Hait or BUST!!!!

It is now one month and 2 days before I leave for Haiti by way of Kansas City then Florida. Signs say I will be taking a PRIVATE plane from Florida into Haiti itself… more on that later. I have MANY things complete for this journey, and many things still to do. Who knew I’d have to work for 3 months to go somewhere for 2 weeks!? [I'll also admit to being nearly giddy with excitement as my very own PASSPORT showed up in the mail!]

The support I’ve received from our local homeschool group, my church, people I’ve NEVER EVEN MET… well, it’s been nothing less than staggering. Humbled? Why, yes, I am. I have to CONTINUALLY remind myself that they aren’t giving to “me” but to Haiti. It feels so artificial for me (Mrs. Independent) to accept offerings from people I love and care about. Let alone strangers.

In the interim I’m so happy ton ave Robin here (my new apprentice). You can read her biography on the “Our Team” page. Look for more updates to this website soon, as it’s on my list of “MUST COMPLETE BEFORE HAITI”. To come: Placenta encapsulation, independent childbirth classes coming to your town, a better way to pediatric care, and an ONLINE STORE! At last! You don’t have to wait on me to get stuff shipped to you anymore! So excited to have this very very close to completion.

I am still a few hundred dollars short of my needed funds to serve in Haiti – please consider a donation. Every tiny bit helps. Paypal to psalms66@gmail.com as a “GIFT” and I won’t be charged any fees. Blessings to you all – love and hope only the best for you all.

Stay tuned for more!

Big things…

come in small packages they say. But they come in big packages too. One of the “big packages” that comes with midwifery care is the apprenticeship model of learning. It’s not enough to read about, “practice”, and then take a test to become a midwife. The apprenticeship model includes hundreds of hours following around an experienced midwife, asking questions, packing bags, asking more questions, practicing, seeing, watching, being still and in the background, being in the front and center of the action, sitting in the other room, and sometimes (finally) gloving up and being ready to catch a baby! And only THEN do we “take the test”! :)

I’m so thankful for the midwives that were willing to see me through my apprenticeship. To be willing to be available for a student is almost like adopting a child. Even if they don’t need that much from you in terms of actual TEACHING, you are putting your name on the line – saying that you are responsible for what they do and don’t do correctly, being willing to be accountable for your actions and theirs as well is a big commitment and I’m thankful for those who took that responsibility for me. The gift is immeasurable in it’s enormity and I will forever be thankful. This is one of those things that you simply must be willing to do if you become a midwife. “Each one teach one” is not only a cool slogan – it’s a way of life for quality midwives: to train up women in traditional midwifery care while balancing the political and legal challenges that factor in to everything we do.

With that being said, I’m pleased to announce the addition of two more students into the Dar a Luz family of Student Midwives! I’ll be posting introductions and photos as soon as their preliminary requirements have been met. To current clients, you may be meeting these women soon at prenatal and postpartum visits. Future clients in the northland area – you are in for a treat. I’m expanding my services in the area (that means LOCAL prenatal care!) to accommodate these students learning needs and offering a significant discount for those of you willing to participate in this process. Rest assured, I am still the one accountable for your care and YOU are in charge of what the students do and do NOT do for your care. It can be individualized for your level of comfort with the student. However, I can promise you that the students who work with me work VERY hard to be ready for this phase of their training. And they are ready or I wouldn’t put my neck out there for them. :)

If you are interested in promoting quality midwifery care and would like more information on working with a student midwife under supervision please give me a call for more information! Kelly @660-383-6059

Natural vs. Un-natural

“The intrinsic intelligence of women’s bodies can be sabotaged when they’re put into clinical settings, surrounded by strangers, and attached to machines that limit their freedom to move. They then risk falling victim to the powerful forces of fear, loneliness, doubt , and distrust, all of which increase pain. Their hopes for a normal birth disappear as quickly as the fluid in an IV bottle.” ~Peggy Vincent -The Baby Catcher

Such truth here in this quote: birth can be “painful”. But the pain is NOT like stubbing one’s toe or breaking a leg, etc. It is a normal pain (and yes, there is such a thing). Much different than that of an injury, easier to cope with and rhythmic rather than startling and sharp. Contrast this to the normal interventions one receives in a hospital: IV “HepLock”, epidural needle, episiotomy, un-natural position for birth… etc. etc. etc.

There are very real emotional AND physical consequences of placing a woman outside of her familiar space while she is bringing forth her child.

Our Services

Dar a Luz Women’s Care offers homebirth services in these areas and private birth suites at our lovely freestanding center in Sedalia,Missouri. We also offer monthly classes including newborn care, breastfeeding, childbirth and sibling preparation. Our Mama Club meets monthly as well and explores a new topic with guest speaker each time! Call for a visit and come see us!

