, the baby doesn't have the NEED to imediately take a breath. When the cord is imediately cut, in modern medical practice, the baby frequently requires additional oxygen as that natural source of oxygenated blood has litterally been cut off, too soon.

The umbilical cord if left alone ceases to pulse with the blood from the placenta. It will physiologically clamp itself off, by filling with Wharton's Jelly. Soon after the placenta will naturally release, and be delivered. What an incredible design God has in place to ensure the survival of the newly born infant.

Tuesday, May 5, 2009

Dr. Stuart J. Fischbein's letter in response to ACOG and their HB Ban

Fri, 06/27/2008 - 07:03 — admin
From: Stuart J. Fischbein, MD FACOG
To: Douglas H. Kirkpatrick, MD, President, American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists
Date sent: Monday, June 23, 2008
Douglas H. Kirkpatrick, MDThe American College of Obstetricians and GynecologistsPO Box 96920Washington, DC 20090-2188Dear Sir:I am a practicing OB/GYN in southern California and Fellow of ACOG and recently was informed by midwife colleagues of your recommendation and encouragement for the AMA to lobby Congress for a law banning out of hospital birth. It is disturbing to me that I had to hear of this decision from outside sources and was never approached by my college to see how I or my local colleagues felt about it. I have grave concerns regarding my organization taking such a stand. I think we are all agreed that ACOG has a statement regarding patients’ rights to informed consent and informed refusal. Yet, it seems with every decision our organization moves further away from that basic tenet. ACOG’s little "guideline" paper on VBAC in 2004 where the word readily was changed to immediately has had the chilling effect of doing away with VBAC options at hundreds of hospitals. Not due to patient safety, or the ideal of giving true informed consent but really, let’s be honest, due to fear of litigation. I have seen how patients have become counseled by obstetricians at facilities where VBAC has been banned. They are clearly given a skewed view of the risks of VBAC but rarely told of the risks of multiple surgeries. If you think this is untrue you are, sadly, out of touch with real clinical medicine.As to out of hospital birthing, please give me the courtesy of an explanation as to the evidenced-based data you used and the process by which an organization which is supposed to represent me came to this conclusion. Any statement saying that it is as simple as patient safety and that one-size fits all hospital births under the "obstetric model" of practice should be applied to all patients is, putting it nicely, not really in line with what best serves all our patients. In many instances, hospitals are not safe, certainly not nurturing and have a far worse track record for disasters than home birth. Even when emergency help is nearby this is true. The focus of all of us in medicine should be on reigning in trial lawyers and tort reform and lobbying Congress for that. The best interest of the college members and the patients we serve would be for my organization to spend its time and energy on something that has true benefit. Removing choices from well-informed patients and caring doctors and midwives is wholly un-American. So please send me detailed information on how ACOG decided outlawing home birth would be a wise thing to do. You must have conclusive scientific data to take such a drastic stand. Please make it available to me so that I may share it with likeminded colleagues. I would also like to know the process by which this came to pass. Who first raised this issue and why? What committee reviewed all the data and did its due diligence in interviewing those of us with longstanding experience in backing midwives who perform out of hospital births. There must be a clear and concise, non-confidential paper trail you can share with your members. Specific names of committee members who voted for this would be enlightening and I am requesting this information. I would like to know the background and expertise regarding out of hospital birth for each member who had a hand in the decision to go to the AMA.We live in an odd era where once something is said or recommended by a legitimate organization such as ACOG it has deep ramifications never intended such as becoming fodder for trial lawyers trying to squeeze the lifeblood and dignity out of your members. In this case these ramifications have had the undesirable effect of forcing women to travel hundreds of miles in labor to find a supportive facility. Or even worse, to have them arrive in a VBAC banned hospital and refuse surgery or be coerced into it. Can this be the best we can do for our patients? Remember, your VBAC statement was meant to be only a recommendation but quickly became the rule by which hospital administrators, risk managers and anesthesia departments of smaller hospital banned this option for thousands of women. An option, which in proper hands, was the safe and accepted standard of care for 30 years. In fact, you still have an ACOG VBAC brochure that recommends this option! For those of us working at smaller hospitals where VBAC was banned due to lack of emergency help (anesthesia, OR crews, etc.) there is a big question that has perplexed us that no administrator seems to be willing or able to answer. That question is: "If a hospital cannot handle an emergency c/section for VBACs, and most obstetrical emergencies are for fetal bradycardia, hemorrhage (i.e. abruption) or shoulder dystocia not for ruptured uteri, then how can they do obstetrics at all?" For they seem to still be able to have a maternity ward without in house anesthesia. Will someday ACOG, in their great wisdom but seeming disconnect from reality, make a "recommendation" that little hospitals unable to afford 24-hour coverage stop providing obstetric services all together? Will this better serve women and their communities throughout America? I am frightened and angered by what you have done in my name. Now I ask you to defend your position in encouraging the AMA to lobby Congress for another restriction on the freedom of choice that belongs to women and their families. Those choices include midwifery and the right to have the most beautiful and life changing event occur wherever best fits their desire. I am baffled that my college thinks this should be a criminal act. Midwives are well trained and required to have obstetrical backup. They have very special relationships with their patients and want the very best outcomes for them. They do not need me or you to police them. We have a habit in out country over the past 40 years of thinking we can legislate out stupidity. All that has done is erode the individual freedoms that belong, by birthright, to each of us. I would hope you trust your Fellows to know their specialty, their colleagues, and what is best for the patient as an individual. These decisions do not belong to politicians or faceless committees. You should have more faith in your members to give balanced informed consent. Again, my recommendation to you is to put all your considerable energy into changing our legal malpractice system. Those of us actually practicing medicine and caring for patients know this to be the greatest threat to the mission and responsibility we have chosen to undertake.I look forward to your response and possibly the beginning of a meaningful dialogue.
Sincerely,Stuart J. Fischbein,
MD FACOGMedical Advisor,
Birth Action Coalition

