Monday, December 20, 2010

Beautiful Nativity

Follow this link to see the painting that inspired the thoughts below much larger.  I love it.

Saturday, December 11, 2010

A Christmas Birth

On September 15th, 2010 I gave birth to my sixth baby, my fifth boy. I have kept this birth in a quiet place. It has had a different impression. I feel a reverence for this baby’s arrival. I am a simple woman who was able to deliver a miracle. I was supported by my husband who was concerned for me and the baby, but believed in my body’s ability to birth. I was attended by two gifted women who are blessed with the ability to anchor a mother through labor and birth. I also feel there were angels attending and watching over. Angels who were fully invested in the events. Angels who love my family and I. I gave birth in simple circumstances, and love that. After the birth, I felt an overwhelming responsibility for the new person in my arms. Who is this tiny boy?

It is Christmas time. Pondering the birth of the Savior of the world, the world he created, brought similar feelings as my son’s birth. I am sure Mary had to succumb to the power of her body. She brought forth a true miracle. Joseph was her protector. What were his thoughts as he supported her and the imminent arrival of the babe? I imagine there were women there. Women allowing her to birth the way she needed, providing only what women can do for other women, and bringing a feeling of calmness and safety. I know that angels watched, protected, and rejoiced. The heavens were opened. The Christ child was delivered to the earth in the simplest circumstances. I wonder if Mary was overcome with her calling as a mother. I wonder if she felt a reverence for all that she had experienced. I assume she did as the scriptures tell us that, “Mary kept all these things and pondered them in her heart.”

Birth is a powerful miracle. The birth of our Savior was so much more! As I reflect on these two births with their differences and similarities, I am overwhelmed. I am overwhelmed by the feelings I experienced at my own baby’s birth and still now in retrospect. How much more, then, it must have been for our Savior’s birth.

Monday, November 29, 2010

Reflections from a Mother

Here are some thoughts from a mother thinking back to her first home birth, fifth delivery (sixth baby).  Have you ever wondered how home births are different from hospital births?

Friday, October 22, 2010

What I Wish I'd Known

What happens when you get a room full of women who have given birth, some several times? Experience. Considering each labor and delivery were unique and different, there was a lot learned in those experiences. We opened the question up, “What do you wish you had known before labor and birth?”

Here is a list of the ideas shared:

• I can do it! With the first baby especially, many expecting moms are told they cannot give birth without an epidural.

• I can keep my baby with me.

• Listen to my inner voice, my intuition.

• Don’t fight labor.

• Hire a doula.

• Surround myself with good support during pregnancy .

• Don’t listen to the horror stories.

• Make plans, make a birth plan (review it with doctor).

• I can switch providers mid pregnancy

• It is pain of hard work. It has a purpose.

• The feeling of desperation means my baby will soon be in my arms.

• Skin to skin will keep baby’s temperature up.

• Babies don’t have to cry after birth.

• Due date is a month

We also asked to the moms-to-be what they would like to know before labor.

• Good pregnancy and birth books

• Good classes to take

If you have any other ideas, leave them in the comments. I can add them to the list. Thanks to everyone who came and shared!

Tuesday, June 15, 2010

Summer Social!!

Friday, June 18th
6:00 pm
Anjie's house

Bring: your family, a potluck, and whatever you want grilled!

Hope you can come!

Friday, April 2, 2010

April Powerful Birth Group Gathering

April 15th is tax day! Yuck! But if you want something fun to look forward to that day you need to come to the Powerful Birth Group gathering! It is at 10:00am.

April is Cesarean Awarness month and we will have Pam Udy leading our discussion. She will talk about preventing unnessasary cesareans, preparing for a VBAC (vaginal birth after cesarean), and support.

Pam has been a member of ICAN’s (International Cesarean Awarness Network) Board of Directors since 1999, and served as president. Pam has experience supporting, educating, and encouraging moms; those who are seeking to avoid a cesarean, those recovering from cesarean, and those who are searching a vaginal birth after cesarean (VBAC). Pam is a personal experience expert, having had two cesareans followed by three vaginal births. She believes women have the right to divine inspiration regarding their pregnancies and births.