660-383-6059

Dar a Luz Women’s Care is pleased to also offer well-woman care as well as thyroid, non-hormonal fertility education and whole-woman nutritional support.

Gunnarr’s Blanket

(Gunnarr has the traditional Scottish spelling and is pronounced “gun-er”.)

I began an afghan for Gunnarr before he was born. Of course we didn’t know if “he” was a boy or girl so I chose a lovely green color – organic cotton – a lovely yarn and a challenging pattern for my knitting skills. Certainly doable though. I’d been knitting for a couple of years and knew all of the stitches.

Well.

It just wouldn’t come together. I tried and tried, frogged and frogged… and only NOW, with his 9 month birthday looming, is it nearly complete. It was quite a journey, but of course, so was his pregnancy and birth. I’ll blog about the pregnancy another time, but for now will talk a bit about his birth.

I had the MOST lovely home labor I could have dreamed of. Predictable labor pattern, totally what I wanted with my husband at hand, in the water, candles.. music… got the 10 cm and felt like pushing after about 6 hrs. I couldn’t believe how fast it was going! :)

And I pushed. And Pushed. And PUUUUSSSHHHEEDDD. Nothing. Changed positions, used homeopathics, contractions hard and strong… the little fellow wouldn’t budge.

Now, of course we hasn’t a little fellow at all. :) He weighed 10 pounds and 8 ounces and was 23 inches long! But I’ve seen 10+lb’ers be born slick as a whistle, easy and in a state of bliss… it just wasn’t happening for me.

6 hours later, Gunnarr plugging along just fine, he was born surgically in our local hospital. He was fine, I was devastated. Even though I made the decision to transport, even though he was ok and so was I (physically) it really REALLY hurt.  A few months later I attended a butter birth… big baby whose mother I now call my friend… and she had MY birth. And it hurt again.

Then today, as I am finishing up Gunnarr’s afghan…. it suddenly started just falling into place… the last few stitches, the edging… all of it. And it hit me: “This doesn’t look exactly like I envisioned it but it still is a nice little blanket!”

Sometimes crap happens. Sorry for using that word, if it offends anyone. But it does. And it’s messy, and it stinks, and well… who wants it? Not me! But it happens. So we clean up the mess and move on. And once in awhile, something beautiful turns up in spite of it. :)

Finding culture…

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Forget about fancy French boarding schools or etiquette classes… turns out you can BUY it! Cultures that is.

From kombucha to kefir to yogurt and sourdough, LIVE food is quickly experiencing a renaissance due to the enormity of the health benefits it brings along. This time eating healthy actually TASTES GOOD, unlike a decade ago when “no-fat” was all the rage. You’ve not tasted fresh bread until you have tasted fresh sourdough bread with cultured butter on top and a glass of raspberry kombucha to wash it down with.

We’ve all seen the Activia commercials… “beneficial intestinal flora” is now something that many American’s have at least heard of. Better than yogurt or acidophilus powder in a capsule, real – living – cultured food contains more probiotics than can be counted!

Benefits of Cultured Foods
If you are wondering how in the world to get your CHILDREN to try fermented foods, here’s a great place to start.
My favorite place for purchasing your starter cultures is Cultures for Health.
And lastly, here is a great jumping-off point for creating traditional food fare.

This return to traditional food doesn’t begin OR end with cultures though… think grass-fed beef, home-grown vegetables and sprouts, fresh ground grains for bread, soaked grains for cereals and granola, free-range eggs and raw dairy. The list is endless.

You might be feeling overwhelmed with the BIG-GIANT-ENORMOUS makeover your recipe book likely needs if you’re going to try for this changeover, but don’t give up. Think:

SIMPLE. PLAIN. OLD-FASHIONED. TRADITIONAL.

Start there and implement cultured foods into your daily menus. Once you have a system down for creating old-world cuisine in your thoroughly modern kitchen, it’s SO simple you’ll wonder why you didn’t do it sooner.

And if you’re wondering what culture has to do with birth… Midwifery Today published an article on GBS (group B strep) infections and lacto-fermented foods. Though there is no established protocol for using fermented foods to prevent GBS infections, the logic there holds thrilling possibilities for preventing this serious (but rare) complication of birth.

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.

On my soapbox again…

I just can’t believe it… I don’t WANT to believe it. That midwives (the “guardians of normal birth”) are using cytotec (also known as misoprostyl) to induce labor at home. The fact that they are using it in hospitals doesn’t shock me, makes me mad, but I just add it to their list of sins again women and babies. Nothing new there. But midwives… sweet, caring, lovely homebirth midwives. Thinking this doesn’t harm anyone. I hear it over and over again, “I’ve used it judiciously for years and have never seen a problem with it.”