To read the responses and follow on messages, click on the link above.

Sunday, May 3, 2009

Non-pharmaceutical intervention for staying Healthy
by: Shonda Parker

A great Article on a timely subject - in this fear of flu and disease time we are living in right now, Shonda Parker reminds us of some natural things we can do to give ourselves the best chance to stay healthy.

Friday, May 1, 2009

In times of pandemic disease...

In light of the recent Swine Flu outbreak, some people are thinking where should I go, if I were having a baby today? Would I want to go to my local hospital, where sick and ill people are being treated for various infectious diseases??? Below is a link to an article on this topic... It is certainly something to think about.

Friday, April 24, 2009

"Why? Why on earth would you want to birth at home?"

"Why? Why on earth would you want to birth at home?

by: Chloe Raum, EE, CPM

In 2001, I remember the incredulous looks from friends and acquaintances during the second half of my first pregnancy, when they learned of my plan to birth at home with midwives. I remember their shock when they realized that my OB had literally fired me from her practice when I honestly told her my plan and asked her to be my backup doctor. It was such a departure from what everyone else in our area considered to be an appropriate plan for birth. I understood their shock, I understood their questions, but felt at a loss to figure out how to answer them in a five-minute conversation.

Although other states in our country had home birth midwives listed in the yellow pages of the phone book, such was not the case in north Alabama. In fact, at the time I had finally accumulated enough information to determine that I was looking for a home birth midwife, I knew of no one who had made that choice. By the time I actually birthed, I knew of two women personally who birthed at home. Although the national out-of-hospital birth average is around 1%, this was not a choice being made in my neck of the woods.

