Birth and Faith Survey

April 6, 2008 in Birth

I created a survey to look at if and how someone’s faith could effect their birth.  Please take a few minutes to fill it out!  It should only take about 5 minutes. 

 Click Here to take survey

If you took a Hypnosis for Childbirth course and want to do a survey regarding your experiences with that, I made a survey for that too.

Thanks!  I will share the results in May.

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Emotional Aspects of Being a Doula

April 5, 2008 in Birth, Birth Stories, Cesarean, Doula

The Trust Birth Conference was very interesting.  It was fun talking with other doulas there.  We had one group discussion and someone talked about how our work as Doula’s can be effected by our births. 

It made me think of my 2 cesareans I have attended as a doula. 

I always was nervous how supporting a mom with a cesarean would effect me, because of my first birth.   I had an emergency cesarean at 34 weeks.  It was scary, my baby was in the NICU, I didn’t get to hold him for 24 hours.  It was medically necessary, but still not anything I would want any mom to experience. 

So I was talking to this doula about this and came to realize how God had really helped me deal with the ability to suport moms during cesareans, while not letting my emotions from my birth get in the way.  He did this in an interesting way. 

My first cesarean was Mom B and it was not an emergency situation.   It unraveled over 24 hours.  A long induction for a first time mom.  Exhaustion was the real reason for the cesarean.  She was well supported and respected and made the best choice for the situation she was in.  It was still hard for me to accept in some ways.  It was still quite devastating, because I knew what she was losing and gaining in her choice. 

Since it happened slowly, I had time to come to grips with the situation and help support her through that.  It wasn’t really until afterwards that I broke down.  (There were many facets to that, it was the end of being away from my house for pretty much 57 hours for 2 long inductions.) But driving home I called Jenn, my good friend and all I could say was, “She got a cesarean.” and then started crying and couldn’t really stop.  Jenn is a cesarean mom too, so she understood.   I still tear up thinking about it and it was 5 months ago. 

Fast forward to 2 months ago and I am at another birth.  Mom K is on pitocin after supposed PROM.  OB checks her and she has bulging forewaters, so she goes to break that, without even planning on telling mom.  I jump in to say, “Looks like OB is going to break your water!”   

Baby doesn’t tolerate it well at all, they try changing positions, then try amnioinfusion.  I can tell things are getting dicey.  Suddenly OB is in there and without telling K anything, putting in an internal monitor.  I am calmly telling mom what is going on.  Then OB goes for second Internal Monitor, I say to K, “It looks like you might be going for a cesarean.”  OB calls Code Green, room fills with people.  No one is talking to K at all.  The room is in chaos.  I feel totally calm.  I say to K, “Go to your special place.  You and your baby will be fine.”  Mom and Dad are gone within minutes. 

I am left alone in the room.   I still feel calm.  This was the situation I was most afraid of.  Being in a situations close to Devon’s birth.  But in reality I think that first birth with B, helped prepare me for this cesarean.  It helped me deal with a lot of my emotions regarding Devon’s birth, so that I could be present and calm for K when I needed to be. 

K and baby were fine.  I loved that she was able to recover back in her room with baby in the room with her.  She was holding him skin to skin within an hour after he was born. 

It was a much easier birth for me to deal with as a doula.  It was medically necessary (though I see very clearly different interventions may have caused that necessity).   I was able to provide support before and after.  I didn’t shed any tears, though I do feel sorry for K that she joined the sisterhood of the scar.  It is something I do not wish for anyone. 

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Long Back to Back Births

April 2, 2008 in Birth, Birth Stories, Cesarean, Doula

The end of  2007 I attended two very long births back to back.  Out of 63 hours I was gone 57.  I was home for a few hours of sleep between them.  I missed my 2 year olds birthday and honestly I don’t know where my boys were during that whole time.  I wasn’t worried, I knew that they were with friends and DH and they were fine. 

Both births were for first time moms who were induced, hence the longness.  (I am not sure if that is a word, but it seems right for this post!)

Here is the short version. 