Pam is well published and has been quoted in national newspapers. She have been interviewed on radio programs. She has done presentations all over the country. People pay money to listen to what she has to offer them. This is a GREAT opportunity to sit with her in my living room for free and hear her words inspire and help you to achieve a normal, vaginal birth. I am so excited!

Please tell your friends! Comment if you have an idea of numbers that are coming so I can be prepared. Comment, also, if you have a question you would like answered. Thanks!

Friday, March 5, 2010

This story had me balling. Having given birth to a special needs child, the mother's thoughts echoed many I had had. A place few understand. I honestly could not read every word. The pictures are profound.

Wednesday, February 10, 2010

Meeting at the Department of Health / Health Committee Meeting

Today I attended a meeting at the Health Department. I was late but I can assure you, not late enough!

The meeting was to discuss the one room exemption for birth suites. Some licensed midwives, two certified nurse midwives and some direct entry midwives have opened natalocs based on the exemption.

The "State" (health committee) is worried about the reason that women would choose this option for giving birth and are concerned about the "blood on their hands" because women may believe these centers are state regulated. One of the committee members said, "Maybe it is as easy as, we simply make you have a sign stating the centers are not state regulated". Many public members said, "Yes, Yes, Let's do that!"

The woman presenting the information to the committee on the behalf of the State was very anti-midwifery, home birth and VBAC, especially in an unregulated setting. While producing her own presentation she left out a lot of information showing statistical information on the safety and the precedence of care in out of hospital settings. She also incorrectly implied that LDEM's where only licensed to practice in the home, when it clearly states that they are out of hospital providers in the LDEM laws.

She also presented information on Suzanne Smith's website and pointed out that her website was very professionally created and that professionalism translates into competency and therefor is problematic. (Because being competent is a problem...for who? The State or the hospital's competing for a buck? Because it's not a problem for mothers, right?!)

All in all, it was blood pressure rising and grossly misrepresentation of qualified woman caring for their clients in the setting most comfortable for the woman. The biggest problem we face is the lack of understanding that midwives are "with women" where they need to be on their terms and in the environment they deem most comfortable to them. We support women in any position they want, we check them when they ask, or not at all if they never ask. We hold the role of support and guardian and we help sustain the measure of safety as best we can. We also understand and as do our clients that birth is as safe as life gets. There are no guarantees, We are careful cautious and we listen to our mothers. Our mothers are the ones with the most information about themselves and their babies and that is why we offer the best care available.

Medical care is so clinical and so disconnected from the woman and that is a difference that no hospital no matter how cute the paint can compete with and it isn't a model of care that fits with the medical machine.

Sadly, it looks like once again, we are headed to the state legislature. To protect the practice and lively hoods of midwives and to stop trade infringement. We need to make sure these centers can remain open and protect the midwives so they may offer their clients options for their birthing needs.

Friday, February 5, 2010

Baby Spring Fling

If you live in East Idaho, this might interest you. If you don't live in East Idaho this still might interest you. It is a Baby Spring Fling.

You can advertise an online business, or other services.
You can have a booth to promote your business.
You can attend!

Check it out and contact them for more information.

Wednesday, February 3, 2010

High Mortality Rate in California

I thought this article was very interesting. I am sure this is a problem that is spreading across the nation. Why are the pregnancy related deaths rising? This article takes a closer look and searches for answers instead of continuing to blow this off and assuming this country couldn't be doing something wrong, we just have more high risk women (or whatever other excuses I've heard.)

"In 2002, Dr. David Lagrew, the medical director of the Women’s Hospital at Saddleback Memorial Medical Center in Orange County, noticed that a lot of women were having their labor induced before term without a medical reason. And he knew that having an induction doubled the chances of a C-section.

