Tuesday, August 31, 2010
So here is basically how it all went ♥ (be prepared… this is long! LOL)
About 5am Saturday (3rd) morning I started getting cramps every 30 minutes for about a minute which lasted all day, and were fairly light (by 10pm they were 20 minutes apart and then things really got started at 2am where they were consistently 7 minutes a part)… I just sat around watching TV with Grant during the day and by midnight I was needing to breath through them and I slept as much as I could along with checking the clock every so often and Grant slept soundly (I was surprisingly relaxed considering I thought I would be quite anxious but I felt so ready.) By 5am that Sunday, they were about 5 minutes apart so I started using the TENS. Helen, our midwife was arriving at 9am for a scheduled appointment so that was great timing…
Grant set up the pool and all in all that took about 1 hour to assemble and fill. When she arrived, she asked me whether I wanted to be checked or not to see how far I was… I ummed and ahead but decided to go for it… I was 2 cm dilated when I had seen her the previous Thursday so felt things were moving along… and what do you know?
I was 6cm dialated!! This felt so good and meant I could get in the pool… The pool was absolute BLISS and even more effective than the TENS (for me anyway)… I would recommend it for ANYONE! After 9 months of feeling so heavy the weightlessness and warm water was amazing…
we also lit candles and listened to classical music.. Grant just sat beside the pool while I wallowed… we chatted… I ate pineapple and the midwife stayed in the dining room… writing notes and drinking coffee… I loved how hands off she was!
(On a funny note re: The Classical Music: Grant had made a compilation for the DVD which included film themes… Helen said she will always think of me when she hears the Star Wars theme from now on as in my haze, that was playing as I pushed! hahaha) I guess as the contractions got closer things get a little hazy from here… but I just breathed through them when they came…
I just counted through each contraction as a distraction when it felt a little too much… Grant was brilliant with reminding me of my breath… and that after each contraction to ‘forget about that one…’ I cannot underestimate how good it felt to be at home for me… I was so much more relaxed than I would have been in the hospital and I think this contributed to my feeling of ‘No Fear’ through out… honestly… in a different setting I do not doubt my memories in terms of pain and experience would have been so different…
I always say I am ’such a baby’ when it comes to pain and ‘things outside my control’… but this was so different ♥ Helen checked me again about midday and I was 9cm dialated!! Wahoo!!… Ironically enough…this is where I started to have my ‘I cant do this moment’… and I gave it to the Entinox… The contractions felt on top of each other though and it just gave me that little reprieve I needed. Looking back at my Labour Notes I realise I only used the gas and air for 25minutes before it was time to push! I wont lie I would love to say did without that after coming so close The second midwife from the hospital arrived at this point… ….and then I had the urge to push… At this stage my waters still had not broken… I had a lot of difficulty with pushing –I should say- I wasnt getting the hang of it… I know that I had difficulty ‘feeling’ the contraction at this point… (and we would soon discover why!) Because of this I kept changing my positions in the pool… including trying to push on the toilet for awhile… at that point Helen broke my waters and I could feel the babies head with my hand… I got back in the pool and finally she arrived at 2.15pm.. ♥
All in all I had been pushing since just before noon (over 2 hrs) so I was exhausted! I just shut my eyes and pushed and pushed… Oh the relief when her head appeared… All I kept hearing Grant say was ‘Oh my God… Oh My God!”… I wish I had looked but I was so in the zone to get her in my arms… When she slid out… Oh the sweet relief! LOL… The midwife brought her up to my chest and Grant and I just cuddled her… I think it was a good couple of minutes before we even knew if we had a boy or girl…
We discovered that when she was born she was transverse…we knew she was doing things in her own way as every time the midwives listened for the heartbeat they had to keep moving around my stomach as she kept changing her position… Helen described it as she was ‘corkscrewing’ her way down and of course, she never turned as she came through the cervix… She was born on her side with the biggest part of her head coming through, luckily I only had a very small tear and didn’t need any stitching- I think the water and massage I had been doing may have helped…
I do feel so proud of myself as Helen even said to me today ‘I don’t know how you got her out!’… she said that I would have been a definite forceps/ vontouse delivery in the hospital.. possibly even a section.. (I ♥ being Home!)
So I guess if you do not count the day of cramping, I was in labour for 12 hours (that is the official record)… Because of the tear there was a lot of blood in the pool and unfortunately we needed to see what was happening so I was given the injection to get the placenta out ASAP… then waited for the chord to stop pulsating and Grant cut the chord … and The Placenta has pride of place in our freezer… hmmm…. not sure what to do with it… but I didnt want to throw it away… I am sure there will be some future tree in our future garden with its name on it Grant held Avalon and had a cuddle while the midwives had a look at what was happening with me… I am so glad that I didnt need stitches either (and am healing well.) I was pretty dazed… maybe a little from losing the blood and the lack of food over the past 24 hours but I think I went into a bit of shock… I was shivering quite a bit and when I was feeding her (Oh I love it!) I was getting quite blurry vision… so I had lots of sugar (sweet tea and honey on toast) and the midwife also decided to return later that night to check all was ok …
And then there were 3 of us ♥ … I chilled out with Avalon… making calls to family and Grant had the fun task of emptying the pool Cheers
From the product description:
"This comprehensive teaching system combines the best of our patient care simulators with the Advanced Childbirth Simulator. It is designed to provide a complete birthing experience before, during, and after delivery.