Tuesday night go to hospital to support my single mom client, A.  She was on pitocin by 5am.  She started having back labor and when she discovered she was still 1.5 cm. she wanted an epidural.  Her OB said Ok.  She did progress and had baby vaginally around 6:30 pm.   Got her settled in postpartum and headed home by 9pm Wed.  

In bed at 10 pm and up at 3am Thursday off to another birth.  Mom B, was induced with pitocin at 5am on Thursday. (had been in hospital since 3 pm Wed. afternoon because of low amniotic fluid) She handled things well throughout the day.  She chose to get water broken at 6pm when she still hadn’t progressed.  Things got very intense and she chose an epidural at 8:15 pm.  She rested, but was quickly getting exhausted and by 4 am was so discouraged and back pain started coming through the epi.  Baby was posterior and at 5am mom chose elective cesarean.  I was going to be able to go in with Dad and Mom, but her sister got there just in time so she got to go in and I got to go rest.   I was able to see mom after recovery.  She was just exhausted.   Didn’t even hold the baby yet when I saw her at 10 am.   It was so sad for me to see.   Baby was fine, mom was past exhausted, but ok physically… I was exhausted too.

My reflections on these births. 

Interestingly enough, I felt like A, while she had a better outcome (vaginal birth), was not treated with the same respect as B.  The nurse for A caught her eating and read her the riot act.  Then after she accepted the epidural, there was a time when the baby’s heart rate was looking fishy, so she ended up with an internal monitor.  The nurse said, in a snotty voice, “That’s what you get for having a 2 page birth plan!”  I was shocked and saddened by her unkindness.  

 Mom B on the other hand was treated very respectfully by everyone.   They respected her choices.  While it ended in a cesarean, I was happy to see how she was not coerced into it.  This is from my birth story I wrote for mom. 

OB comes in at 5 am, she talks to B.  “How are you doing?” 

B. says, “Horrible, I just can’t do this anymore.  I am nauseous.

OB, “Let’s check to see how you are progressing, baby looks good and you are ok, so there is no emergency.”   B is 7cm.  OB checks baby’s position, baby is positioned a little funny.  OB goes over options.  “We can wait and keep on going, baby is doing well, but it may continue to be slow progress because of babies position.  Or we can do a cesarean now.”

B. quickly responds she wants the cesarean.  He DH agrees and in many ways I do too.  She is SO exhausted I really don’t know if she could push a baby out even at this point if it was time to push.   

I was still heartbroken about it, because I knew it wasn’t a medically necessary cesarean and I hated to see her get cut, to join the sisterhood of the scar.  I cried for a few days because of it.  But she was informed and she made the choice.  I think it was the best one for her at the time.  I went through a lot of second guessing, what else could I have done as her doula to help prevent this?  Did I fail her somehow?   B and I have talked a few times about it.   Her saddest part is she doesn’t remember the first time she held her baby. 

It was interesting, I went to visit her after she got out of recovery.  But I didn’t want to see her baby in the NICU, because I did not want to see her baby before she did.  That seemed to wrong to me.  I remember that empty feeling, when my Devon was in the NICU and I was in a room alone.  So empty.  I think this birth was an interesting step for me in regards to emotionally dealing with some issues from my birth.  But that is a whole other post! 

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April is Cesarean Awareness Month

April 2, 2008 in Birth, Cesarean, VBAC

I have had a cesarean with my first baby.  It was a medical emergency and I feel that it saved my baby’s life.  Baby was not OK and needed to be born NOW.  I am grateful for living today when this medical intervention is possible. 

 I have had 2 VBACs.  They were normal births, baby was ok and mommy was ok, so I didn’t need medical intervention. 

Too many moms today are getting cesareans.  They are not all needed.  Too many moms are getting scared into cesareans or repeat cesareans by their care providers before their birthing time even begins.  This is not really about a mom choosing a cesarean, this is about a mom being railroaded into one.  This is not empowering to a mother. 

Women deserve to know all their options.  Women deserve to know the risks of VBAC and the risks of repeat cesarean, so they can choose what is best for them! 