So he set a rule: no elective inductions before 41 weeks of pregnancy, with only a few exceptions. As a result, Lagrew said, the operating room schedules opened up, and the hospital saw fewer babies admitted to the neonatal intensive care unit, fewer hemorrhages and fewer hysterectomies.

All this, however, came at a cost: The hospital had to take a cut in revenue for reducing the procedures it performed. Lagrew doubts that any hospital has increased its C-section rate in pursuit of profit, but he does note that the first hospitals to adopt controls on early elective inductions have been nonprofits.

According to a report issued by the advocacy group Childbirth Connection, “Six of the 10 most common procedures billed to Medicaid and to private insurers in 2005 were maternity related.” On average, a C-section brings in twice the revenue of a vaginal birth. Today, the C-section is the single most common surgical procedure performed in the United States.

“If all these guys were losing money on every C-section, well, what’s the old saying? Whenever they tell you it’s not about the money, it’s about the money,” Lagrew said.

Tuesday, February 2, 2010

Birth Story of Baby Harrison

Sara was kind enough to share her birth story with us. THANK YOU!!

I folded up the purple towels yesterday. Buried in the Moses basket was a baby blanket and my birth bag. All that was left in it was a single plastic drop cloth and two packets of Emergen - C. My corner of the neatly prepared birth supplies lay in a tangle on the floor - four weeks of stepping around it and glancing at what remained. I couldn’t pick it up and put everything away. It was like dismantling an altar - sacrilege. It meant moving on from the birth. It meant taking another step away from the miracle. It meant fading memories and sensations. It meant loss and grief and mourning for what was gone.

I love to cradle Harrison’s head and his little round bum. I know those same shapes - I held them inside of me and my body wrote the details of them on my soul. I knew at 39 weeks that we were close, 40 weeks closer, any day now. My body was stretched and tight and sore. I was ready to meet this baby. Even though we danced and talked together I needed more and the waiting to see this baby’s face and hear it’s cries and feel it’s breath on my cheek made me anxious.

Memories from my last birth had stayed with me. I was afraid of the pain and pushing and recovering. I thought of screams and blood and even at 41 weeks I didn’t feel ready. I expected the baby to come on the weekend. We inflated the pool, sorted through supplies again, and prepared my birth space. I made this birth space a shrine. I wanted to be surrounded by beauty and love.

My sweet friends held a mother’s blessing for me. Surrounded by candlelight they made charms and beads for me. I had a silhouette drawn and they decorated it with birth wishes and blessings. We feasted and laughed and the support I received that night stayed with my until my baby was in my arms. I placed their candles around my room along with tokens from previous pregnancies and births. A photo of a great grandmother, a belly cast from my pregnancy with Elliot, necklaces and bracelets adorned with beads from previous mothers blessings. I was ready.

Waiting is hard. Waiting to look into those new eyes and see that sweet spirit. Waiting to confirm whether it was a boy or girl. Wondering if that painful contraction meant something was happening. Hoping my husband would be home when labor started. Praying I would find the challenge and meet it and be refined.

After a few false alarms I resigned myself to surrender to the unknown. Labor would start eventually. There was certainty in a birth and a baby. And there was probably no way I was making it through another week so the certainty was soon.

I was just concerned about Jay working so far away and going to a conference in the mountains. He was too far away and a storm was coming and I was worried. He called as soon as he was done with his presentation and on his way. I was counting the minutes but at that point I knew it would all be fine. I have had short labors in the past but never under an hour and he would be home soon. I relaxed and took my heavy body off the couch where I had been quietly taking it easy all day. I went outside and watched my children play while the sky got darker. I chatted with neighbors and was relieved to see my husband pull up safely. Life was good! It was even better when Jay suggested Chinese food. He joked he would ask to get it extra spicy but I didn’t want heartburn so he picked up our regulars. I devoured the Mongolian beef and almost choked when the first bite went down - I guess we didn’t have to ask for extra spicy. The stars must have aligned because this was the spiciest we had ever had - and it was delicious.