NOELLE Maternal and Neonatal Simulator with PEDI® Blue Neonate Features:
Even if I ignore the c-section and forceps delivery practice stuff (yes I realize that they do in fact need to practice these things in order to do them properly) what is most disturbing is the second sentence which I highlighted.
This one sentence is most telling because it shows how commonly it is believed withing medicine that birth is just a physical act. And, since it is just a physical process, it can be practiced on a mannequin. Yes, a silent DUMMY can "provide a complete birthing experience."
Any woman who has given birth knows that the body is just a tiny part of the experience. Birth is the ultimate mind/body/spiritual experience. It is sacred and powerfully emotional. And when it goes wrong or is forced to go wrong, the effects are not gone when the physical body heals.
Yes, one of the biggest problems in obstetrics today is that the act of birthing is not held in reverence. Instead this powerful and beautiful journey is viewed just like this picture and product description describe. It is just something to get done with the least amount of fuss and noise. Is it any wonder that they want women to just lay back and get an epidural?
Monday, August 30, 2010
Hide in a bubble. Work through fears placed on you by society, family, media, doctors, etc.
Make a birth plan, choose the ones attending carefully, be prepared for things not going the way you dreamed them.
Don't be afraid by all the things that 'they' say 'could' go wrong. Trust in your bodies ability to birth. Research the hospital's procedures and your OB or midwife's preferences, ask the c-section rate, when they induce, when they start pushing amniotomy, IV protocol, episiotomy rate and what circumstances they feel warrants needing one. Research research research, decide what you want, make a birth plan, and find out if they support your birth plan before you show up in labor.
EDUCATE yourself!!! that is your best comfort in birth! KNOWING what's going on.... and hire a doula in case you forget cause your pushing a baby out... that does happen so don't be surprised when it hurts! it's normal!! your body is not the only one in labor! YOU ARE!! and if YOU are active in your labor your body will be able to do a better job!
Do your research!
Start your research BEFORE talking to a doctor... they may have your best interest at heart, but much of the teaching they receive is flawed & can set you up for failure.
Get all the back issues of "Mothering Magazine" and empower yourself to have the kind of birth that you want. Takes wisdom and confidence to go against what "conventional" doctors want you to do. I birthed my first daughter at home 25 years ago this summer (frank breech at that). You can do it!!
Educate yourself on ALL aspects of pregnancy and birth. Knowledge is power. Know your rights. Personally, I think that anyone who fully educates themselves would choose a midwife attended home birth. Home birth is just as safe - if not safer than a hospital birth.
Read. See Business of Being Born. Check out Gentle Birth choices from library. Don't circumcise. Open your jaw and moan Ahhh during labor, helps open pelvis. Take 5W two weeks before due date. Have Coconut Water on hand at home or hospital to drink.
(An explanation of what 5W is: 5W is a traditional herbal tonic taken during the last five weeks of pregnancy - to help tone the uterus, help prevent excessive bleeding, help to make the muscular tissue of the uterus more "elastic" to help prevent tearing.
Facilitates child birth. It is reported to give elasticity to the birth canal and vaginal area. It helps aid in the control of postpartum bleeding and helps speed the delivery of the placental afterbirth. It eases stress and the duration of labour and delivery. An excellent formula for expecting mothers to take during the last 5 weeks of pregnancy.
Black cohosh, Squaw Vine herb, Dong Quai root, Butchers Broom root, Red Raspberry leaves.)
Warning, bad pun to follow) Go with your gut! Do your homework and go with the ideas that YOU believe in and trust your body to do what it needs. If the practitioner (whom you hopefully have chosen because they share your beliefs) says one thing but you have a really strong feeling to the contrary, voice it.
Sunday, August 29, 2010
Long ago, back when I went to the bathroom alone regularly (before kids you know) I went to college. I took a class in Anthropology (the study of humans). My teacher mentioned something that got me hooked on Anthropology forever. It was the Venus.
The images of the Venus are prehistoric art figures that are actually very common. In fact it is probably one of the earliest art forms. They are found all over and nobody actually "knows" what they mean.
They are characterized by a shapely female body (shall we even say, chubby...) with small head and small feet. My professor mentioned that though it is not know exactly what they are for or who they were created for, people often think of them as some kind of fertility image. But what caught my attention was when he mentioned that a female Anthropologist interested in the Venus figurines was pondering on their meaning one day while she was in the shower.
She looked down at her nude form and realized that from that vantage point, she could see her curves, not her head, and her feet and legs looked very small. She postulated that perhaps the Venus figurines were actually SELF PORTRAITS, done by women. Of course back then there were no mirrors as we know them today, and so the view from one's own eyes looking down would have been how all women viewed themselves.
I love to think of the Venus figures like this. It makes me think that perhaps this art was created by women for women or even for themselves. Perhaps women long ago loved their shapely bodies. Since offspring would have been so precious and important to survival of the people as a whole, their round breasts, heavy hips, and distended abdomen would not have been something they hated as we do, but instead a thing of beauty, to be celebrated.