For those who are planning on having more than 1 or 2 children this post at Rixa’s blog, is very important for you to read! 

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Why is she choosing a Cesarean?

February 14, 2008 in Birth, Cesarean, Childbirth Education

 This post is NOT about medically necessary cesareans, there are certainly times when choosing a cesarean is obviously the best choice, when the life of mom or baby is at stake.  This is also is a total of 4 posts that go together, scroll down my blog for the rest!

It is sometimes frustrating to see moms choose to schedule a cesarean without what we (people who trust birth) see as a true medical need.   It is easy to blame the moms, why don’t they know better? 

Well, I think the problem is not with the moms, it is with the birthing community leading them to that choice in many different ways…  The moms are often scared into a cesarean or don’t realize they have other options.

Here are some ways moms are led to cesareans before their birthing time even begins. 

Some are gently led there, by little lies given along the way by their care providers.  The big baby card is a prevalent way care providers do this today.  (Your baby looks like it is going to be big… your pelvis is small… this baby is too big for you to birth, you had better have a cesarean) 

Some are scared into it, VBAC moms are told it isn’t safe, or they can never have a vaginal birth, it didn’t work last time, it won’t this time either. 

Some are told vaginal birth isn’t even an option… your baby is breech; you HAVE to have a cesarean.  Moms don’t even know they have a choice, they can try to turn the baby or they can find a care provider who supports vaginal breech birth.  (It is hard to find these care providers, because many are not being trained to do so.)

Twin moms are also often talked into cesareans.  I am not so familiar with the reasons they are given for this, but I know that many moms with twins assume they have to have a cesarean.  So if you know some of the reasoning, feel free to add to my comments.

Scroll down to read the following posts…

So what can we do to help an individual mom?

What if she doesn’t listen?

What can we do to help change the system?

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Talking to a mom planning a cesarean

February 14, 2008 in Birth, Cesarean, Childbirth Education, VBAC

 When I find out someone is planning a cesarean, I start by asking, “Why?”  It helps that I can say, “I had a cesarean with my first baby.  Why are you having one?” 

Then I listen to their reasons.  I ask how they feel about having a cesarean.  Some moms feel really good about it, they have already done their research and know it is the best choice for them.   Most are more on the fence and seem to want more information. 

Making choices with limited information or out of fear is not empowering.  If a Mom is open, I share information of what her choices really are and places she can go to do some research.  I offer support and help if she wants it.

There are a lot of great resources for moms to go to.  For instance moms who have already had cesareans can go to ICAN to find a lot of great information about VBACs.  I also have gathered some resources here. For moms given the big baby card, I send them to this page I wrote about it, after having SO many moms say their OBs were feeding them this line.  Here is a great post with information for moms with Breech Babies

I think that the moms who take time to question what they are being told and do research will be able to make the choice that is really best for them!  They also will feel better about their decision, because it is theirs!  They are making an informed decision, rather than a coerced decision.   Many upon doing some research will realize that a vaginal birth is a good option for them.  They may need to change care providers in order to have support in getting one.    

Some moms may still choose to have a cesarean.  They have taken all the information and combined it with their intuition to make the best choice for them.  This should be respected and supported.  Moms know what is best for them (when they have all the information).   At this point as a friend or CBE, I would fully support them in their decision and help them prepare to have the best possible cesarean birth.  

I will admit, it is sometimes a struggle, if I don’t completely understand their choice.  But I think it is important for me to support them, regardless of what I think.  It is their body and baby and their choice!

Here are the related posts…

What if she doesn’t listen?

What can we do to help change the system?

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Is Education Enough?

