Waitin’ on a woman…

Sitting here in my office, yes…looking at Pinterest… I am in awe of the talent women have. Seriously. The act of creating doesn’t end with making a baby! Curtains, furniture, gardens, playthings, cookies, networks and supportive endeavors. Women hold such creative potential! It is the WOMAN who creates community, creates, home, creates family.

I suppose some would call this a rather simplistic view of the gender, or perhaps that I sound paternalistic or even Puritanical in this. They might be right. Whatever you want to call it, I will always be in AWE of women and their potential for cultural impact.

So if you are reading this and have been wondering about starting/joining/creating something that holds the potential to change our culture: GO FOR IT!

Some things…

just never change. I have personally changed and grown SO much over the past…errr…. couple of decades…. that is is always a surprise to me that change is so difficult for some. A few of my children really struggle with it, but I personally and invigorated by NEW THINGS. What is really spectacular is when someone “NEW” turns out to be something “old”… and it’s better than what is “current”!!! I recently stubbled onto an old article on the importance of SALT for pregnant women. This particular article was an advertisement, endorsed by a physician, written in the 20’s. He was seeing so much swelling and lethargy that he posted the ad in his own name and on his own dime. His solution came from a long family history of farming, where lack of real salt is a common factor is preterm birth, lack of appetite and the general downturn in a female animals productivity.

Certainly, female HUMANS aren’t exactly the same as other female mammals from a physiological (or ethical) perspective. However, a woman’s basic need for trace minerals (found in sea/real salt) & potassium (also found in real salt) increase during the childbearing year. Swelling is your body’s way of screaming for more fluid and in all but the rare cases of true eclampsia can be “cured” by the liberal use of real salt and the removal of the commercially available fake kind.

Here is an “advertisement” (and I apologize for that) for Real Salt (the brand). There is just so much good information here on why real salt is important that I’m linking to the entire file. Enjoy the reading!

into the light…

The sunshine streams gently through the window. Dawn is breaking and a mother is gently guiding her baby into the light. Lace curtains flutter with the spring breeze. The smell of lilacs waft through the window. Dad watches in awe – say’s, “You just worked harder in 7 hours than I have all year.” The midwife stands ready, prepared for whatever… or nothing… that might need her attention. Siblings wait outside the door hoping to soon hear the coo of their new brother’s cry.

And it comes. Lovely water birth – vaginal birth after cesarean – the birth everyone told her she couldn’t have. After two cesareans she was told “Your chances of a vaginal birth are zero.” 
 
She beat the odds. But she wasn’t lucky. The research shows the risk for uterine rupture when attempting a vaginal birth after cesarean is somewhere around 3%. Of those 3% an unknown number of them will result in a fatality of the baby and life threatening hemorrhage in the mother. The risks are certainly real but often over-stated. Hospital policies usually hold the trump card and women are increasingly being forced to look at out-of-hospital options if they wish to attempt a VBAC. To illustrate the ridiculousness of some policies – the mother described above had 2 cesareans and then 2 subsequent vaginal births. She was THEN (with her 5th pregnancy) told she was now allowed a vaginal birth since she had previous given birth by cesarean. No mention to her of the data showing her risk of uterine rupture after 2 VBAC’s decreased to the percentage that every pregnant woman faces. No mention of the fact that POLICY dictated this physicians statement of her odds and not research.
 
If you are faced with making a decision regarding a vaginal birth after cesarean – follow your instincts. The benefits are numerous and the risks of repeat cesarean are often not mentioned or are understated by care providers. There are many online resources that can bring you to the data you need access to in order to make an informed decision about your birth. 
 
 
Look for local ICAN (International Cesarean Awareness Network) chapters with monthly meetings for support from other mothers. Local breastfeeding & mom’s groups can also be venues for finding an out-of-hospital providers or freestanding birth centers in your area. Whatever decision you make – make in an informed one. Your decision deserves the respect and support of your care provider. Don’t settle for less.