The simple question of "why?" coupled with the genuine shock and concern for the safety of myself and my baby conveyed so much more. No one could fathom why a woman (especially a first-time mother) would plan to birth without pain-relieving drugs; they simply knew of no one who had ever done that, save the mother who arrived at the hospital too late to receive them. No one could comprehend that two primary midwives could possibly take care of mother and baby as well as a horde of nurses, medical technicians, anesthesiologists, and an obstetrician. No one could believe that birth could possibly be as safe in a setting without roomfuls of expensive equipment, immediate access to a cesarean section, and a NICU. No one could conceive that the risks of birthing in a hospital might possibly outweigh all the benefits that modern medicine appeared to have achieved over the past 100 years.

There were some questions that I could not answer. I had no idea what it would feel like to be in labor and give birth. I expected it to hurt. Would I be the mother who threw in the towel and asked to be transferred to the hospital for an epidural? It was a possibility; some mothers do and that's nothing to be ashamed of. Pain was a genuine concern for me; definitely something that I weighed heavily when making my decision. So what could convince me to form a birth plan that I wasn't even sure I could follow through? At great financial expense? At the risk of "changing my mind" or being one of a small number of mothers who actually had a situation arise necessitating a change of birth setting, in a hostile state where home birth transports are often treated disrespectfully by hospital staff?

It was the evidence, the cumulative information that I had read in dozens of books, footnoted to countless research journal articles, that took me a year to read. It arose from understanding enough from my college studies of statistics to be able to read the data. It swelled from a deep belief that God's word is true and that when He designed woman's body, it was good. It was the experiences of my grandmother, who birthed her first six babies at home and the last two in a hospital. It was the experiences of my mother, who had typical 1970s era spinal blocks for her first two babies and was blessed with her third baby being born within 30 minutes of arriving at the hospital, too late for interventions. Although the natural birth stories were few in number, they were all positive. It was a stark contrast to the hospital stories of almost everyone else I knew.

Since it was impossible to share a year's worth of research with a friend in a five-minute conversation, I'm sure most people never understood the reasons why I made the choices I did. Nor do they understand the reasons why I ended up making a dramatic career change from electrical engineer to home birth midwife. Nor will they ever know the heavy emotional toll I bear every time I witness birth in the hospital setting. So upon recently finding an online article that can be read in five minutes and gives many of the reasons why, I felt compelled to share it.

It's not a perfect article ... for one thing, I don't agree with one particular point. I know of no midwives personally who bring continuous fetal monitoring to a home birth when the evidence clearly show that intermittent monitoring is just as effective. For another thing, I hate the title. When 99% of the women in our culture feel safest in their choice to birth in the hospital, reading a title like "Dangers of Hospital Birth" is sure to offend. That is not my purpose! I merely want to share the reasons why I believed that my baby and I would be safer at home under midwifery care and the article does a fairly good job of that.

So here are some answers to the questions of why, courtesy of Ronnie Falcao, a licensed midwife from California.

All I can say is that it was worth it ... the benefits far outweighed the pain, the expense, and the fear. The most amazing benefits were ones I never expected, that no one told me about. I couldn't fathom the blessing of having my midwife making home visits to check on our health and my baby's weight gain during the days following birth. You can't put a price on having 24/7 access to your personal expert concerning all matters of pregnancy issues, newborn care, breastfeeding advice, and the countless "Is this normal?" questions that first-time mothers have. Nor could I put a price on the blessing of avoiding a cesarean section due to a long labor and my baby's difficult presentation.

Home birth is not the right choice for everyone, but it should be a readily accessible option for anyone who desires it.

Thank you to my dear Friend Chloe Raum, who is so good at putting the thoughts and words together...

Saturday, April 18, 2009

The Other Side of the Glass... (trailer)

I just came across this video (film trailer), on fathers and baby's at birth and the effect of many of the procedures that are done in our modern society.

It is quite interesting. I wish that more people would think about the needs of the newborn and the new family right at birth, to help it remain a respectful and gentle time...

I wonder how hard it is to get the Actual film.

