What Are They REALLY Saying?

There is an article of the same title on the web at independentchildbirth.com.  It is about identifying practitioners who are listening to you versus those who have their own agenda.  I read this post from a mom and dad who experienced the worst of the worst of practitioners who care less than nothing about birth.

On the second visit, we had the same doctor I had in my first appointment. She must have thought that a natural birth was Ash’s idea because when he mentioned it, she told him that they could do it, but they would tie a string to his balls and pull every time I had a contraction. Now, some cultures do that, but we were shocked that Ash’s balls came up at an OB visit.

Hopefully, you haven’t run into a practice THIS cruel, but there are all levels of ‘manner’ out there.  Choose your practitioner wisely.  They are out there and the most professional of practitioners are beginning to speak up and let it be known that there are wise practitioners.

Let Independent Childbirth help you find one!


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Birth Reunion 2009!

We are meeting at my home on Sunday, August 2 @ 2:00 p.m.  I can’t wait to meet each of the ‘new’ babies!  I love watching people become mommies and daddies.  That face that has no clue what life with a baby will be like and wonders if they really are ready for this change.  Then seeing them with that absolute sense of acceptance that life is now a different kind of normal!

We’ll have more stories to share though not all will be on the YouTube!  In the meantime if you haven’t been to one here’s a winter share:

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OT: Birds, Gardening and Such

Life in general has thrown everyone for a loop.  That is why I have come to find yet another blessing in my affinity for gardening and bird watching.  It solidifies the bittersweetness of the realization that life always continues.  The world doesn’t stop.

And so, today, while talking to a friend on the phone and gazing out one of my back windows for the zillionth time I saw, wonder of wonders, that a hummingbird has returned to our garden.  Perhaps it was only a fly-by, still the sugar water has been boiled and sits cooling on the counter.  The hummingbird feeder from two dry summers ago has been washed in hot soapy water and is air-drying.

Welcome back Flick.  And thank you for reminding me, that no matter how troubling life might find me the sun will go down, evening fall, and a new day arise.

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More Thoughts on You Can’t Get There From Here

I’m about to post on my group blog about a topic that’s currently become more public, pit to distress.  It’s a protocol by which basically pitocin use is abused and a baby is deliberately distressed to the point that the ‘miracle’ cesarean is recommended in order to ‘save your baby.’

Pitocin is most likely to be introduced to you as a means to either induce your labor, an additional medical protocol to induce your labor (you may have a prostaglandin gel on your cervix first, pitocin added via IV later) or as a means to speeding up your labor.  Pitocin is a synthetic version of the human hormone oxytocin.

No doubt there will be many L&D practitioners who will deny they abuse oxytocin.  Ask them what their protocol is: what is the dosage, how often is it increased, how likely are they to turn it off once your contractions reach an established pattern and what is their definition of a good contraction pattern?  Most likely the answers they give you will actually constitute abuse of pitocin.  They just don’t know that they’re abusing pitocin because they are simply doing what they were taught to do by people whom they trusted and believed they had no reason to question what they were learning.

I would never tell parents that all obstetricians are bad and all midwives are wonderful.  That would be a lie benefitting no one, least of all the mothers and their babies.  Instead, I will tell you that you must keep an open mind and learn to ask questions.  You can best learn how to ask the right questions when you learn about the topic you’re inquiring of, that is why I posed the questions above as a sample of what you can ask your careprovider about their use of pitocin.

If you, like many mothers, are planning to push your baby out of your body under your own power by having the freedom to use different positions for second stage then you need to learn about natural labor in first stage.  If you, like many mothers, are planning to hold your newborn baby for at least an hour after birth, then you need to learn about natural labor in first stage.  If you, like many mothers, are planning to delay cord clamping until either the cord stops pulsating or you’ve delivered your placenta naturally, then you need to learn about natural labor in first stage.

Inductions will put your first stage of labor on a very different flowchart for labor progress.  Ultimately it can turn your birth plans into fodder for a good fire in the winter.  Remember there are wise birth practitioners out there.  Have the courage to find a wise one whose comfort level with birth makes your birth plans theirs, not vice versa.  Have an abnormal first stage labor and you raise the odds of giving permission to become an un-necesarean statistic.

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A Baby Story Indeed!

Congratulations to a mama in our recent birth class.  Her first birth experience in a hospital almost ended in a cesarean.  It was a classic “time’s up” scenario.  I never forget to remind women that birth is a mental and emotional event and the two combined are far more powerful than the physical experience aspect in the majority of normal labors.  If there are any psychological or emotional struggles occurring you can certainly expect to see a prolonged labor.  Sure enough, with the first birth mom finally cried because she had ‘given up’ and ‘given in’ to the cesarean … lo and behold her son was born on the delivery bed as she was being wheeled to the OR.

Her second birth experience, this wise mother, chose to birth completely away from the scene of her first trauma.  She chose a home birth with Birth and Beyond and was so positive about how different this experience would be for her and for every mom that she called A Baby Story.  Yes, they chose her birth to record and it was a beautiful home birth.

I’m happy that Baby Story chose her birth but I’m more grateful that mom believed in herself so much so that she KNEW that first birth didn’t have to be that way.  She KNEW she was more than capable to birth.  She KNEW the practitioners were wrong and she chose to shout out the truth to the world.

