Monday, March 24, 2008

Birth Trust

I had no idea it had been so many days since my last post. This past week has been a fuzz. We attended 3 births in 6 days, all with their own unique excitment. I won't go into details here, as the birth stories aren't mine to tell.

But, let me just say this:

I don't trust birth naively. I know that things can 'go wrong' in all birth settings, with all birth attendants, and with no birth attendant, and that there are two very precious lives involved in birth, both equally important. I have seen things during births that would cause some midwives and student midwives to quit for good. But, I have not waivered in my belief that BIRTH WORKS. And, I am always critically looking at another key question: how can I guarantee that "X" complication would have occurred no matter what? (I can't). What role do I have, as a midwife, to causing the situation at hand? (And, I don't mean any obvious cause....but what about the simple presence of us midwives?). I wish I could explain in more detail these births I have attended in this last month. It was a blessing that I had just attended The Trust Birth Conference 2 weeks earlier.

Monday, March 17, 2008

Homebirth Montage

I know this has been out on the net for a few months now, but it is so wonderful, I just have to put it up here:

Sunday, March 16, 2008

baby girl

Yesterday I was awoken at 7am with a call that a 3rd time mom was in early labor. We were there by 8:30. It was a sweet birth, the couple really spent lots of loving time together while the rest of the family was in another part of the house (including us). She labored absolutly silent, and when we suddenly heard her low moaning with pushing, we knew it was almost baby time! Her baby was born while in a supported squat with her husband beind her and her 2 daughters (2 and 6) looking on. Sweet and healthy baby! We finished the day off with 2 postpartum visits for clients who have 2 week old babies. All was well. After a 12 hour day, R was sure glad to see me, but had a fun day with his dad and brother.

I need to make some time in the next few days for studying. I have all of these thoughts and ideas swimming around in my head that I want to research more. It is so great to finally be having real hands-on training. I realize now how much of a hands-on learner I am. Everything is visual for me. To hear something, it just goes in one ear and out the other. But, to see it done (or better yet, to do it myself) is so much better!! I am excited that my preceptor really just throws me into things and has me do things I have never done (like listening to fetal heart tones during labor). That is the best way for me to learn, I think.

(Originally posted April, 2006)


Well, as suspected the mom that was ready to go any day had her baby early yesterday morning! She had a sweet, sweet baby girl. The strength and perseverance of this mama really touched me. After about 5 hours of pushing at home, and discovering hematoma on the baby's head, mom was ok with transferring and we hoped that perhaps the CNM at the local country hospital (20 minutes away) would have some ideas. Instead, when we arrived, they just preped her for a c-sect. They didn't even want to check her vaginally. Her baby sounded great, very healthy. Baby girl was born at about 2:30am via cesarean section. She was posterior and asynclitic. They had to reach up and push her up vaginally a bit, she was so wedged in there, and there were bruises on her back from the doctors trying to lift her out of the uterus. Apparently, the incision tore down into her cervix from their efforts to pull the baby out. Baby was very healthy and the mom was in her room with her baby very soon.

The hospital was very respectful, very welcoming to all of us. They have 'rooming in' and encourage breastfeeding (they got the baby latched on within 1 hour!).

I am sad to see such a conclusion to her birth, but I don't believe in accidents. For some reason, this was the path of this baby and mama. This mama's strength and beauty is awe-inspiring!

I have been busy reading lots and lots about Optimal Foetal Positioning. I feel like we tried everything we could to get her baby to turn into a better position. But, the way that it unfolded was the way it was to happen (proven by the fact that it DID happen that way). Still, I want to learn as much as I can about OFP. Heck, I could have used the information during my pregnancy/labor to help make it a smoother experience (or, so I like to think). But, my little guy came out to this world exactly as he needed to. There are no accidents, imo.

(Originally posted April, 2006)

Limbic imprinting

I saw a new birth video last night called Birth As We Know It. It is similar to the Birth Into Being Russian waterbirth video in that they showed some similar footage of babies being born in the water and in the Black Sea. But, this movie goes much more into depth on the social implications for birthing consciously. They talk a lot about limbic imprinting and healing our own birth trauma.

It really shook me up. I was born via forceps (that left a mark at birth) and then separated from my mother for 4 hours. I was born in Louisiana, and at the time at that hospital, it was still standard procedure to take the baby to the nursery for 24 hours (the nurses at the hospital were trying to talk my mom out of nursing me!!!). Well, the reason I was separated for only 4 hours was because that was how long it took for my mom to get ahold of someone who would be willing to override the hospital rules and allow me back with my mother. I was born in a smaller town, and my dad ran the local newspaper, so he knew "people". My mom finally got the mayor on the phone and demanded that her daughter be given back to her. She then proceeded to check us out "against medical advice". And, she breastfeed me for just over 2 years!