Ahhhh…..a positive article on homebirth!

Image

Picture property of Mothering.com

This is a lovely write-up on homebirth at Mothering.com. I especially like the “Questions to ask” sectionand encourage every woman to ask these questions (and others) of ANY midwife they interview. Ask yourself, “What is most important to me regarding this pregnancy & birth?” And then find a midwife who will honor those priorities. Also, it is appropriate to ask for referrals, both professional and personal! Read the Q’s HERE.  

Get your art on…

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

My tween daughter says this all the time, in reference to my choice of clothing. I don’t know what she’s talking about for sure, but I think it has something to do with my mostly drab and boring wardrobe. That’s not, however, what I’m referring to!

I’m hosting what I hope to be the FIRST annual art show here in Missouri to benefit Missouri birth centers and out-of-hospital midwives. SO… GET YOUR ART ON!

If you are a midwife, doula,mother, father, brother, sister, grandma, grandpa… you get the point… and have created or think you might want to create a piece of art to commemorate one of “those” moments in the mother-baby-birth world, PLEASE consider participating. The art may be shown only and returned, offered for sale, or donated for auction later that evening.

(which is free of course complete with those fancy-schmancy tiny finger cakes that taste good but are much too small?)

And here’s the FUN part (I get to get a new dress for this!!!! Errr…. wait a minute… maybe that’s not such a….):

A formal, black tie event will follow the public art viewing! The evening event promises to be full of fun, probably at my expense :) , and ticket sales will benefit what I hope to be the beginning of a free-standing birth center in the Warrensburg/Sedalia area (look for an announcement later on this!). The art auction proceeds will benefit my wonderful preceptor/friend/midwife extraordinaire Rachel Williston of A Mother’s Love Birth Center.

Tickets to the event are going to be little over-priced, like any decent fundraising event is, but will be worth EVERY SINGLE PENNY if you want to see options for birthing women in our state broadened and every woman served by the Midwifery Model of Care! I promise you the food will be amazing, hormone-free, locally grown fare, and there is talk of some fabulous door prizes as well.

If you would like an invitation to the evening’s event, please drop me a line at birthbeautifully [at] gmail [dot] com with your postal address and I will get one in the mail to you pronto!

Click HERE for a flyer and entry form if you have art to share… and come on… EVERYBODY has a little art in there! So get your art on and share it with the world!

Melancholy Midwife

There is nothing that makes me want to pull my hair out quicker than reading/thinking/blogging about the politics surrounding birth. It makes my blood pressure go up. And it does so because there is no clear and easy direction to take this thing. I want homebirth with a midwife of the mother’s choice to be legal. Period. But wait a minute…. uh… yeah. Bottom line, that’s what I want. Yes. For sure. I want homebirth to be available and affordable for every Missouri family who chooses it. So how do we get there?

Sidney Midwife put it well and as truth would have it, came to no solid resolution for the conundrum, when a reader wrote:

The terms under which midwives are legally required to work are also the conditions under which women are obliged to give birth.

Exactly. EXACTLY. We here in Missouri are in a wonderful position of being able to provide homebirth women with what they want and are able to create our own practice guidelines. I am finding this position to be quite unique among the states where midwives are “allowed” to practice.

And so it comes down to that statement above… and rests in the hands of women to maintain the freedom they currently possess… I am a birthing woman. And I believe BIRTH impacts the ENTIRE FAMILY UNIT. If you are reading this and share this position, I’d like to ask you to do a few things for me:

1. Go here and become a member of the Friends of Missouri Midwives. Their mission statement is: … that with intelligent inquiry, access to education, and utilization of informed choice and disclosure statements, parents are the sole best decision-makers about their own maternity care, for no one mode or place of birth suits all families. I concur. If you want to be kept up-to-date on current midwifery happenings here in Missouri, have help finding a midwife and support parents rights to choose their maternity caregiver, this is a great way to do so.

