Monday, November 16, 2009

6. Keep Your Baby With You After Your Birth

5. Get Upright and Follow Urges to Push

4. Avoid Unnecessary Interventions

3. Have Continuous Support

2. Walk, Move, and Change Position During Labor

1. Let Labor Begin on it's Own

Introduction to the 6 Healthy Birth Practices

At the Powerful Birth Gatherings we have been discussing the six Healthy Birth Practices. This video is an introduction to them.

Here is a link of "Tools and Tips" for expectant parents who are trying to apply these Healthy Birth Practices.

Thursday, October 1, 2009

Sunday, August 23, 2009

Birth Story of Clarissa

This birth story can teach women so many things, like not rushing to the hospital, not staying in the bed, trying new positions, and using other comfort measures for pain relief. It also shows the power of having support and immediate mother/baby bonding.

It is my sister's story and I am so happy for her. The baby is so cute! Thank you, Kristel, for sharing your story!!

Clarissa was born Saturday, August 15th at 7:37pm.
She weighed 6lb 10oz and was 20.5 inches long.

I woke up Saturday morning with contractions, I tried to ignore them. I was afraid I was having false labor because I was two weeks early. Meanwhile, I was hoping and praying that I would have the baby. Collin let me sleep in and made a big breakfast, which was the only thing I ate all day. Then he headed out the door for the day. All I had told him, was that my Braxton Hicks were getting stronger. I cleaned the house, ironed, did laundry, dishes, took a bath... anything I could think of to pass the time.

By 2, I tried to take a nap. I could not sleep because the contractions were consistently every 10 min. I finally started packing. Collin got home around 4:30. I told him I thought I was going to have the baby today. He looked at me a little puzzled, but just said 'sounds good to me'. By 5, my pains were getting much more intense and were every 5 minutes or so. I had to stop what I was doing and focus on breathing. Collin would put counter pressure on my hips, which helped a lot. After feeding the girls dinner, we finally called a neighbor. She came and got the girls about 6:15.

We headed to the hospital. I was so afraid they would tell me to go home. As Collin turned into the parking lot I said, 'no, I don't want to go!' So he turned the car around. Just then, I had another contraction and quickly changed my mind saying, 'okay, we better get in there!' By the time they got me settled and checked in, I was already at 7 or 8 centimeters dilated. I was so relieved. They immediately set things up for the baby to be born. We called mom and dad to come get the girls.
My doctor was gone, so I had requested the midwife to come. My nurse was actually studying to be a midwife too, so I was pleasantly surprised with the help and support they gave me. I spent most of the last 30 minutes standing up and on the birthing ball. (The first 30 minutes was laying on the bed answering all the questions.) Collin was supporting me and the nurse was doing counter pressure on my hips. It was actually very comfortable. When I was ready to push, I climbed in the bed on my hands and knees and delivered the baby that way.

It was the first time I have been able to immediately hold the baby to my skin. She was so quiet and content, no screaming. They did not take her away for a couple hours. I just nursed her.

My parents had driven down, picked up the girls, their bags, and car seats then come to the hospital and baby had already been born. The girls each had a turn holding their new baby sister. Then they headed home with Grandma and Grandpa until Thursday. (Thanks a million mom and dad!!) Collin has also worked from home all week. It has been nice having so much time with Collin and the baby. I am not sure I am ready to take care of four kids on my own!!!

A Step in the Wrong Direction

Tina Cassidy asks the question "Why do OBs like induction so much?"

Saturday, August 22, 2009

Pregnancy Related Book List

This was the list of book titles gathered at our August 20, 2009 meeting. If you can think of any of your favorite books, please share.