But, this movie made some connections for me. I realized plain and simple WHY my family has always called me "cold", "distant", "hard-hearted", and very selective of who I let get close to me. My most basic trust in life was betrayed. It makes me so sad inside to even think about it. :(

The good thing is that I don't think that there is any hurt that is permanent...we CAN heal and grow. R's birth was a big part of this, as well as being able to give him what I wanted so badly (as in, not being separated from my mom). But, I still have a long road ahead of me to open up those wounds and let heal afresh.

It is so simple, really. Just give your babies what they want...what they NEED!!!! They need our arms, our voice, our breasts. They need to be born with respect, wherever their birth location is. They are whole and complete humans at birth (And before!) and they deserve to be treated as such.

Our planet's future just may depend on it, in my opinion...

(Originally posted April, 2006)

Welcome, Baby!

Last night, a beautiful baby boy was born! I had the honor of being present and serving the mother however she needed me to. It was my first birth as the "assistant midwife". It was just great. Woman's strength is awe inspiring, everytime! It was her 3rd baby, 2nd born at home. She is Russian, and I thought how fitting it was that my first birth that I attend on my path to midwifery is with a Russian family (I have always felt like Russia is my 'motherland' and have always dreamed of returning and living there).

R. did really, really well with me gone!! I left him during his nap in the middle of the day, and returned around midnight, and he had just gone to sleep. He struggled a little with falling asleep without nursing, but it went just fine. I am so thrilled!!! Yipee!!!!

We have one first-time mom due "anyday" and that is it for April due dates (though there are some early May dates, and those could birth early, of course).

I had such a hard time really sleeping last night, I was too excited. I was very tired, but my mind was just jumping up and down all night, the excitement was too much!!

I am at peace.

(Originally posted in April, 2006)

Babies, babies and more babies!

I am officially 'on-call' starting today. There are 4 women due any day now. One mama is close to 42 weeks, and is anxious to have her baby out, but doesn't want to do any interventions to get labor started (yay for her!!). Another mama has very iffy dates. Originally, she thought she was due i December (she was nursing, and hadn't had her period return yet when she got pregnant). Well, she is till pregnant, and it looks like she was due sometime last week, so she will have her baby very soon too.

I am very excited about all these babies that are going to make their appearances soon! My preceptor says that they were all waiting for me to get settled so I could be there. :)

It is a wonderful northwest day outside. Pouring rain one minute to sunny skies the next. I love it!

(Originally posted in April, 2006)
As soon as R. wakes up from his nap, we are going to head out to the store to buy me a watch. I haven't owned a watch in who knows how many years!! But, I need to have one on me during births and prenatals. I still haven't figured out what sort of bag I am going to use for all of my prenatal/birth supplies, but I can take my time to find the right one. I wish I was more crafty with the sewing machine, so I could just make my own!! I am still tempted to try. We will see!

I cast on for a pair of socks for myself, and a soaker for a friend of mine who is due in June with her first baby. Her mother blessing is in 2 weeks, so I hope I can finish it in time! The socks will take me a while I think, they are on size 1 needles, but there is no rush. I enjoy the creation process of just making them.

I like our new city ok. We are adjusting to it, anyhow. I feel rather lonely, no one up here for me to talk to really, but I know that will change in time. I attended our local Stitch'n'Bitch the other night, and that was great to get out of the house for a little while and meet some new people. But, it always takes me a while to warm up to people to make real friends with them. I have always been that way. I think that to some people I may appear cold and distant, but it is really just me being self-conscious. It used to be much worse when I was younger, so I seem to be growing stronger in that regard as I grow.

i know, i know...

cool blogs have pictures and people that regular post! So, I am not there yet. I just can't carve out the time lately. That's ok, not that anybody reads this anyways, it is really just for my own release.

Not much going on lately. I went to my first birth since my son was born a few weeks ago. Just an awesome beautiful waterbirth!!!! God, out bodies just rock! It was good to see how well my son did with me being gone, too. He just turned two, and while to wasn't totally smooth, it went WAY better than I thought it would. Whew!! This fall I shall begin apprenticing full time with a fairly busy midwife, so he is just going to get better at being away from me. Wow, he got big so fast!

I had often thought about becoming a CBE or a doula....but I just don't think I could do either very effectively. I find it very hard to support women who have a perfectly healthy pregnancy and choose to walk into the hospital to give birth. Don't get me wrong, I acknowledge that there is a time and place for hospitals and OBs, but I seriously don't think more than 5% of births need them. Maybe even less. But, in this country, it is less than 5% who have homebirths, while the majority of the 95% remaining births take place in hospitals. I think this is criminal. And, firstly, we need to start with the next generation to change things. I acknowledge that come women do feel safer giving birth in the hospital, but they weren't born feeling that is our culture who has taught them to feel that way. Most teenage girls are terrified of the whole process of birth. No wonder they are convinced they want the epidural long before they are even in labor!

Ok, I feel like I am going off on a tangent. sorry.

I feel so frustrated when I hear moms sharing their martyr birth stories, or about how their baby almost died, thank GOD they weren't at home! ......