We spent the evening relaxing and went to bed around 10. I woke up around midnight with a painful contraction. Another false alarm so I went back to sleep. There was another one, and another. I took nothing seriously because in the groggy semi-sleep state I was in time meant nothing. Had it been seconds between them? Or hours? I woke Jay up and told him to tell me how far apart the contractions were. He said they were about 4 minutes apart. I decided to stay in bed until I absolutely couldn’t deal with them anymore. That was pretty immediately though. Jay got up to get the birth pool ready and I got out of bed to wander around our dark quiet house.

I ended up in the dining room where I leaned on the counter and rocked back and forth with each contraction. They were very intense but I was still having a nice break in between them. I called to my baby and told him to come. I prayed and closed my eyes and tried to see the burning inside myself.

I went back into our bedroom to check on the progress of the pool. It wasn’t ready yet to I sat on the toilet to wait. Immediately contractions started coming stronger. Jay chatted with me through the open door and I leaned my head on our cold bathroom counter to moan through another contraction. These were strong and with every sensation I tried to look forward to the next. I knew each one was bringing me closer to the end. I felt deep pressure and reached in to feel how close my baby was. I could feel almost half of his head. I knew it wouldn’t be long until he was here. The pressure of the toilet was strong - too strong I thought. Even though I knew that position was helping I had to move.

I got up to check on the progress of the pool. The room was hot and I went to Jay’s arms for comfort. He whispered to me that it would be over soon and reassured me that I was doing a great job. He turned on some of my favorite music while I made sure the candles were glowing throughout the room and paced around the pool watching it fill up with steaming water.

Elliot woke up around this time and sat on the end of the bed just watching. He put his head in his hands and I looked into his big chocolate eyes and told him the baby was coming. He didn’t seem to concerned - he just smiled. I took him into my arms and enjoyed our last few moments with him as the baby of our family. I was worried now that he was awake. I didn’t want to be bothered while I was in the water but we were blessed and he just wanted to watch. He was quiet and helpful. He brought me cold drinks and rubbed my head.

Around 1am the contractions got much stronger and much closer together. I knew I would need the pool soon. It was almost full so I jumped in and it was instant sweet relief. I closed my eyes and relaxed my body. My arms were draped over the side of the pool. Elliot held one of my hands and Jay sat with his head next to mine. I took a deep breath at the start of each contraction, closed my eyes, and hummed along with my music. It was the same music Elliot was born to and I thought of each song and wondered which would be playing when this baby was born.

Jay offered counter pressure for my back but I wasn’t desperate for it yet. I wanted to wait until I felt it was absolutely necessary. I knew how exhausting for Jay it would be and I really needed him present. I didn’t want to waste it. I knew no measure of time. I didn’t know how long I had been working. I had no idea how long the contractions were or how close together they were. I was lost inside myself feeling a sense of warmth and peace deep within and knew I was close to that place where my baby was coming from. Was he ready? Was I ready? Who was he? Would I know him? I rubbed my big belly and breathed into another contraction. I hung on to Jay and buried my face into his neck. He was warm and familiar and whispered to me about our plans and hopes and thoughts for this birth and this baby. Elliot sat quietly just holding my hand. The breaks between my contractions got smaller and smaller and soon it seemed like I had no time to recover. Jay decided to call our friend Michelle at this point. She was coming to photograph the birth.

I was trying to think about the baby during these intense moments with the contractions coming on top of each other. I concentrated on his movements and my breathing, imagining I was sending him life and love with each breath. I talked to him and I felt like we were working together and conscious of each other. It was amazing. I could feel a lot more pressure and reached inside and I could feel his whole head with my bag of waters in front of his head pooling up like a limp water balloon. I had a lot of anxiety about the upcoming pushing stage and I was trying to stay positive. I prayed that I would have confidence and strength and health. I talked to the baby and in between contractions I would sit back and lean against Jay and smile to think of how close we were.