2. Get involved locally with other women. CREATE a community if there isn’t one. I’m in the process of this and I can assure you that it is QUITE an undertaking. BUT WORTH IT! :) Start a mom’s group, join MOPS, talk about stuff that matters to you, etc. It’s not that hard once you get started.

3. Don’t hide out. Yes, you’re going to take some flack if you choose a homebirth. Yes, your parents, sisters, brothers, co-workers may think you’re a nut-job and tell you that straight to your face. You will face ridicule at best and persecution at worst. It’s ok. Truly. You are impacting an entire generation for the the good and that’s never easy.

4. Contact your local law-makers. Get to know them. Let them get to know you. Be respectful of their position of authority and let them know that you LIKE the way midwifery is here in Missouri and that you appreciate their support of the same. :) If you don’t know who they are (and that’s NORMAL, and OK so don’t feel bad just CHANGE IT!) go HERE and find out.

I like the law here in Missouri – I think it leaves birth in the hands of women and their family and I believe that is where it belongs. Read that statement again if you think licensure or any interference from the government can make it BETTER than what it is now. Read it again:

The terms under which midwives are legally required to work

are also the conditions under which women are obliged to give birth.

 

Under Fire…

My own sweet, dear midwife was recently charged in connection with a baby’s death. You can read the sordid “details” all over the internet… if you’re into fiction, sensationalism and biased reporting with an obvious agenda. Her defense is going to cost a small fortune and that’s if it DOESN’T go to trial.

A few things jumped out to me:

- She is prohibited from practicing midwifery or even being present at the birth of any child until the charges are resolved. This doesn’t happen to physicians. How come? Not only does it rob her of her livelihood but it also leaves her clients in a lurch, having to scramble to find a midwife for the remaining portion of their pregnancy in an under-served area.

-Her bond has been set fairly high – which implies she is at a high risk of flight. She’s not going anywhere. Her family is here, her children and grandchildren… her community. Where would she go and why? Again, this seems unfairly biased.

- The fact that she may or may not be guilty of being “negligent” to the point of causing an infant’s death is not really the point. In my mind the more important issue at hand, and indeed the driving force that seems to be behind both the media’s coverage and the politics involved, is the question of parental rights and responsibilities. DO the parents have the right to choose a home birth? What responsibility do they bear when something goes outside of normal? Ultimately, “Is this child the responsibility of the parents or the state?”

I realize the last statement might seem like a stretch to some, but in this culture of “Big Brother” sticking his nose into everything from the milk we drink to the kind of cars we drive it is something I believe we should all ponder.

In defense of parental rights, freedoms and the gentle birthing of babies, I would like to ask for your support of this midwife. The state seems intent on shutting her down – indeed they already have – leaving her with no means to raise the finances she will need for her defense.

You can click on the button below with your support.
Click here to lend your support to: Elaine Diamond Legal Fund and make a donation at www.pledgie.com !

The following quote from C. S. Lewis strikes me as most fitting to this situation of the persecution of midwives world-wide:

[A] tyranny sincerely exercised for the good of it’s victims may be the most oppressive. It would be better to live under robber barons than under omnipotent moral busybodies. The robber baron’s cruelty may sometimes sleep; his cupidity may at some point be satiated, but those who torment us for our own good will torment us without end for they do so with the approval of their own conscience.

Lest I forget…

I am writing this post in order to accomplish 2 things. 1) to release the beast (ie: whine a little bit) and 2) to remind myself to have compassion on women in my care who are in their last few days of pregnancy.

Because they suck.