When I become pregnant for the first time I was overwhelmed with the feeling of sisterhood I suddenly felt for all mothers everywhere. It seemed like this experience of pregnancy and birth was one thing that bound us all together, no matter what other things separated us.
Birth and creating life do not just bind women of today together, but women throughout all time. How tragic that we now shun our curves, our fertility, our "fat" and our heavy softness. How sad that instead we strive to have bodies more like the ones we had BEFORE we ever gave birth.
I too am one of those women who tries so hard to erase the marks that pregnancy and birth have left on my body. But I love the Venus, because she reminds me that those marks are also universal. They tie me to women everywhere and throughout time. They tie me to my children. They prove my fertility, my femininity and my power. I too am a Venus.
Friday, August 27, 2010
Are tomatoes supposed to grow like this?
Yes, that is a rodent, getting a c-section.
Don't worry, they did a great job.
We can do a better job feeding animals than their mothers can too....
(Are men amazing or what?)
If we can grow tomatoes upside down, why not give birth upside down?
After all of that, this almost makes sense.
The things happening in obstetrics today not only defy nature, they defy common sense. Maybe we should stop thinking so much, and just start listening to our bodies.
Thursday, August 26, 2010
(Disclaimer- I fully realize that not all Obs are bad and that not all midwives are good. There are empathetic, kind , gentle, and totally fantastic medical doctors who catch babies. There are also rude med wives who muck with the natural process or who are just poorly trained. But the story below is very illustrative of a common trend I see repeated over and over.)
Picture a first time mother. She is receiving midwifery care through a local hospital, preparing for a natural birth, and all seems well.
Then, one day, while waiting in the office for her midwife to do her checkup, completely on accident an OB walks in and takes over the appointment. (Just a room mix up).
Mom's X is slightly elevated and her Y's are within normal but slightly low for her gestational age. But, because of the slightly elevated X and the slightly low end of Y she is labeled high risk. Massive constant testing ensues. The Doctor warns mom that she will be "allowed" to go to 40 weeks but not any further. She doesn't want anything horrid to happen to her baby does she?
I wish this was just a story I made up. But it isn't. This is true, and it happens every day. When I talk about women being prepared by their care providers for medical birth, induction, and c-section I am not kidding. This is how it happens.
What is particularly galling to me about this is that it was caused by a simple mistake. But what is particularly telling about it is that it shows the huge difference in care received from a medical doctor verses a midwife. The midwives were not concerned at all, not because they didn't care, but because they recognize that mom is fine and that every woman is different. They view birth and pregnancy as a process. The OB obviously views birth and pregnancy as a disease to be prevented and treated.
We must choose carefully. We must research. Most of all, we must find our voices and walk away from those that prepare us for bad births so that they can save us from ourselves and our pregnancy. We must remember that we choose what is "allowed".
Wednesday, August 25, 2010
labor. They would come every 10-20 minutes apart but never increased in intensity or really hurt.
On Monday the 29th, I started out the day
feeling really cranky and out of it. I started getting contractions
around 2 PM that quickly sped up to 4-6 minutes apart. They still felt
like BH, so I didn't know if I was in labor or not, but I was bound and
determined to get the house cleaned up and ready for birth if it was
After dinner we eventually called my parents to come and get our three-year old DS because dealing with him was starting to get really stressful for me. Contractions still had not gotten moreintense, but I was getting a lot of shooting cervical pains. I called
the midwives to give them a heads up, and they told me to try to get
some rest and to call when I got serious about the contractions. DH and I rented a movie, and as I relaxed, things started to peter out, although they moved farther down and felt less like BH.
They continued intermittently throughout the night and finally stopped around 4 AM (my
best guess since I was asleep and only woken intermittently by them).
The next morning, I felt stupid that we had shipped DS off to my parents house, but my mom told me to take it easy and try to finish up my nesting. I was getting contractions once every hour or so, so I was feeling a bit discouraged.
I ate some pineapple and DH and I DTD, hoping to get things moving again. We decided to go walk around the local "Towne Centre" even though it was raining to see if that would
speed things up as well. I was starting to feel heavy and I felt what I was fairly certain was my first obviously real contraction right after we started walking, around 2:30. We walked around for a while and I started to feel like I needed to be at home.
I felt like things were just beginning, so I tried to finish final cleaning around the house and then set up the tub. DH went out to run a couple of errands and I was all alone. I started to "get serious" about the contractions and finally realized that I needed to call the midwives around 6:45.
I was really wanting to get in the tub and was waiting impatiently for it to
fill up. I got some snacks together because I was suddenly ravenous and I heated up my RRL infusion and put some honey in it. I carried all of this stuff up the stairs and got the rest of my birth supplies together and got in the wonderful, wonderful tub. My contractions weren't that
bad in my estimation (compared to my posterior, pit-induced, stressful,
pain med free hospital birth), but boy did that water make everything much easier.
I was just starting to worry that DH wouldn't make it home in time to turn the water off for me when I heard him come in. He came up and started doing a few last minute things for me when I suddenly felt pushy during a contraction.
This was very confusing to me because I'd only felt really serious about this labor for a little over an hour. I wrote it off and ignored the urge as much as possible. I had DH massage my lower back and press my illia together during the next two contractions, and then
he left to do something. I decided to check myself and could feel the
baby's head not too far away.