January 26, 2008 in Birth, Birth Care Provider, Cesarean, Childbirth Education, Choose Wisely, Doula, Pregnancy

This post is somewhat prompted by reading a blog entry about how it bugs this mom when people say educate yourself about birth, because she educated herself but still didn’t have a good birth experience. The birth environment today is not always accepting of normal births, so it can be a challenge to have one. Education alone may not get you the birth you want. You need to know who the good care providers are (the ones who TRUST birth) and the good hospitals/birth centers (who are flexible in their routines). You need to make choices before and during the birth and have support for those choices! I try to share tame but telling stories in my Hypnobabies Childbirth Education classes to demonstrate the importance of and to motivate my students to seriously question their care providers and to find out what they really feel about birth, what their care providers are supportive of, etc. But a lot of a birth experience comes down to the fact if you birth in a hospital you often have less control over who will be caring for you and you will have to fight to avoid their normal routine procedures. You can read some of these stories at this post.

I find it personally interesting/scary to read these nurses blogs (ReBirth and House of Harris) about all the things that go on at hospital births and how it really bothers them to see it. I am not anti-hospital birth, but I am pro-educate yourselves about what really goes on there, so that you can be proactive in choosing what YOU want for your birth and finding out if it is possible in the hospital you are planning on birthing at and with the care provider you have chosen.

Talk to your care provider and birth location about what you want and see if they can provide it. Are they full of scare tactics* (more on this in a future post) to get you to do what they want? Do they want to hear what you are asking? Most moms go along with whatever they are told, so they may not be used to moms asking questions.

I think that part of me wishes more moms would read these “scary” blogs, but only if it would cause them to say, “Holy Cow, I don’t want a birth like that!” Then using that motivation they learn how to be proactive in their births. To educate themselves on what their choices are, from where to have their baby; to different interventions and their pros and cons. Then take that information and instead of becoming fearful of it, become empowered by it and make choices before and during their birth to create the best birth they can.

I will admit that this is not always easy in the typically medically managed birth environment in America today. Most moms are not going to have the time to go on 6 different hospital tours to find out all this information, or interview numerous OBs and Midwives.

Please take advantage of the doulas and Independent Childbirth Educators in your area. We are here to help you. Even if you don’t hire us or take our classes we are so happy and excited to share our knowledge of care providers and birth location options to help you have a more enjoyable birth! We have the inside scoop on what is going on in your area. Get our recommendations for hospitals and care providers and then check out 2 different hospitals, OBs from the hospital you like, a birth center and midwives; both hospital/birth center and homebirth midwives. Then you really will know all your options! It is never too late to change (well until the baby is actually emerging.)

For instance where I am, there are 6 hospitals in my immediate area. There are only 2 that I would really recommend to an expecting mom. If you called me I would share my reasons why these 2 are the best, which cover many different things such as typical routines, nurses, how moms are typically cared for after a cesarean.

In many hospitals after a cesarean moms go to the recovery room and babies go to the NICU. Moms are separated for hours from their babies. At other hospitals moms and babies recover in the same room. Mom can hold the baby ASAP. This can make a huge difference in how a mom feels about her birth. This is not something most moms would think of asking about, especially if they are not even thinking about having a cesarean.

Sometimes in order to know what we want, we have to know what we don’t want.

I have taken somewhat similar paths to 3 very different births: emergency cesarean, VBAC with epidural and an un-medicated VBAC. By making a few extra choices, my last was a lovely un-medicated birth in a hospital setting. I am now in a place where I would choose a homebirth for my next baby. For me it was having a comfortable un-medicated birth using Hypnobabies that made me realize I could do a home birth. (Fear of pain made me want to be at the hospital). But now I know I can be comfortable at home and for me that will be the next logical place to have a baby.

We are all on our own paths to our different births. I can’t tell you which path to take, that is up to you! Remember you have the power to make choices along the way which can help lead you to a more enjoyable birth. Educating yourself is just one of the things that will help you along the way. It may take some sacrifice and courage to go on a different path but it will be well worth the effort.

*** I specifically use the word care provider (CP) because choosing a midwife does not guarantee a certain type of birth… it isn’t as easy as OB or Midwife. Each care provider is different, just as each birth location is different. There are wonderful flexible OBs who trust birth and Midwives who are very routine based and don’t trust birth. I tend to refer to hospitals instead of hospitals/birth centers because it is too long to write the whole thing. There are birth centers which are just as stuck in their routines as hospitals! It isn’t as easy as birth center or hospital either.

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