Shiela Kitzinger “Complete Book of Pregnancy and Childbirth”


“Birth Your Way”

Pam England “Birthing From Within”

Ricki Lake “Your Best Birth”

Barbara Harper “Gentle Birth Choices”

Henci Goer “A Thinking Woman’s Guide to a Better Birth”

Diana Korte and Roberta Scaer “A Good Birth, A Safe Birth”

Penny Simkin “The Birth Partner”

Diana Korte “The VBAC Companion”

Klaus, Kennell, Klaus “The Doula Book”

“Mothering the Mother”

Janet Balaskas “Active Birth”


Elaine Stillerman “Mother Massage”


Landrom Shettles “How to Choose the Sex of Your Baby”


Ami McKay “The Birth House”

Anita Diamant “The Red Tent”


Jenni Overend “Welcome With Love”

Wednesday, August 12, 2009

Coping with Postpartum Depression

Here is a great article on coping with postpartum depression. If you have suffered from this, please share your thoughts and ideas of what helped you get through in the comments.

Saturday, July 18, 2009

Labor of Birth

Labor of Birth

Squeezing the pride from my womb,

filling my head with impending doom.

I try to escape to a happy place,

but the reality of pain I have to face.

The pressure, the pain won’t let me be,

regular and timely waves wash over me.

Earthly angels take their place,

at my back and at my face.

“You are doing good” they tell me, but inside my

head a voice shouts out I’m not okay I want out.

Fear gives way to despair,

burning lungs in need of air.

I’m falling, falling sinking down,

darkness, darkness all around.

A search light finds me in the night,

giving me courage to fight.

Priesthood hands upon my head,

hope and faith replaces dread;

And love flows into me.

The fight, the battle is almost won,

my work and labor almost done.

Grunting and pushing with all my might,

my primal scream into the night.

In the room shouts of joy,

“It’s a beautiful, perfect baby boy.”

My child is laid to rest,

warm and wet upon my breast.

I am powerful, I am strong,

and I will know it from now on!

Michael Cluster

This poem is dedicated to my wife, Twyla, who gave birth to or son at home July 3, 2009

Friday, July 17, 2009

Pregnant Robot

I am not sure what to think about this. It is interesting. I think that these students will be in for the shock of their lives when they attend a birth with a REAL woman. Especially when the mother doesn't cooperate with what they dictate.

Tuesday, June 30, 2009

Sling Along Baby Slings

I wanted to share my neighbors sling business with you. Slings are such a great way to carry your baby. Keeps baby close and happy and instills security within the newborn, so much better than lugging around those bulky car seats.

Tuesday, June 2, 2009


Cesareans DO have risks. Thanks for sharing, Pam.
Click HERE
Be sure to click on the art work in the article. It is profound.

Tuesday, May 12, 2009

Birth Story of Milo

I've had a difficult time wanting to write this story - or knowing HOW to write it. I don't even know WHEN the "birth" story started. I felt like I'd been in labor for at least a week before Milo was born, and by the time I knew for certain that it was the "real deal," it felt like a bad joke. That said, everything went well once things really began to happen, and I shouldn't have any complaints. I had a list of things that I wanted in my birth:

a healthy baby
a natural birth (no IV or drugs)
my doctor
to make it to the hospital in good time (not too early or too late)
I got all of those things!

I've gone back and forth about what to include in this birth story, and I've decided to error on the side of telling too much, rather than to pick and choose what to include. So this will be long (it's already long!),but it felt long at the time, so maybe it's appropriate. Today I'm going to post the preliminary stuff, and then later, I'll post the actual BIRTH story. :) Feel free to skip all of it if you want to. :)

With this being my 5th baby, I felt a lot of braxton hicks contractions - starting back in November, and getting progressively worse until in March I was going a little nuts. After 36 weeks, the contractions got a lot stronger, more often, and more regular. On Friday, April 3rd, the contractions were strong and 3 minutes apart. I felt awful - nauseous, light headed, sick . . . after agonizing about what to do, John and I decided to go to the hospital to find out what was going on. It didn't seem too likely that I was in active labor, but with contractions that close together, we didn't want to risk having the baby in the car or something.

Greg came up to stay with our kids,and we arrived at the hospital around 11:30 pm. Once I was in bed and hooked up to the monitors, the contractions slowed down in both frequency and intensity. After an hours' observation, the nurse said we could go home, or walk around, shower, etc. to try to get things to pick up again. We were tired, so we went home, fully expecting to be back soon. (My cervix hadn't dilated during that hour, but it had gotten much softer, so our nurse was optimistic that we'd be back in the next day or two at most. Although I know these things are unpredictable,I held onto the hope that she was right.)