Well good for you. Tell my blog-friend Anne that you’ve never had a problem with it’s use. That you’ve never seen a baby die from it, or a mother die or lose her uterus from it. Good for you. Put some flowers on her baby’s grave and say, “Well, we don’t know for SURE that cytotec caused her death.” That you have played the tables and had good luck doesn’t change the fact that this is a potentially dangerous drug that you are using for an OFF-LABEL situation. There are no safe dosing limits or instructions, no risks to inform your clients of because the company that makes cytotec has no intentions of marketing it for obstetrical use. I doubt their lawyers would allow them to. Too much of a liability perhaps?

Here is a quote about misoprostyl that sums up my own position and one that, I believe, should be taken by all birth workers:

Belinda Phipps, chief executive of the National Childbirth Trust, said she was “absolutely incredulous” that any hospital would give the drug to women outside of clinical trials.
She said: “This drug is not licensed for use in labour, and the NICE guidance is categorical on that point. In this country, misoprostol should only be used in labour if the baby is already dead, or after the birth, because otherwise the risks are simply too great.” [ click here for the newspaper story ]

I’m not likely to stop beating this drum for awhile yet. In fact, you might want to cover your ears because frankly? I plan on beating it louder.

Sonogram: The New Crystal Ball?

I am So frustrated at the amount of misinformation put out there as FACT soley for the convenience of the provider! Grrrr!!!!! Some OB’s do it, some GP’s do it, some midwives do it, heck as far my experience shows some DENTISTS do it.

There was recently a comment made on my Castor Oil post from a woman who was told she was too small and couldn’t go to 38 weeks or her “uterus would rip open”. Baby was just TOO TOO big. Even if the poster got some of the semantics wrong (probably is her pelvis they are talking about not her uterus) the arguments for induction just amaze me. Of course I did not offer he any advice as to induction.

My local hospital routinely does inductions at 37 weeks. 37 WEEKS! Yeah. Ludicrous.

The main reason given to women for inductions and even cesareans is the “big baby” argument. And we have these wonderful things called sonograms to “prove” they are too big to “fit” through your pelvis. Please. Do they think we are stupid? Ignorant perhaps, but we are not STUPID.

Here is a lovely blog post by the fantastic “Unnecessarian” on sonograms and estimated size and due dates. Sonograms can be off as much as a pound either way and 2 weeks +/- for due date predictions! So if the sonogram says you are ok for an induction at 37 weeks (by the sonogram) and you induce and it’s off by 2 weeks guess whatcha get? A baby at 35 weeks with respiratory issues, breastfeeding challenges, and a myriad of other psychological implications the likes of which we have NO CLUE about yet.

And the weight predictions are just fantastical. The stuff of Harry Potter and traveling circus acts. There is some science there – just enough to be dangerous. Sure. Gaze into the sonogram screen and see your future: induction + pitocin + epidural = surgical birth.

And let me tell ya from experience: a 2nd degree tear is alot easier to heal from than a 10″ wound on your belly complete with scar tissue and a spinal headache for dessert.

Off-label drug use

I understand that the off-label use of pharmaceuticals is a normal occurrence in the medical world. I get that. What’s not cool is that this is done in maternity care as well with dire consequences.

I’m not talking about the random, “uh-oh”, I’m referring instead to the drug company themselves issuing statements saying “We do not endorse the use of this product for any use other than that described on the label.” Yeah, they’re probably just covering their b*tts but still. They said it. Yet it happens everyday in the labor and delivery department of nearly every hospital in the country. It has become so commonplace to induce labor that not only have we stopped wondering how/if this affects the baby or the mother we have now started grabbing whatever drugs we can find that give us “a better induction outcome”.

Hrrumph.

Bishop’s score be damned. God created women’s body to birth. With consideration made for the odd-one-out with pituitary damage or other disorders that truly make her body hold onto her baby long past safely, using drugs to begin labor before the body begins to open up on it’s own is risky risky risky.

Births are kindof like bowel movements. They happen on their own. Can’t plan ‘em, can’t stop ‘em, can’t hurry them along. Bowel movements happen (errr… I can’t help but think of a certain bumper sticker I’ve seen alot of right now).

Birth HAPPENS as well. Babies are born when it is TIME. If we have accepted that every other body system has knowledge to know when to open and release, then why can’t we accept the body’s wisdom in birthing when it is time?

You might have had a Cytotec induction. And so did your sister, your friend, aunt, daughter’s 2nd grade teacher… and all went well. On the surface perhaps. But what did it do to that baby’s emotional/psychological health to be so rudely pushed into the world before he/she was ready to come? And what about the women reading this who is a victim of a cytotec induction who is grieving the loss of her womb? Suddenly hurrying a baby out seems less important when faced with an emergency cesarean to save your baby’s life and a hysterectomy to save yours.

All from a couple of tidy white pills manufactured to treat ulcers. Who’da thunk?