I was shocked and called out to him "I don't want you to panic, but I think that we're going to have to do this ourselves." He started rushing around and called the midwives to let
them know and I was barely keeping the baby's head inside as I called
for him to come to me. He ran in the room and saw that the head was out and I yelled for him to come and catch the body.
We flipped him up on my chest and everything was perfect. He was born at approximately 7:40. The midwives showed up about 10-15 minutes later (the traffic was
really bad because it was raining) and checked us both out and said
everything looked wonderful.
I only really pushed for three or four contractions, which again is in
stark contrast to the six hours I pushed with DS1. I didn't tear or
even get a scratch. My "real" labor was only 5 1/2 hours long compared
to 18 hours with DS1. It was so peaceful and empowering and I'm so
grateful for how everything worked out. ____
Monday, August 23, 2010
(By the way- I am not a Doctor- nor do I give medical advise- so please, feel free to ignore everything I say.)
I have often thought that most women in this country would be better of squatting next to a tree and catching their own baby rather than walking into a hospital and being stared at by a group of trained surgeons.
I get the distinct impression that they WANT women to be sick while they are pregnant in the hopes that by the time the baby is actually born, they will have lost all confidence in their bodies ability to birth!
After your prenatal "care" begins, so do all the tests. I use the term prenatal care loosely because what most women receive seems to be much more like a slew of unneeded tests geared toward the worst case scenario rather than actual CARE.
Prenatal care is sitting down with somebody who listens and talking about what is going on with your baby. It involves tips on eating right and natural ways to deal with possible pregnancy problems. It includes exercises for your health and comfort. It may also involve tests- not just because you walked in the door, but because you may NEED them. Getting this kind of care actually results in a mother that is HEALTHIER and confident in her ability to birth.
On the other side of the coin, prenatal TESTING occurring for no apparent reason seems so often to just scare women, remind them of all the things that could possibly go wrong, and prepare them for a very intervention heavy birth.
Why wouldn't the birth rely heavily on technology- the entire pregnancy has. The treatment is such that it leaves the very distinct impression that were it not for all these machines that go ding and miraculously look inside your body, you couldn't even carry a baby to term.
Care fits every individual woman and her needs for this pregnancy. Testing not only treats all women like they are the same, it assumes that each and every woman is a full fledged emergency waiting to happen.
I used to think that some of these tests were harmless- but many are not. Many tests have high false positive rates, some show no clinical backing for their use, and sometimes the treatment is ineffectual.
Even something as standard as gestational diabetes testing is fraught with problems. Even ultrasound is an intervention, and often uncalled for at that. Not to mention its unique ability to lead to c-section (Click here for more links about ultrasound)
Why on earth does this happen so often? Like so many things in obstetrics today I have the sneaking suspicion it has much to do with three factors:
2)Treating all women as the lowest common denominator- (basically you must be a lying sexually pernicious drug addict until proven otherwise) and
3)-This is the big one ladies- MONEY. You can really increase your billable hours per patient by simply adding more tests to every single patient.
Time to bring birth back to health, back to normal, and back to natural. It starts by thinking of PREGNANCY as normal, healthy and natural. Demand prenatal CARE. You deserve it, and so does your baby. And if you decide to forgo some of those tests (and I am not saying you should) you must do so knowing that you might have to deal with the consequences of not having that test- in addition to the benefits.
Saturday, August 14, 2010
(Adapted from a recent Facebook post- thanks to all the moms who contributed their thoughts and advice.)
-JOURNAL JOURNAL JOURNAL!-
~I have a fear of needles and I was afraid of the pain of natural childbirth, although I'm still pregnant with my first, after doing research and reading childbirth books I no longer fear natural childbirth. Knowing that this is the best option for my baby helped me overcome my fears! Now I'm excited and can't wait to experience my home birth!~
~Use a trigger memory. Get yourself comfortable and relaxed and start thinking of a happy memory. Really get deep into it like your almost there and at the same time do something physical to yourself like firmly hold your ear lobe, clench your right fist etc. Do this several times and then the next time an irrational fear washes over you use your trigger i.e pinching your earlobe to take you back to that nice memory and focus on it. It really works :)~
~Can you be afraid of something you are familiar with? Fear comes from the unknown... With my last birth I studied and studied...during the birth I was never afraid because I knew exactly what was happening. My labor wasn't painful. As I felt the crowning and it got tense, I knew it was numbing me. I tracked the babies progress all the way out!~
~Knowledge is power. When you are informed about your choices you can be more confident in your decisions and trust your instinct.~
~Remember, fear is the opposite of faith. I focus my eyes on God, He is with us ALL the time!~
~There is an awesome explanation of why pain is beneficial in the process of labor in the book Pushed by Jennifer Block the chapter Mothers Helpers.especially starting on p.172 Pain can be a GOOD thing. Labor is a positive feedback system.. ...Meaning each part is responsible for the next so that the process is a continuous circle & the pain is not without it's allies - endorphins- the great pain manager! I think if you have a good understanding of what the pain does- that its not pain for pains sake - that it has necessary benefits through labor & on to breastfeeding it's easier to welcome it's intensity & know that these sensations are not from harm but from good Its easier to accept & teach yourself ways to cope rather than to fear. ~
~Yes! Some women birth without pain but many experience pain. And that is purposeful pain which is different than pain from injury. I tell my doula clients that the pain is your body communicating with you, telling you how to move to minimize the pain, or perhaps to add water or warmth to dull it. If there is pain localized to one side perhaps the baby needs to be encouraged to move toward the other side and you can try different positions to respond to your body's pain communication.