Wednesday, April 1, 2009

The Womanization of Birth

I saw this the other day and thought it was a lovely message about birth:

July 28, 2008
The Womanization of Birth
Yesterday I got to be part of an amazing experience. I spent eight hours with a friend as she gave birth, in her own home, with the help of her husband and a team of midwives.
Since having my daughter two years ago, I have attended at three births, a hospital birth with epidural and a hospital drug-free birth (which my birth also was), but this was the first home birth I had seen.
The difference was astounding.
Instead of being constantly on a fetal monitor, and kept to a doctor's schedule, she was free to move as she needed to, and the midwives checked in with her before checking the baby's heartrate by doppler. When she was going through transition, and felt that she couldn't continue, instead of offering drugs the midwife gently reminded her that the strength of her contractions was her own strength, and that they would never get harder than she could handle. When she was having difficulty getting rid of the last bit of cervix to be able to begin pushing, the midwives helped her into a position that made it easier for her to breathe through contractions, and helped speed her dilation. Instead of an episiotomy, she had only a very minor surface-level tear. Instead of the gloved hands of a stranger, his father gently caught the baby as he emerged and helped to lay him on his mother's chest. Instead of immediately clamping and cutting the umbilical cord, the baby was allowed to get his full supply of blood before clamping. What a difference it made; he was the pinkest baby I have ever seen!
Throughout the whole experience the atmosphere was supportive, kind, gentle, and woman-centered. What happened, and when, was determined by what the mother wanted and needed.
The result: a healthy 10 pound baby boy, a mother impressed by her own strength, a father who actively participated in the birth, and a happy family at home.
Home birth may not work for everyone (especially any mother with pregnancy risk factors), but it is a beautiful alternative to the medical intervention experience of birth that so many mothers are subjected to today.
Posted by CA NOW at 12:16 PM in Family, Health, Reproductive Freedom, Women
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Wednesday, January 21, 2009

A Little Political Humor...

This was just too good to pass up!!!
I'm on a list for Birth advocacy in AL. Some one posted this little story. I HAD to put it down to be able to remember it.

Date: Wed, 21 Jan 2009

The last election joke! Not Republican or Democrat -
Since the presidential campaign is over, I figured some political humor might be in store. The following is a funny and true story shared with me by KC W who teaches High School Government. In one of KC's classes, they were discussing the qualifications to be president of the United States . It was pretty simple. The candidate must be a natural born citizen of at least 35 years of age. However, one girl in the class immediately started in on how unfair was the requirement to be a natural born citizen. In short, her opinion was this requirement prevented many capable individuals from becoming president. KC and the class were just taking it in and letting her rant, but everyone's jaw hit the floor when she wrapped up her argument by stating ... "What makes a natural born citizen any more qualified to lead this country than one born by c-section?"
And someday she'll vote!

I guess if nothing else, it might drop the elective c-section craze, if people knew that their child could 'never' be president if not born "naturally". ;-) Now there's something to think about!

Friday, January 9, 2009

More Reflections on Birth...


I had a new client recently comment on a situation I told them about from a birth, and say basically that in that situation there seemed to be nothing I could do to help, (to stop a situation from occurring). At which point they seemed to be wondering, how to get through their birth without something similar happening, and even having me there was definitely no guarantee to a successful outcome.

I have basically been asking myself since that interview a couple of weeks ago, what sort of response I could have given to help encourage and reassure them with. I have been somewhat asking myself if I had done any good for the family at all? I knew from the rest of the labor and birth that surely I must have been helpful. It was just a certain situation that happened that I could only do my best to help the mom deal with it at the time.

What I have decided to tell this other couple though is that, what it comes down to is your choice of caregiver. If what you want is not something that your caregiver is actually supportive of, and then it will be much more difficult to get what you want with them. The real thing to do is to find a caregiver that you feel comfortable with, whom you have done your research on, and you have a pretty reasonable idea that they are willing to work with you on the things that are important to you for your birth.

There are a couple of analogy’s I’ve heard of:
You like apples, and so you go to the fruit market, and you really want apples, but you go to the Orange stand, and ask for apples, you aren’t going to actually get apples. You have a choice to make. You can decide that you will just get an orange and be happy with that. Or you can seek out the Apple stand and buy the apple you really wanted in the first place.