She wasn't. I continued to have fairly regular and strong contractions (up to my due date), but they didn't progress.

The next Wednesday (April 8th) was my due date, and I had my 40 week appointment that morning. My doctor was leaving for spring break with her family early in the morning on the 10th, so I knew I had less than 48 hours to have my baby if I wanted her there. And I did. I'm generally opposed to induction, and I really like to just let things happen, but the previous weeks' fake-outs/practice and the desire to have the baby before my doctor left won out, so I asked her to strip my membranes. The theory is that if your body is ready,stripping the membranes can help start labor - that's what happened with Ruby, so I was hopeful that it would once again get things moving. If my body was not ready to have the baby, stripping the membranes wouldn't do anything.It seemed like a safe move.

I came home from my appointment and took Ruby and Jonah on a nice long walk. During our walk, the contractions were really intense, and 5 minutes apart. We came home for a break, and the contractions slowed down and got weaker. We walked to the school to get Maxwell. Once again, the contractions kicked in. And once again, after we got home,they slowed way down.

After lunch, Ruby and I went out to walk, AGAIN. This time the contractions were quite painful,and at least 5 minutes apart - many coming closer together. The wind was blowing, it was cold, and I was tired, so we came home - only to have things slow down again!

That afternoon, I helped the kids practice piano and do their reading. We walked to piano lessons and back a couple of times (with strong contractions each time). We made popcorn balls. I sewed four burp cloths and made dinner. Finally,around 6 pm, my contractions seemed to stay strong when I was not walking, but by this point, it seemed like a cruel joke.

After dinner, I sat down and read a book while John put the kids to bed, I took a shower, and then watched a movie with John. The entire time I was wondering if I should be paying attention to the contractions, or if it was another false alarm. At 10 pm, we started to get ready for bed, and debated whether or not to call Greg. Eventually, I gave him a call. I explained that I wasn't too optimistic, but there was a chance that labor would get serious that night and we'd need him to watch the kids. I asked if he'd rather spend the night, or just come up in the unlikely chance that John and I decided to go to the hospital. Greg said he'd just come up and spend the night. Shortly after I got off the phone with Greg, my contractions became more painful, and I started to feel sick. By the time Greg arrived, I'd decided that we'd better go to the hospital. I gathered my things together, and we'd set out - just like we had almost a week earlier.

When we got to the hospital (at about 11:30 pm), they quickly got us into a room (my reputation for quick births preceded us because a nurse we'd had before was working). Our doctor was called, and she told them to do a 20 minute test strip, to let me move around after that, and that she would be over soon. When she arrived, she had the nurse set the room up so they'd be ready when I was. Ruby, Jonah, and Maxwell were all born less than 2 hours after we arrived at the hospital, and my doctor seemed confident that this labor would follow the pattern set by my last two births. On the other hand, I was worried that we'd spend the night with everyone waiting and waiting for me to have the baby, and that he wouldn't be born for HOURS.

At about 12:45, I asked to be checked because the contractions were very strong. I'm always hesitant to be checked because the news can either be encouraging, or very depressing. Luckily, I had progressed to a 7, so I was encouraged, although still not confident that things would move quickly. My doctor and a nursing student stayed in the room with John and I after that. It was nice to have people to visit with between contractions, although it was kind of strange to have everyone quiet down while I was having a contraction. A little while later, I began to feel pressure (not quite an urge to push, but close to it) during contractions. After a few contractions like that, I asked to be checked again, and was found to be complete. The urge to push was still not overwhelming, and I was worn out emotionally, if not physically, so I asked my doctor to break my bag of waters to speed things up a little. After a few more contractions, she broke my water, and said I could push whenever I felt like it. I pushed on the next contraction, but it was so weak no one could tell I'd done it! Argh!