I practically forbid my clients from watching ANY birth shows on TV and hand out The Business of Being Born and Orgasmic Birth to every client who hasn't seen them already. And if their partners haven't yet seen them then I loan them out for a second viewing with their partner. I also encourage them to watch Birth into Being, a wonderful view of completely natural, family-centered home birth.
My favorite book to loan out is "Birthing from Within". I love the Ina May books too! They have such empowering birth stories in them that the reader can't help but get inspired!~
~Trust know its your body. Your body can never over take you or be more than you can handle because it IS you.
Plus the benefits to you & baby are amazing! I walked my 2nd graded to school with new baby the day after birth. I don't think any of my hospital birth girlfriends could say that :)~
~A doula helped me greatly, but I also birthed in the hospital. Something to remember about pain: when you are tense, it will hurt. If you relax, the pain will go away. Every time I got tense, it hurt. As soon as I started breathing again, the pain vanished. It is amazing what breathing and focusing can do!~
And some good resources:
Gentle Birth, Gentle Mothering. by Sarah Buckley
Hypnobabies Childbirth Hypnosis helped me have 2 pain free natural births after a painful epidural birth!
Keep in mind that most of the pain is alleviated simply by being outside of the hospital! Read Ina May's Guide to Childbirth - it's paradigm changing!
Business of Being Born and Orgasmic Birth!
Preparing for a healthy birth by Sylvie Donna -
A great book is Birthing From Within by Pam England. It was the one thing that has really helped me with the fear/trauma/distrust from my cesarean.
Thursday, August 12, 2010
Did you ever see that episode of Seinfeld where he talks about how the Doctor always wins because he is wearing pants?
" JERRY: You know doctor is supposed to be such a prestigious occupation. But it’s really like one of the only jobs where you have to have your diploma right up there on the wall. It makes them seem so insecure, doesn’t it?
"I really am a doctor you know. You think I’m not, just check it out."
I don’t know why they need these little bits of psychological leverage over us all the time.
"Go in that little room, take your pants off, wait 15 minutes, and I’ll give you my opinion."
After that, anyone that comes in with pants on seems like they know what they’re talking about. In any difference of opinion, pants always beats no-pants."
So true right?! I posted yesterday about the myth of home birth in the hospital-
When we move birth onto a womans turf we change the entire power dynamic.
When somebody comes to YOUR door, you get to let them in or not. You are the expert in your home. You get to choose how and where you labor. If you want to be totally naked- go ahead, you are in your home among only people that you have invited there.
This simply can not happen in a hospital. Who is the expert in the hospital? Who gets asked the questions? Who makes all the final decisions? Whose permission do you have to ask to do anything? I will give you a hint- it isn't you.
When we move birth out of the hospital we empower women- it is as simple as that. When a woman births in her own home, on her own time, how and where she wants, she gets to be in charge.
This is the way birth SHOULD be. This is one of the most powerful and yet vulnerable times in a woman's life. It is absolutely disgusting that at this time women are being bullied, threatened, and told what to do.
How can we possibly give birth with abandon with a bunch of strangers watching us, telling us what to do, and yes wearing pants while we walk around in a backless, shapeless gown.
Wednesday, August 11, 2010
and struggling to pick something out on the menu that I could eat. I have been restricting my diet lately to see if it would improve a little annoying health issue I have been having and so I have removed dairy, gluten, eggs and sugar from my diet.
First, I felt like a freak. When I asked the guy behind the counter if dressing XYZ had dairy in it he didn't seem to know anything. I was obviously not your average customer. I was a little embarrassed too because I was holding up the line and people behind me were starting to get irritated about my neurotic ways.
Finally I decided on a salad with no croutons and a balsamic dressing on the side. It seemed like it should be be fine with my restrictions.
When I got the salad it of course had cheese all over it. I had not known that would be on it. I scraped off what I could but inevitably there was some left over on top. I ate it anyway and it filled me up even though it would have been easier just to make myself something at home.
And your point is...
I have recently been hearing the term "home birth in the hospital". I have even seen a local hospital midwife use it in her advertisements. It is a nice idea when you think of it. You get all the benefits of the hospital (drugs and surgery available on demand) but you also get (hopefully) natural birth in a home like setting (you know, there are curtains on the windows).
I am not saying that you cannot have a natural birth in a hospital. You can. I have done it. It is done every day. It is however, generally not easy. Women usually have to work very hard for it and know their stuff but - it is totally doable. (This is where the serious importance of hospital choice and care provider choice really comes into play- policies vary widely. It is hard to buck an actual hospital policy, so pay attention and ask questions.)
What they experience is generally akin to what I experienced in a fast food restaurant today. You can go to fast food joint X and ask for a gluten-free, dairy-free, sugar-free, egg-free meal, but they do not have it on their menu. That is not what most of their customers want. The people that work there do not know how to "deal with you".
You might be able to get something close to what you were looking for, but it WILL NOT be exactly what you wanted because that is simply not what fast food joints do.