So, something that I am reading more and more about is the use of oxygen in resuscitation of newborns. Very interesting stuff! There isn't really any research that shows that 100% oxygen is better than room air for resuscitation and in fact, some research to show that 100% oxygen can actually cause DAMAGE!!!! This is just mind-blowing to me! I just heard an old conference tape by Dr. John Stevenson. He has NEVER carried oxygen equipment with him to homebirths, he doesn't think it is necessary. Huh! I know some midwives who would NEVER attend a birth without it!

I used to think that the midwifery community was all fuzzy and warm and supportive of one another....but the more I become involved in it, the more I see that there are people who are VERY different from others and often tension between them that is so very palpable. Like this oxygen about some strong opinions! But, to me, it does just make sense that room air would be best, esp considering how tiny the babies organs are, and how toxic oxygen can be when the tissues are OVERLY saturated.

Once again, our bodies just simply ROCK!

(Originally posted in Feb, 2006)

you know it's bad when...

Geez, it is pathetic that I almost always can easily predict what will happen to friends and friends of friends that give birth in hospitals these days...I am (very sadly) wrong very infrequently. Same old story...labor wasn't going fast enough (or hadn't started soon and she is "over-due"), then the pit., then a good chance of an epidural, then the ominous c-sect...or sometimes, you can throw in the scary FHTs a while after the Pit is given, and then the doctors ("Thanks GOD we were in the hospital!!") do the emergency section. I wish I was wrong. I wish that each time a woman went into the hospital, she emerged whole and uncut (physically and emotionally). And, I know that some do. But, it seems to be more and more uncommon. Oh, it just makes me want to cry....

And here I am wanting to start doula'ing hospital births. I have always said that wasn't for me, that I would just come home from most births outraged and so, so sad. But, something in me wants to see what I can do to help. I don't know. If it is the right thing, I know it shall unfold in time.

(Originally posted in December, 2005)

Birth Talk

So, I had this thought the other day. So many people, including myself, seem to assume that homebirth midwives are "protecting" birth and women. But, I am coming to realize more and more that birth survives and happens many times IN SPITE of some midwives. I never thought I would say this, but that is where I am at right now. I keep hearing of more and more stories where the midwife (in a homebirth, btw), is yelling "PUSH! PUSH! PUSH!", telling the woman where, when and how to push, and generally NOT respecting women's intution. It is almost as if there are some midwives who just give lip service to trusting birth, and deep down, they still feel the need to control birth.

I am not midwife bashing. I love midwifery. I am a student midwife myself. I am just seeing more and more exactly what kind of midwife I want to be, and realizing more and more that there are many more differences between midwifes other than CPM, CNM, DEM, etc, etc..... Thank goddess that I had P. at my birth. She is the kind of midwife that I aspire to be. She truly understands what birth is and can be if left alone. I pray for guidance as I walk down my path to midwifery to keep my heart open and to be honest with myself and confront my fears head on.

Old posts

I am moving my personal blog to a different server, so I wanted to re-post here the entries that pertain to midwifery. Enjoy!


Now that the Trust Birth Conference is over and I have gotten back into the swing of day to day life, I need to get things back on track. Only about 3.5 months left of my time as an apprentice; plans to graduate midwifery school by the end of this year; taking my NARM exam August 20; figuring out where I fit in my community as a newly-winged midwife. As a testament that I am interested in more than just midwifery, I am planning on enrolling in my local community college in the fall to begin a Russian language class. I am almost as excited about this as I am about the prospect of passing the NARM. In preparation, I bought a bunch of these flash cards today. I had a set of them when I lived in Russia as a high school exchange student, and they were fabulous. I did at one time speak quite a bit of Russian, almost to the point of fluency. I am hoping these classes and flash cards help to dig out of my memory the language that must be in the depths of my brain somewhere, and offer me a chance to learn proper Russian grammar.

I hope to use this blog to expand upon my thoughts on various midwifery subjects that I am studying for school assignments. Knowing that I want to keep this blog alive and well will help to motivate me to keep working on my assignments to meet my final goal: GRADUATION. Sounds simple enough, but I have been working at this (off and on) since 2001.


Saturday, March 15, 2008

one more time

The Trust Birth was incredible! The entire event was like a dream for me!

The highlights for me:
  • The awards dinner was so great. I especially loved Dr. Odent's presentation on breaking the dis-empowering vocabulary of birth. I strained my ears the best I could to catch every precious word he said.
  • Meeting so many wonderful people, especially those I have "known" online for many years.
  • Meeting the wonderful Gloria Lemay. In more ways than I can count, she is my hero and role model!
  • Meeting and speaking with so many other amazing speakers: Jody McLaughlin of Compleat Mother magazine, Dr. Sarah Buckley, Laura Shanley, Karen Strange, Rixa Freeze, Gail Hart, and many others too numerous to mention.
  • Rachel Correa's beautiful presentation about her first born daughter during the opening session.
and honestly, that list is a very abbreviated about a seriously life-changing trip!

The conference has inspired me to keep this blog going. I know I haven't been consistently writing. But, I plan on changing that. You will have to bear with me, as eloquent prose isn't my strong point. But, I will do my best to breath new life into this here blog.

Starting today.