  • My feet are swollen, despite drinking gallons of water, taking my supplements and going for walks.
  • My legs feel heavy, thick and … well.. more like tree trunks than appendages.
  • My fingers are also swollen and my left hand aches from pregnancy-induced carpal tunnel.
  • My husband and I are at that stage when only one position will work. And it’s getting old. Fast. “But I need to ripen my cervix!” so we press on. Takes the fun right out of it.
  • Baby is moving less which makes me swing between “Oh no.. I haven’t felt the baby move in X# of hours.” to “Thank the Lord he’s quieted down some. My ribs were killing me.”
  • My emotions have placed my mental stability somewhere in the realm of Brittany Spears and Lindsay Lohan.
  • I’m forgetful and moody,  with energy levels ranging from a Speed Boat to those crustaceans that grow on her hull.
  • I’m Hot. All. The. Flipping. Time. My poor husband’s sinuses may never be the same from having a fan on full blast and the thermostat at 60 degrees in our bedroom all summer long.
  • My hips and back hurt all the time too. Chiropractor Dan gives me WONDERFUL relief, but I’m at the stage of needing to go 3 or 4 times a week to keep my poor pelvis somewhat aligned (a childhood injury left me with a tilted, crooked pelvis resulting in posterior babies).
  • My main breakdowns occur over well-meaning family and friends (who love me and I them!) texting, emailing and calling to “See if I’ve had that baby yet!” I want to scream at them: “Yep! Had it a couple days ago but we’re storing it in the closet ’til we decide to tell anyone it came out.” To quote a recently famous red-neck comedian: “Here’s yer sign.”
  • The children have stopped asking if today might be the day, and have begun to walk out of the room slowly and without making eye contact. Sorry kids. Your REAL Mama will come back some day soon.
  • I’ve always been able to shave my legs while pregnant. WELL….. hhmm….. yeah. It’s a real contortionist act at this point for some reason (I’m really tall with long legs and this hasn’t ever been an issue before).
  • And I have threatened my husband bodily harm if he ever puts me in this condition again. LOL as if he tied me down! LOL To which he replies, “Oh no. This is enough. No worries.” to which I reply, “What do you mean? You don’t WANT to have any more babies with me?” and run from the room crying.
  • Contractions start and stop… toying with me… “Is this it?” “No… it’s not.”
  • Bodily secretions have become more attention holding than that cool cable TV show I’ve recently become attached to.
  • And I deplore television.
  • The “Before Baby Comes” list has grown from simple things like “Wash, dry put away baby clothes.” to “Get new tile laid in the master bathroom.” and “Repaint the living room ASAP.”
  • Yeah. It ain’t pretty, folks.

So when sister midwives tell me I need to take into consideration a woman’s emotional state when I maintain my position of “inductions do not belong at home and are risky elsewhere”, I say, “You bet your booty I’m taking that into consideration!!! Does the above description sound like a woman able to make an informed decision that carries multiple risks to herself and her baby?!?!”

Seriously though, I’m glad I have a midwife who is of the same mind as I am on this, because BOY am I tempted to “help things along”, etc. etc. just to release myself from the prison this pregnancy has become.

So what will I do instead?

Probably draw a cool bath, turn on my ipod (loud so i can’t hear anyone knocking on the bathroom door), and pour myself a glass of red wine. I’ll put in a few cups of Epsom salts to help the swelling, do some aromatherapy while I’m in there (my oil of choice at the moment is called “Potential”) and hope the children and husband have eaten by the time I emerge to say good-nights. [Note to self: This man deserves a trophy or something for being so darned level headed and KIND during this last phase of pregnancy. I am considering a gift for the dad's on the 24 hours pp visit along with the muffins I generally bring along for Mom.]

Then I’ll fall asleep wrapped up in hubby’s strong arms, smelling him in, remembering the days when I could reach all the way around him, and hoping TOMORROW is the day I get to do that again.

And I will dream again that I am holding this baby at last and have blissfully forgotten the struggle of these last days.

VOICES – Free Shipping

Free shipping for bulk orders! If you’d like to go together with friends, or add a quantity to your lending library, please do so! I’m trying desperately to get this book into the hands of mamas who want to birth vaginally after having a cesarean… help me do it!

If you would like to purchase multiple copies they are available as follows:
5 books $80 ~ 10 books $135 ~ Paypal to: daraluzpublishing@gmail.com

Spread the word! The truth about Vaginal Birth After Cesarean needs told!