How does a fast food restaurant make its money? They make burgers fast and cheap and they sell them all the same: two pickles, special sauce, and a piece of lettuce on a white bun. Guess what- modern US hospitals, work much the same way. Birth is now a money making, assembly line business.
Food is more than white flour and grease and corn fed beef. Food can be amazing. It can taste good, it can make you feel good, and it can feed your body exactly what it needs.
Birth, like a burger, can be assembly line. It can be a money maker. It can be sped and slowed and controlled. It can be timed, planned and kept in a box.
That is not however what a burger should be like, and it is certainly not what birth should be like. Birth can be so much more than this.
It can literally be orgasmic. Life changing. Amazing. Trans-formative. Beautiful. Empowering. Birth can be the best experience of a woman's life. It can make her feel more powerful and womanly than anything she has ever experienced. It can also, like that burger, make her feel sick, depressed, violated and disgusted.
Now if you want a home birth- HAVE ONE. I am going to say it again, because I hear so many woman say that they WANT a home birth, they are medically able to have one, and yet they don't. They do not do it because they feel safer in the hospital (just in case) and because they believe the idea that you can have a home birth in the hospital. Hospital birth is a VERY viable option and can be a wonderful choice. The vast majority of my students have fantastic hospital births. But, if you want a home birth, you can only have one at home.
You can have a natural birth in the hospital, but you can not have a home birth in a hospital. I have had both. The first home birth I attended made me realize that I would not (unless I needed to or felt deeply that I must) have another hospital birth.
My hospital birth was amazing, but my home birth was untouched, un-technical, uninterrupted. It was a home birth. It was magical. It was birth as all it could be and all it is meant to be. And it was much better than a greasy burger.
Tuesday, August 10, 2010
(This is a guest post from one of Mama Births Facebook followers. I have wanted to do a post on healing from traumatic birth but really felt like I needed another persons perspective to cover it well. This post is so raw and emotional, I think it will speak to a lot of women. Normally this is my positive birth story day, and I know this is a little different, but I hope you will enjoy and learn from it. You can read the post in its original form here. Thanks and enjoy!)
I always knew some births were hard, some births were traumatic, and that some births went in a direction that the moms didn't want them to go. I knew that births where there were stillbirths, or a mentally handicapped child, or a preemie, or a special needs child comes, and of course I can see where there is a lot of medical intervention (whether for good or bad) that can become a "birth trauma".
What I didn't know, was that a birth trauma can come from what today's society claims to be a natural, normal birth. What I didn't know was that a mama who had a vaginal birth, could easily be someone who has birth trauma. I didn't realize that birth trauma could actually, happen to me.
When I first heard this I decided I needed to delve further into what "birth trauma" was, and who exactly suffered from it. Was it something that was thought up, or was it something that many women faced? Was birth trauma a general term? And what encompassed having a "traumatic" birth?
The questions swarmed me. So I started my research. Come to find out there are TONS and I literally mean TONS of birth trauma support groups. There are things IRL there are things on line, there is a whole entire plethera of women out there that feel they have had some sort of birth trauma. By all sorts of means. Women who feel they were "birth raped". Women who had trauma because the baby was in distress, or they were. Women who feel they were violated with medical intervention where it wasn't necessary. Women who felt comefortable delivering at a hospital, only to be turned off by the whole situation.
Now that I did all this research, and all this speaking to other women...it was time to disect my own heart, mind and soul. It was time to face what was potentially MY birth trauma....and I didn't even know it.
When I had my daughter I knew a lot....well, alot in terms of what the books, the doctors, the nurses, told me. I knew what was textbook, what was average, and what was medical. Turns out I had a very textbook pregnancy, no complications...and even though a long labor, it was a good one.
I went into labor on Tuesday morning after having my membranes stripped. 20 minutes later I had my first real good contraction. Not a practice one that was for sure. That afternoon I went to court, as I was suing an old landlord. The contractions continued, regularly, but spaced far apart. I didn't realize I was in early labor. To be honest I didn't really hear a lot about early labor, or that it could take days while preparing my body for the birth. I didn't know that I should go about my life and continue on doing what I normally did. While I did get out and about walking around, going to the store (even with my mom to get her nails done), I didn't think about anything except when was this baby coming, and why weren't these contractions more painful?
I kept wanting the pain...wanting everything to happen. I didn't understand why I was sent home from the hospital. They gave EVERYONE I knew pitocin...why didn't they give it to me?? (Little did I know then, it was a HUGE blessing in disguise.) So I went home and labored some more. And more...and then some more. Finally the contractions were intense. I knew..just KNEW this time they wouldn't send me home, that I was for sure going to have this baby.
I was in labor for a total of 3 days. 36 hours of that hard labor. I had an epidural that worked far too well, 5 hours before I delivered. It took me 40 minutes to push her out, because I couldn't feel a thing. I couldn't even lift my own right leg. It was totally numb and limp. While I thought at the time the epidural was the best thing, I now look back on it thinking..it was only 5 more hours...and I would have done it without the epidural.
The doctor gave me a full out episiotomy. It was horrible to recover from. Hurt so bad. But I managed.