I started to put a little bit of pressure into a contraction to see how it would feel. I held my breath a few times with each contraction, not really pushing but putting a little bit of pressure into each sensation. I didn’t really feel any progress but the slight pushing eased the intensity of each contraction. It was around this time (1:45) that Michelle got there. The contractions were coming with very few seconds in between them. They were intense and I decided I was having this baby. I started pushing with intention and it didn’t feel like I was making much progress. I reached inside to feel the baby’s head come down but my bag of waters was still intact and when I pushed it just filled up with more water, creating more pressure, but not doing much to help the baby move down. While I gave some light pushes with the next contraction I broke the bag of waters and immediately the baby started moving a little bit. I felt his head and I could feel lots of hair. This was so exciting to me after a bunch of bald babies and I made Jay feel it. I could feel the baby working with me and slowly moving out. His head was right behind my pubic bone and it would slip back it would come down but slip back with each push. I had my hand on his head which felt so much better for some reason. I decided that it would be more effective if I moved to a squatting position. I apparently announced this to everyone and Jay tried to help me up but it felt horrible. I couldn’t move during the contractions and I wasn’t really getting a break between them and it felt all wrong. I told Jay no - no I wasn’t doing that and went back to my previous position.

I reclined on to my side again and braced my feet against the other side of the pool. Jay was holding me and trying to press on my back and I was being quite loud. Elliot started to get a little bit worried so Michelle went to grab Anicka to come sit with him. I told myself this was it. I needed to keep the pushing up. I couldn’t stop when I felt intense pressure. I thought of my mothers blessing and the strength my friends had shared with me. I thought of my previous births and I looked at the poster my friends had made. There was my big bellied silhouette and loving and powerful messages decorated it. We had talked about my birth fears - namely pushing. My friend had counseled me to just surrender and she had added that to my poster. I kept my eyes on the poster and told myself to surrender. Jay said I was whispering it while I was pushing. This gave me the strength and courage to really do it. I thought of my birth with Elliot and my midwife telling me to just use all my energy and push through it. I knew this was the only way out of course so I did. I gave in. I surrendered and I worked up all my energy and I pushed and he slid right down. I held his head in my hands as it was born. I stroked his hair with my fingers and started to say that I needed another contraction so I could push the rest of him out. It was so intense I didn’t feel like I could wait. Luckily I didn’t have to wait long because before I could really finish the thought another contraction was coming and I was pushing my baby out into my hands.

I held him in my hands as he came towards me with his arms outreached. I pulled him right up into my arms. He was here and he was beautiful. Michelle and I said, almost at the same time, “he looks just like Jay!” while Jay was telling us it was a boy - something I hadn’t noticed or even thought to check. I immediately felt better. I was launched into a birth high by my flooding hormones and emotions. I was completely unaware of everything else in the room except for my husband’s arms around me and his tears and my sweet pink baby snuggling into my arms. It was thrilling and exciting and I felt amazing.

The placenta was birthed soon and it was intact and healthy and perfect. The room was warm and smelled like cinnamon from a candle a friend had given me. I felt surrounded my love and warmth from my friends and family and the candle seemed to symbolize that. I wrapped the baby up and passed him to Jay so I could have a quick shower. It felt so good to stand up and see my feet and stretch out. I got dry and warm and snuggled up with my new little guy in bed. He had been trying to eat his little fist so I nursed him and he ate for about an hour. I was eager to see how big he was so when he was done we weighed him 8lbs 9.5 ounces. We measured him the next day and he was 20inches long. A couple hours after he was born we cut his cord and dressed him and snuggled him up for bed. Blessedly the kids all went back to sleep and our first night was filled with rest for all.

Thursday, January 21, 2010

Avoiding Unnecessary Interventions

Today we discussed how to avoid unnecessary interventions.

Individually we know what interventions we are okay with. We all start with a plan in our head. According to how labor goes, those plans may change. Some of the changes in our labor can be avoided by knowing the risks with choices. All interventions CAN have risks. They also can be used for good. We need to understand how these can effect our labor and birth.

Some helpful questions:
*Is it necessary?
*What is it for?
*How will it change the outcome?
*What are the risks?
*What are the benefits?
*Can we wait?

