Wednesday, December 18, 2013

Planning Rainbow Baby's Homebirth

It has been a long time since I have posted! Between my full time day job, my doula work, raising my children and pursuing my calling to become a midwife, things tend to be a little busy around here. In the midst of it all and after our fourth heartbreaking miscarriage in 12 months, I am thrilled that we are adding baby #3 to our family. Since I want to be a homebirth midwife and since I want a very hands-off birth, it seems very natural that we are planning a homebirth.

If you have followed this blog in the past, you know that my first birth was a c-section from having a breech baby and my second birth was my first VBAC in a hospital. Since wanting a homebirth with our first and having the farthest thing from it, I feel like have slowly made the journey back to square one. Back to the most basic way to birth our baby.

Our midwife is absolutely amazing. She is a dear friend of mine and has been with me through a lot. I have seen her in action and she is exactly the type of care provider I want supporting me through the birth of a child. 

I am so excited to share my journey as I go through it.  I am about halfway through the pregnancy at this point and so far I haven't had to do to much for the homebirth. I have met with my midwife for prenatal appointments and also agreed to the mandatory ultrasound scan to determine location of the placenta. As a VBAC mom, the care providers in the state I live in like to know that VBAC moms don't have the placenta embedding into the cesarean scar or over the cervix. My intuition told me that the placenta was in exactly the right place. That, and the fact that I felt little baby wiggles around 12 weeks and most of the movement I feel is in the front.  Our 2-minute ultrasound revealed a placenta up in the back of my uterus. Excellent! We can now move forward with confidence that there shouldn't be complications with the placental location!

Today I started my homebirth supplies list. I will post again with my list and where I am purchasing from when I finalize it!

Affirmation for the day "I trust that my body is nourishing my baby and that he/she is growing exactly as he/she needs to"

Friday, November 16, 2012

Exploring Drugs Used During Labor: Pitocin

As many of my readers know, I think that babies should choose their due dates and that inductions should only be performed out of medical necessity. There is a part of the Business of Being Born documentary where someone makes the point that pregnant women avoid so many things during pregnancy, doctors tell them to avoid just about everything, but when it comes to labor, all of that stuff goes out the window. All of a sudden, doctors are giving you three different medications that all lead to a cascade of interventions. 

I am a huge believer that educating moms is the best way to prepare them for labor and birth. Mom's should know what is going into their bodies and should know the risks and side effects.  Today, we are examining Pitocin. Pitocin is a drug that many providers use for labor induction, as it is a synthetic form of Oxytocin (a hormone a woman's body creates that causes the uterus to contract). Some providers simply use it to augment or speed-up labor. Notice how most doctors never talk about the risks of pitocin to the baby or the mom?

The below image was taken from and describes the Risk Category, Indication (suggested use) and Fetal Risks of Pitocin. In the labors where mother's were given pitocin, I will venture a guess that most of them never get this information.

Medical Interpretations:

Fetal Bradycardia - Slow heart rate, usually under 100 beats per minute (bpm)
Neonatal retinal hemorrhage - Abnormal bleeding of the blood vessels in the retina, the membrane in the back of the eye
Neonatal Jaundice -yellowing of the pigment in the skin and eyes due to high billirubin levels
Tetanic contractions - long, strong contractions where there is no resting period for the muscle
Abruptio Placenta - the placenta separates from the wall of the uterus, which can cause severe bleeding
Cardia Arrythmia - abnormal heart rate
Intracranial Hemorrhage - bleeding in the cranium
Asphyxia - lack of oxygen, suffocation

Courtesy of
Amazing how when you look at it from this angle, it doesn't seem like such a good idea. According to Ina May's Guide to Childbirth, using induction drugs like Oxytocin during labor causes approximately 1-2% of women to suffer uterine rupture, a potentially fatal condition for mom and baby. The risk for Vaginal Birth After Ceserean (VBAC) moms (not using pitocin) is only .6-.7%.  Funny that doctors won't do VBACs because of the risk of uterine rupture, but they do routine elective inductions with Pitocin like it is risk-free.

Of course, sometimes you have to pick the lesser of two evils, and induction becomes medically necessary. Regardless, it is good to be educated on what you are putting into your body (and your baby).

Wednesday, November 7, 2012

8 Tips for Making Labor Easier and More Enjoyable

I can't guarantee that you are going to have a wonderful time going through labor. It is hard work! As a mom who delivered in a hospital, there are a lot of things I know now that can make the labor easier and more enjoyable. I am not going to touch on narcotics and epidurals. Instead we are going to focus on natural means of easing labor.

In labor, you should be comfortable and feel safe. When a cat is in labor, she will find a dark space off on her own to give birth. That space is usually quiet, warm, comfortable and she is usually alone. It sounds silly, but this is a concept that holds very true to the primative needs of females giving brith. Giving birth is, in essence, a very primitive act.

Hire a Doula - I know I am biased, but Doulas can be that extra informational and physical support. They come equipped with massage and pressure point techniques that can help ease the pain of labor. They also come with the emotional support to reassure you and cheer you on. Sometimes having that voice in your ear telling you that you are doing great is all you need to get through each contraction, one at a time.

Labor at home as long as possible - You will typically be more comfortable in your own environment with the freedom to move as you need to, and the privacy to act on your instincts to make noise and adjust, no matter how strange the position.

Create a comfortable birthing space - Even in a hospital you can do small things to make your birthing space more welcoming. Dim lights, aromatherapy/scents you enjoy, pictures, your own blanket and pillow, and your own music can all help the space feel more comfortable. Wearing your own clothes is also something you can do to feel more comfortable.

Move - I am well aware that sometimes in labor all you want to do is lay down, but that position isn't always the best for encouraging the baby to move down, especially in early labor. In most cultures, women do not lay down to give birth. They stand, squat, hug a tree, basically anything that feels good to them. They don't tend to spend their labors laying down.

Utilize the water - Ever take a bath to relax? Humans have a natural draw towards water. Most women will report that upon entering a tub in labor, the contractions were much more tolerable. I can tell from personal experience that it definitely takes the edge off.

If you invite others to attend, surround yourself with people that love you and will encourage you - If you couldn't pee in front of them, you probably don't want to try and labor/give birth in front of them. You utilize similar muscles for giving birth as you do in urinating and pooping. Don't believe me? Check out Ina May's Sphincter Law.

Remove negative energy from the birthing space - If there are spectators in the room who are commenting negatively or making you feel embarrased or uncomfortable, they should leave the space. There is a lot of psychology in birth. If you don't feel comfortable, the labor will take longer and may be harder.

Give in - So many women try to fight the contractions/pressure waves/rushes in attempt to make them less painful. Give in to the sensations and try to see them more as a rush of energy. They are going to happen no matter what you do. When you give in and let them work, your labor will be more effective and typically quicker.

What tips do you have more making labor easier and more enjoyable?