My daughter was placed on my chest and given oxygen, she was left there long enough for a few photos to be taken, and for me to think her eyes were brown..when in fact they were blue. I made a statement, "Your eyes are brown!?" and they whisked her to the warmer. For toxic injections, and to be handled by half a dozen hands that weren't her mothers, hands that were strange. Hands that belonged to voices she had never heard. When they felt she was healthy enough, and was injected (which I don't even remember seeing it happened so quickly and so discretely) she was given back to me. After I had been stitched up from a most-likely unnecessary episitomy.
It was a 'normal' hospital delivery. I stayed for 48 hours so they could continue to test her for jaundice several times, and to make sure her blood was OK..for who knows what reasons.
I went home and we started our amazing life together. Breastfeeding came quickly to her and I. She latched on and just fed. After 8 weeks I decided to wean her. She wasn't ready, but weaned to a bottle and formula fairly easily. She was just an easy transitioning baby, so I suppose I was "lucky". I weaned WAY too early...and in a misinformed manner. I didn't know I could keep breastfeeding. I didn't know it was OK. I didn't know I could work around any schedules I had in order to breast feed. I didn't know I could do it discretely enough. I just plain didn't know. I didn't even know to ask, because by the books, I was doing what was right.
Fast forward a year and a half, and we are trying to get pregnant with baby #2. This is where I believe part of the "trauma" comes in. Even though I feel that even with my daughter's birth, there could have been things handled much differently.
I didn't even KNOW about homebirths. I didn't know it was an option, a choice, or anything anyone would chose to do unless their labor happened so quickly they had no choice. I wasn't raised in a real birthy environment. And it wasn't a regular thing for me to see a baby nursing. Even though my mother nursed her infants, it was only for a few months. And then it was time to wean. So I didn't have the examples of free birthing, of open birthing, of the natural, sensual, sexual aspect of birthing has.
It took us almost 2 years to conceive baby #2. After a year of trying with no success, we talked about getting tested by fertility doctors to see if there was a problem. We both agreed we could get tested but then what?? Would we pursue fertility treatments? Would we go into debt? Were we willing? The answer was a clear and resounding no. If the Lord didn't want us to have more children, then we weren't going to have more children. That was literally our thinking. We felt that we didn't need medical intervention in order to conceive, we either could...or...coudln't. (It is so odd to me here, the hindsight. We believed God would know if we didn't need anymore children. That His Will was what was best for us, if that meant no more children. We were willing to accept a barren womb, and one blessed child. We were against the medical interventions....yet, our choices later did not reflect this thinking at all. Which is why I believe there was what I now can label, "birth trauma".)
Eventually I became pregnant. Because we were "trying", I tested often. I felt odd, and decided to go to WalMart and buy a test. I had to use the restroom so I took it right there in the store. There stood a faint line. I asked my sister if she saw it, and surely she did. Oh my goodness I was pregnant. I called my husband, who in turn called everyone before I got home!
When I got home I busted out my calendar and determined (which was determined to be accurate later) that I was 3 weeks and 3 days pregnant. It was a miracle the test even showed positive!! I was SO early in a pregnancy. I went to bed, happier than I had been in a LONG time.
The next day I woke up sick as a dog, throwing up, throwing down..literally coming out of every part of me. I thought it was morning sickness. I called the doctor and said, NURSE! I have been vomitting for 10 hours, what is wrong!? Turns out, I had the flu! ahaha...the day after the 24 hour flu, I started spotting..then I started to bleed..it was bright red.
I took another pregnancy test...it said positive. Of course..even if I were miscarrying, my HCG levels would still be high enough to present a positive on a test.
I decided to call the doctor, who of course told me to go to the ER. Why bother him right?
The ER does an external U/S but I was too early on and you couldn't see the baby! So internal U/S here I come. It was uncomfortable and quite unpleasant. I don't feel I enjoyed any part of it. But we found the baby (which they thought could be a tubal, and that was causing the bleeding) who was right where he should be. Safely tucked into the thickly lined uterus..in his womb.
The entire time the ER staff was talking to me about this U/S..they kept saying, prepare yourself if it is tubal to abort this pregnancy. Get rid of what is causing the problem, they said. Are you kidding me!? I spent 2 years trying to GET THIS BABY IN THERE! And you want me to prepare to "abort this thing"!? I was appalled. I was mortified...I was traumatized....and didn't even know it.
The pregnancy was rough as far as I was very tired and threw up all the time. I was so upset in the beginning, depression started settling in. By the time I was 5 months pregnant it was very clear I was suffering from prenatal depression. I knew of post partum depression, but prenatal? What kind of freak was depressed while pregnant!? ME that is who!
It spiraled downwards. I was testy and irritable with my daughter. Who endured more than she should have had to...the yelling. Man I was a yeller. I had no patience, I didn't try to gain any. I expected far too much from a 3 year old. I love her to death, and am willingly and eagerly making up for the times she had to listen to me, now.
My marriage became rougher and more rocky. It already was because it was so strenuous and stressful trying to conceieve and believing you had some sort of secondary infertility. We fought all the time. It was so unbearable..I felt like I no longer wanted this baby. Why was I growing a baby to bring him into my miserable life? The depression grew. The trauma grew. And I didn't even know it.