I pushed harder on the next contraction, and the next,and the next, and I started to wonder what was going on! The last 3 babies had all been born in just a couple of pushes, and I couldn't figure out what was taking so long.It turns out that Milo wasn't in the right position,so as I pushed, he was rotating into position before he could be born. (I wonder if breaking the bag of water made him drop down before he rotated all the way. If so, it was my own fault that I had to push so much longer.) The pushing was really hard and really scary. I always forget how painful and scary pushing is for me.

It's so strange to be the one in labor. No one else can feel what you're feeling, and even though John and my doctor are there, I feel pretty alone.Birthing my baby is something I have to do - no one can do it for me, and besides the baby, everyone else is mostly spectating. This time, the difference between the experience that the others had was markedly different from what I was experiencing. I managed to not scream out loud, so the nurses, my doctor, and even John thought that I was doing really well. I LOOKED calm, in control, and focused as I pushed. What I remember is totally different. I was scared silly, in a ton of pain, and felt like I was freaking out. It just hurt too badly to open my mouth to yell or scream or cry or even to open my eyes to see the birth (I always plan to watch the birth, and I've never been able to keep my eyes open). I remember thinking of how much it hurt, and how long it was taking, and just wanting it to be over and for him to be OUT. It felt more like chaos than calm to me.

Eventually, my pushing and his rotating did their job,and Milo was born! John helped to catch, and I managed to open my eyes to see my baby (and to ask for my camera so I could get a picture of John holding our newborn).

Once the cord stopped pulsing, John cut it, and I got a chance to hold our baby. He was hungry! Milo was basically born rooting. :) He was quickly cleaned up and weighed
(we were all a little shocked at his size - my biggest baby), and then I got to hold and feed him while the doctor finished taking care of me.
Milo hardly cried at all, which worried me, but his color was good and no one else was concerned. He was born at 1:17 am. Great timing. Just as my doctor finished with me, she headed over to another hospital to deliver another baby. :)
To read Jenny's blog and see beautiful pictures of Milo click HERE.

Tuesday, April 28, 2009

How to Make a Belly Cast

Supplies needed:
Rigid Wrap. ( You can buy this at most craft stores. I would buy 3 packs, maybe 4. They should cost about $4 a pack.
Old bra
bowl of warm water

Wear the old bra. Wear grubby pants down low under your belly.
Slather your belly and breasts with the Vaseline. Make sure you cover every area you plan on casting. This will allow the cast to come off easily.
Cut the rigid wrap into smaller pieces. Some about 8 inches, some 12 inches, some 18 inches.
Dip the larger pieces in the warm water and lay on your belly. Smooth it out.
Do that all over and in different directions. Smothing as you go. Use smaller pieces in touch up areas.
Do a few layers.
Try to make a nice edge.
It will harden quickly and you can lift it off.
Shower off and wash all the Vaseline off.

I've also heard of women using plastic wrap (like saran wrap) instead of Vaseline. I've never done that.

I hope it works for you.

Friday, April 24, 2009

Blessing Ways

What is a blessing way? It is a celebration of the mother and her journey to motherhood. It is an event to fill the mother with positive energy for her upcoming labor and delivery. It is a time to boost the mother’s confidence in her ability to birth her baby. It is also a time to support her and surround her with love.


At the beginning of the blessing way it is fun to go around the room and do introductions, even if everybody knows each other. Some fun ways of doing introductions are to:

Have each woman introduce herself by saying, “My name is Jane. I am the granddaughter of Esther and Emily. Daughter of Karen. Mother to Megan and Tyler.”

Have the guests each light a candle.

Have the guests pass a ball of yarn around. Continue through the evening. Let the “web” created show the support circle for the mother. After the evening is over, everyone can cut a piece of the yard and tie it around her wrist as a reminder. They can wear it until the baby is born.

Pamper Mom

There are many things you can do to pamper the mother at the blessing way. Here are some ideas:

Foot rub

Belly cast


Belly silhouette (trace mom’s shadow on a large paper or poster hung on the wall while a lamp shines on mom’s side profile. Can decorate it)


Hand massage


Take photographs


Rose petals

Clean her house


The blessing is a well-wish or an uplifting thought. Here are some ideas:






Balloon release

Birth art/ postpartum art


Gifts at a blessing way are not traditional like a baby shower. They are centered around the mother and usually go along with the blessing given. Here are some ideas:



Beads (usually they go with the blessings and the mother can make a necklace or bracelet with the beads from all the guests)

Poster (this is something everyone could draw birth art on or write on for the mother to hang and look at during labor. You could do this with the silhouette.)