The same works for wanting a certain type of car. If what you really want is a Toyota and you go to the Ford dealership, you probably are not going to get the Toyota you want. Whereas, if what you want is a Toyota and you go to a Toyota dealership, you have a lot better chances of getting a Toyota...

A slightly more complex scenario is if what you really want is Moo Goo Gui Pan, and you go to Mc Donalds or burger king, and ask for Moo Goo Gui Pan, and say you don’t want a burger, they can offer you a chicken sandwich perhaps, but... they do not have Moo Goo Gui Pan, so they simply can not offer it to you! You can then decide that you’ll go ahead and ask for the chicken sand which, and expect to get that. However, you might end up with a Burger, and you can decide to just go ahead and eat it, or try to get it changed to the chicken sand which you asked for. Or you can go ahead and just get the Burger, since that is really what they are good at, since they are a burger place anyway.

Wednesday, January 7, 2009

Reflections on Birth...

I've been doing a lot of self reflection lately about the births I've attended and how things went, and I've been asking myself, how could I have helped more...

I absolutely love helping moms! I LOVE being a part of this special process of birth, when that sweet new little baby comes into the world! It is a sweet and tender moment. I try my best to help the moms and families to have good memories of that time. Women will remember their births for the rest of their lives. I want to help it to be a positive experience for them.

Research on doula's shows that even if things don't go the way that moms hoped it to go exactly; even if they end up needing surgery, for example... if they have had some part in the decisions made during their labor and births, they feel much more positive about their experience.

A large part of what I try to do as a doula is to help the mom/parents is to encourage them to educate themselves on the choices that they have available for them during their labor and births. Sometimes moms don't know what some of the things available to them for their labor and birth are, or that they can request not to have some 'routine' things done. And for them to decide what they really want their birth to be like, (or hope it will be like) and then to work on getting that.

One of the ways they can do this is to do their research. Ask for opinions from others on what their experiences have been. Find people who are involved in birth and ask their opinions. Ask their Doctor and Hospitals what their induction rate is, and what their Cesarean Section rates are. Call the hospital and ask the Labor and Delivery Nurses what Dr's they would suggest who work best with moms that want the same things that they do.

I have heard it said that most parents do more research on what car or stereo equipment they want to buy than they do on what they want for their births. The sad thing about this is that, their birth experience can literally have lasting effects on their health and their whole future lives. I have heard people say that they aren't sure what to expect the first time, or they feel committed to their care provider, so they just want to go along with whatever, and perhaps NEXT time they will make some different choices.

What is potentially wrong with this type of thinking is that they might NOT have those choices available to them the next time. For example: if the Doctor or Hospital you are using happens to have an alarmingly high C-section rate, the chances of you having a surgical delivery is very high. The old rule of "once a c-section, always a c-section" does not apply like it once did, but there are more and more restrictions being placed on a mom who wants to try for a Vaginal Birth After a Cesarean (VBAC). There are whole towns and areas of the country that are no longer offering them. I've had a woman who drove two hours away from her home - bypassing several other hospitals, becuase they do NOT allow VBAC's at those hospitals any longer- just to get the chance to try for a VBAC.
Even in hospitals or areas where the will 'allow' a VBAC, some Dr's are not comfortable with them and are no longer willing to allow their patients to have a VBAC. I heard of one mother who had already had a successful VBAC of her second child, was pregnant with her third baby and then moved to a new area, where her new Dr. suggested to her that the hospital was going to ban VBAC's and so by the time she was ready to deliver her next baby she might not be allowed to plan for or ever even try for a VBAC, it would be an automatic C-section. How horribly sad for a mom, to have to go through major abdominal surgery for no other reason than the hospital or Dr. won't allow her to have a regular delivery.

I have more to say on this, but for now this seems like a lot, so I'll add more later...
For the most part, do your homework. Know what you are looking for, and do your best to find it.