Thank you ‘G’.  You captured my soul with this experience, a kindred spirit.  I teach natural childbirth because I KNEW I wasn’t wrong 15 years ago when I set out to accomplish my first VBAC (completely spontaneous and natural labor).  Here’s to a continued wave of energy reaching out to more women.  We can!

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Cesarean Prevention Starts at Home

I am so grateful to be able to cyber-sit with women and birth advocates around the world at all hours.  The birth wisdom we share is in turn shared with the women in our own communities.  We encourage each other to continue to speak up and tell what we know.  

It is this woman powered effort that provided the support and incentive to prepare a report on the state of maternal and newborn outcomes in America, Home Birth: The Gold Standard for Cesarean Prevention.  This report is available globally as a part of a documents resource library.  In addition, we prepared an outreach document for distribution to our government who is currently keen on health care reform.   Great health care begins with meeting the UN Millennium Project Goal 5: Improve Maternal Health.  A global issue is your local issue.  It’s a small world.

Please download then distribute either or both of the above documents to your legislators.  We believe they are willing to listen but the medical lobbyists’ attempts to drown us out are often more successful.

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Sushi, por favor. Prego!

Long ago in a hospital ward someone noticed a woman’s breathing changes with her labor.  He/she noticed that as the work of labor became more intense she breathed more deeply, deliberately.  Most likely it was also noted that during second stage her breathing may appear to stop, like a temporary holding of the breath.

As is usual with a single purpose track, one thing is noticed but how it occurred or what else is happening is disregarded.  All that was seen was someone breathing differently.

In the 1950s ‘prepared’ birth classes began in hospitals.  I wish I had been a fly on the wall when the introduction of birth classes in a hospital setting came about.  Today there are hospital based birth educators who will tell you they do ‘talk about’ natural birth in their classes.  I’m sure they do ‘talk about’ natural labor.  Let me tell you about one such woman who ‘talked about’ natural childbirth in her hospital birth classes.

The scene:  We are a group of women preparing for a presentation of Birth – The Play aka Birth On Labor Day (BOLD).  We meet twice a week for a couple of weeks leading up to the play date.  Of course during this time we are all sharing birth experiences and experiences with birthing women.  Among our cast is a woman who has never given birth but she is the most enthusiastic of us all.  She is excited just thinking about giving birth some day.  Among our cast is also a woman who gives childbirth classes at CCOG, a local hospital.  In our discussions about birth we do eventually get around to various birth videos.  Obviously one such video clip we bring in for everyone to see is the hospital birth clip from Monty Python’s Meaning of Life, Miracle of Birth as it is a part of the play itself, the machine that goes “ping.”  I love Monty Python.  They can send a real zinger of a message in the funny lines, classic, expert comedy relief.  Then the discussion comes around to a recent birth video, Psalm & Zoya: The Unassisted Birth of Our Twins.  In this film you see a woman experiencing the hormones of labor as she sounds her way through transition into pushing for each baby’s birth.  We are discussing this film because one of the Birth characters must also produce vocals for labor.  That actress is the hospital birth educator.

I cringe still today as I recall her dramatically re-enacting labor vocals.  She is dramatic, not simply “into” the role.  Dramatic.  Flamboyant.  An actress through and through.  She decides to share her experience with a woman sounding her way through labor.  She recalls a first time mother who ‘called out’ Jesus’ name during labor.  She recalled how everyone was out in the hallway giggling to themselves and cracking jokes about praying in labor.  What she didn’t know was that the young mother was one of my birth clients.  She is Christian and her faith is the center of her world.  Very lovely mother.  In fact she had shared her birth story with me and how powerful she felt with each growing contraction and how she’d chanted her way through with the name of her Savior being the perfect punctuation and pitch to her sounds.  She had loved her birth experience and couldn’t wait to share it with others.

Two very different views of the same labor.  Really, the one that matters is mother’s.  The one though that would cause the greatest harm is that of the birth educator, also a woman, who was present.  Hers is a tale of dramatic, made-for-tv drama labor and, I’m sure, jokes about ‘real’ childbirth.  

Two years later I came across a woman who’d had a c-section at CCOG.  Her first birth.  She told me about her childbirth classes and we both identified her birth educator as this woman who had been in the play with me.  She told me just how funny this woman was and how she showed some crazy waterbirth video.  This mother also told me how she’d eaten poorly during her pregnancy, worked extended hours and extended travel during her pregnancy, been induced for labor, had a catheter and so on and so on.

Yes, I’m certain hospital-based birth classes ‘talk about’ natural childbirth.  That’s all they do, talk.

I scoff at journals who write prepared childbirth classes have no effect on birth outcomes.  Of course they don’t when the main thesis is the breathing.  As my husband and I humorously recall the scene in A Christmas Story where the family is seeking bread in a Chinese restaurant I think the same of hospital birth classes.  Many a colleague of mine has remarked the same on some variation of that scene, basically you don’t order Chinese food in an Italian restaurant, sushi in a Mexican restaurant, etc.

Nine months to grow a baby who can breathe and pump blood through their own bodies on their own.  A two-hour hospital class on how to complete admission papers, the dogma of the smallest possibility of a spinal headache (right) from an epidural, how long your baby will be away from you and how soon you can go home.  All this as though you’ve never even considered otherwise.  Learn about real birth.  Period.

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