Coupons for postpartum service, complete with date, time, and what you will do. (example: June 4th, 1:00 I’m coming to fold laundry and hold baby while you take a nap.)

Scrapbook. This could easily incorporate the blessings. If everyone knows before coming the size of the book, they could prepare their blessing on the correct size paper and then the blessings could all be kept together. The mother could look at the book during labor for encouragement. This would be ideal if the mother plans to birth outside her home. It is easy to transport. Even if she plans to birth at home she could neatly hang these on her wall and put them away when she is done with them. Then it is an easy way to store them forever.

Candles. These could also be tied into the blessings given.

Piece of fabric. Then later they could be sewn together to make a blanket.

Tokens, figurines, cards, or anything symbolic of the blessing.

Music. Is there a song with special meaning?

Food. What new mother doesn’t love a frozen casserole?! Or better yet, chocolate.

Sometimes the mother will prepare a gift for her guests to take home. Here are some thoughts:

A candle. The mother can ask someone to call the women when she is in labor and the women all light their candles to remember the laboring mother and say a prayer for her.

Music. The mother can prepare a disc of music and give it to her guests to have them play and remember her during labor.

Lotion or soap. Maybe the women could wear the lotion when they find out that the mother is in labor. As they smell the lotion, they will remember her and think of her during her labor.

Bracelet or something the women could wear during the mother’s labor.

Flowers, flower bulbs, or seeds.

Other things to consider are invitations (just a phone call? Email? Or something mailed?), food (are you bringing dinner, fruit, desserts? What ever it is don’t leave it up to the mother to prepare.), decorations, and entertainment (a video, song, or maybe even a belly dance?)

Blessing ways are wonderful and uplifting for all who attend. And so much fun! Please add comments if you think of any other great ideas or things you have seen done at blessing ways. Or just tell me what you think of blessing ways, especially if you have never heard of them before.

Thursday, March 19, 2009

Pregnancy and Birth Memorabilia

Belly casts
Pam, Twyla, Kristina, Becky
Twyla, Kristina, Becky
Michelle, Sara

The topic for the gathering today was pregnancy and birth keepsakes. We enjoyed sharing some of the following:

-Birth videos
-Belly casts
-Pregnancy Photos
-Birth Photos
-Birth stories
-Placenta Prints
-Scrapbook, baby book

Thursday, February 19, 2009

Preparations for Home Birth

In the gathering today we talked about planning for home births. We often talk about birth plans for hospital births, but it was nice to shift that to home births and see where the discussion led. Preparing for a home birth is a bit different than preparing for a hospital birth. At home we are not trying to avoid interventions but we often tend to think people are going to know what we want. But there are still many things to consider. It may help to write them all down. It is important that those who will be at the birth are aware of your wishes before hand. Here is the rough list of things we discussed.
1. Supplies. where are they?
2. Specific wants and are they ready/charged? Camera, music, smells.
3. Notes of important phone numbers.
4. Emergency transfer notes. Important things that husband (who most likely would be frazzled in that circumstance) and hospital staff need to know. For example, no vitamin K shot, no eye ointment, etc.
5. Rolls for those who will be there. Is someone to make a cake? Do you want each child do have a job?
6. Please do not’s. Are there things you do not want people to say to you or places you don’t want touched? Do you have quirks?
7. What to wear.
8. Who is in charge of older children?
9. Foods you want.
10. What to do with the placenta.
11. Reminders of what you like. What you want to hear or where you like to be rubbed. Or do you need to be reminded to use the bathroom?
12. Cord clamping. Who and when or if.
13. Place you plan to birth. Are you setting up a pool? Does anything need special prep? Do you need certain things out or put away?
14. Affirmation poster or art to help inspire you. Do you want it hung up somewhere? Do you have thoughts or scriptures to help you?
15. What procedures do you want done to baby? When?
16. Are there special things to have handy? Like a flashlight or desk lamp. Maybe a fan?