Tuesday, January 12, 2010

Birth Story of Baby Marie

This is the story of my high school friend, April. Thanks for sharing it with us!

12:30 am. I got out of bed, sure this was it, wary I could also be making a mistake, knowing people would have to be notified and the decision to call them rested upon my ability to “know”.

I filled the bathtub with hot water and bubbles, tried to time the contractions, continued to debate the moment in my mind, easily breathing through each contraction, praying the Lord would let me know when it was time to call, finally deciding to call Andrew, knowing he'd never make it on time, knowing there was nothing he could do for me but come quickly and safe. No answer. Left a message. I knew this was it, this was labor, this was now. I called Amy.

I got out of the tub and put on a black t-shirt and a bathrobe. I went downstairs to get the bedroom ready with towels, sheets, drop-cloth and other things I was to have prepared for my delivery but I was finding it hard to work through contractions, and I was alone. I called Andrew again. Not panicking, just needing to know that he knew. I sat on the stairs and thought about who to call. Sharon came to mind and stayed. I knew she'd take care of me. I knew she'd be/do for me what I could not be/do for myself. I called, woke her up, at 2:30am. She came right over looking put together as usual and went right to work making beds, warming hand towels, massaging and encouraging through contractions, calling Amy to tell her it was time; calling Andrew, still no answer.

I got back in the tub. Sharon drained the water and refilled it for me, continued to give massages, applied pressure to my lower back. We told stories. We laughed. We woke up Preston and told him to go back to sleep. He told us not too laugh so loud.

3:30am. Amy arrived. Karin arrived. Amy, calm, full of positive empowering energy. Quiet. Busied herself about the home or sat on the toilet seat and observed. I was asked if I wanted to get out of the tub. No. I was in my happy place. The tub was drained, the bubbles rinsed out, clean water added. Luke warm. Bummer.

4:35am. The contractions became more intense. They were close together. Closer then I'd ever had them. My body wanted to push. I'd never experienced that before. That feeling of rippling muscle, urgent more than painful. I could see my belly willing. I'd never been so aware of myself. So aware of my body. I told Amy I felt like pushing. She said to go ahead. I asked Amy to check me, I told her she'd need to break the bag. She seemed hesitant but did so and replied that I should withhold pushing, that the baby was not engaged yet. I told her again to break the bag. Why wouldn't she break the bag, I asked. I was surrounded by people but nobody was doing anything. Nobody was checking my charts. Nobody was watching the monitors. Nobody was finding veins to poke or checking for dilation. Nobody was getting ready. Nobody was telling me what to do, when to push, how to hold onto my legs, how to breathe, how and when to have this baby, and I panicked. All of a sudden, I didn't know what to do. I knew it was time but I was all alone. It was just me and my body and I could see Amy sitting on the toilet seat and I could sense Karin taking notes and I could feel Sharon's hands supporting my head and could hear her praying for angels to be with me and telling me she loved me and that I was doing a good job and I trusted those angels to be there and heard Andrew saying that he loved me and felt that he was there as I tried to push with my body and work with my body and was afraid and scared and naive and I cried and I've never cried during labor before and I've never panicked before or lost control and it scared me. It scared me.

And then the bag was delivered and I told Amy to break it and I could feel the thickness of the bag and I was aware of it breaking and then my baby crowned, and then my baby was delivered and then she was placed with me and it was all over and the pain was gone and the fear was gone and I was not alone but was completely grateful and at peace. And Marie gave a little cry and fell asleep in my arms and it was perfect. And I had done it. Me and my angels. And they say you have to reach that rock and a hard place - that point of no return - and I thought I'd reached it before, like three times before, but I'd always had options, options such as an epidural for the pain or somebody else getting that baby here if you can't, and when you choose to have a baby at home, you don't have any options. You are it. And you come to realize that you can, and that you make it a beautiful, awesome thing. At least that's how it was for me, anyway. Beautiful, and awesome. Marie Millward, born 4:51 am, May 12th, 2009.

Saturday, January 9, 2010