We had our first man attend the gathering, which I really enjoyed. I love to hear a man’s point of view on these things. My husband has been at all the meetings, but he is downstairs saving children’s lives. Men are always welcome. “Proper prior planning prevents poor performance,” was a quote that Jamie Mosser memorized August 22, 1991! He shared it with us today as we talked about preparing for birth. We all know we can’t plan everything, but what a difference to be ready as much as possible for the situation.

After the discussion we listened to two recent birth stories. We had a great time!

Wednesday, January 28, 2009

Woman Gives Birth to Eight Babies!

A lady gave birth to EIGHT babies! She is planning to breastfeed them. I'm just wondering if she has a special time machine to make her day longer. I have ONE baby and feel like I spend all day nursing. Is it possible to nurse 8 newborns in a 24 hour period and still have time to use the bathroom, or better yet sleep?

Thursday, January 22, 2009

Overcoming Fears

The discussion on overcoming fear at today’s gathering was great! First, we talked about what fears, struggles, and issues we have now or have had. Here is the rough list we came up with.

  • Multiple kids (as in, can I handle another one?!)
  • Transfer to hospital
  • Fear of judgment
  • Losing it in the middle of labor
  • What if I don’t know I am in labor
  • Sick baby
  • Baby dies
  • Pain
  • Huge baby
  • Long, difficult labor
  • Baby’s position
  • Hemorrhage
  • Cord prolapsed
  • Wrapped cord
  • Over confident in my ability
  • Not being able to do it
  • Breastfeeding trouble

We discussed these fears. We asked why we have them and where they stemmed from. Then we brainstormed some ways of coping and/or solutions. Some of these are just distractions from the real problem. But, at times, that is what it takes.

  • Prayer.
  • Take a walk.
  • Meditation, visualization.
  • Shopping.
  • Discussing with close friend, care provider, religious leader
  • Eating- chocolate
  • Give it six weeks (with nursing problems) But with many issues, time can usually help. Patience.
  • Journaling.
  • Birth art (We did this at the gathering!)
  • Educate ourselves.
  • Find the root of the fear. Why is this an issue for me?
  • Relaxing. (bath, breathing, read)
  • Music.
  • Focus on the good. Especially, with pregnancy. There is GOOD in it!
  • Take it slow. If you are overwhelmed, take it as you can. Bit by bit.
  • Do all we can for our health.

This was an uplifting discussion. I felt it could apply to struggles other than what we face in pregnancy and the delivery.

There is power in conquering or surviving hard challenges. After triumphing a natural delivery one mom at the gathering this morning said, “I no longer doubt my ability to do anything!” How big of a statement is that?! We are strong! When we face something hard and get through it, we are STRONGER!

Tuesday, January 13, 2009

Choosing a Doula

You have decided you want a doula’s help. Now what? How do you go about finding the right one for you and your husband?

I think it is important to interview more than one. Ask around for references. Look online. You can call them on the phone and get a feel for them, narrow your list, then interview them in person. Here are some questions to consider:

1. How much do you charge?
2. What do your fees include? What do I get for my money? (Do they do prenatal visits? Postpartum visits? Birth photography? Classes?)
3. What do you feel your role is at my birth?
4. What is your philosophy about birth?
5. What is your experience?
6. What do you feel the father’s role is at birth?
7. Do you try to be a voice for the couple, or let them speak to the nurse and doctor for themselves? (I feel it is NOT the doula’s job to tell nurses and doctors what they want. They can offer their knowledge, but the decisions and voicing them is the couple’s responsibility.)
8. What are the benefits to hiring you?
9. Do you have back-up? Have you missed many births?
10. Are you available for answering questions before delivery and postpartum?
11. When do you come to help and how long do you stay? Will you come to my house?

These are just a few that I can think of right now. Please comment if you have gone through this process and have helpful advice. Likewise, please comment if you are a doula and have helpful advice for couples searching for the right one.