Then I actually go into labor. I labor at home by myself in the night for 8 hours. It started at 1AM. I had been having strong contractions during that evening and during my walk that night. But nothing that I considered anything more than the Braxton Hicks I had already been experiencing. So I went to bed, comfortably, and next to my husband.
I woke at 1AM with a real contraction. It was a nice strong, long one...I woke up having to breathe through it. I got up, and walked around for a little while, and the contractions didn't seem as strong anymore. So I went back to bed. The contractions came again, so I started nipple stimulation during them, to keep them going stronger and longer. (The one thing I did know about midwifery care and tactics then!) This definitely worked.
So I started a slow and calm nightime laboring. It was just me. I was in a T-Shirt and bare bottomed. My husband was asleep, and I wanted him to stay that way, I wanted him rested for the delivery. Our daughter was asleep in her room, and being the great sleeper she is, I knew she wouldn't wake up.
Walking up and down our stairs worked so well. It helped the contractions stay really regular. Then they started to hurt more, so I went to the tub. The shower helped so much...the hot water beating down on the contractions, helping dull and soothe the pain. (I bet had I kept this up, I could have delivered right in the tub, but didn't know about that then). I switched from walking, leaning over the bed and rocking my hips, being in the shower, walking the stairs, and laying in bed to get through the next 8 hours.
At 9AM I woke up my husband and said that we needed to go. We called the sitter who was supposed to take our daughter, and that sitter decided to bail on us for a ridiculously WHACK reason. So Todd had to stay home with Hailee, and I rode to the hospital with my brother and my mom. It was terrible. I was being separated from my daughter and husband. I was crying. I didn't want to leave them. I had my husband's warm, soothing, soft, rhythmic breathing body to lay next to all night, and now he was away from me. And we had NO IDEA what we were going to do with our daughter! What was I going to do? My family! Again, more trauma.
We get to the hospital, check in, and head upstairs. In a wheel chair of course. Pssh..... I get upstairs, and had to be put in a triage room, because the others were all filled, and there was a mom about to start to push, and I could probably have her room soon. I was hooked up to monitors right away, and taken away the priveledge of being able to eat and drink. Which I had been utilizing all night long. More trauma. My mom snuck me soda anyway, because I wanted her too, and believed even then, that eating and drinking during labor was very important. No matter what the hospital said. (Again, in hindsight, if I would have dug deeper into what I barely knew of, and sort of believed in, I would have had so much more control, and it could have been MY birth, not the doctor's).
The doctor comes in. This is the same doctor that delivered my daughter. While he is a good doctor, he is very medical..very, very medical. Believes he knows what is best for the woman, rather than him learning from the woman and her body. Anyway, the doc states that it is time to break my water. He broke it with my previous labor as well. I didn't know I could say no. I didn't know I had the right to say absolutely not! BUT, I did freak out. I kept saying, NOW? Eww..my husband isn't here yet. We can't do it right now! But he insisted, said it would help, and that he was there now, so it needed to be done now. So I let him do it. I should have kicked him. Grrr...
My husband finally got there, and I was moved into an actual birthing room. That move was so uncomfortable, because as soon as my water was broken, my contractions hurt to the point I couldn't control myself and had no one to center me, and pull me back. I sort of let the pain take over my mind, rather than letting my mind take over the pain. I was wheeled to the other room, and because I was on my back, I knew it was time for an epidural. It hurt SO BADLY to be on my back. I didn't know then, that being on your back is literally the WORST position to have your baby in. That it makes your pelvic opening the absolute smallest on back lying position, than any other position your body can be in. Anyway, the other doc comes in, whips out an epidural in no time. Except this time it doesn't work. I have a cathedar in my back, with drugs running into it, and it doesn't work. So where the heck are the drugs going in my back if they aren't going where they need to to make this epi work!?
I had no time to worry or freak out about that, because once again, I was too impatient, and had no centering, and only 30 minutes after my epidural was in, I was pushing out my child. They told me his oxygen was low, that he had meconium, that I couldn't have him on my chest. It took me 20 minutes to push him out, because the epidural didn't work He came out blue. Completely blue and purple. I have no idea what happened after that. As I didn't see my child for over a half an hour.
What I DO remember however, was a horrible episiotomy. More trauma. That I told my doc and his entire staff, my entire pregnancy, I didn't want. I was against, to do anything possible to NOT have one. I didn't know it was better to tear and just heal from that. I remember him sticking the needle with the Litacane in my perineum. It hurt. I mean I could feel my son's head coming out, and that needle was all I could focus on, and it hurt. Before I knew it he popped out...he didn't need to, I could have pushed him out on my own.
The epidural cathedar was left in my back for 5 hours. I couldn't even bend forward to change my own son's diaper. It was terrible. And it made me so sad. ( I am in tears writing this.) Trauma....again.
I begged to go home. They refused. I wasn't allowed to go home. I was told no.
Breastfeeding was hard with my son at first. He couldn't get latched on, and when he did, I barely had enough colostrum to make him happy. Eventually we "cup fed" him some formula, and a few days later my milk came in.
He was an amazing breast feeder. He LOVED being on the boob. He was so happy there. He was always calmed by being put at my breast. It was a beautiful thing. The only problem was the post partum depression had sank in so deeply and so severely I was selfish and uncaring. I wanted time for me, not for him. I wanted my body back. And I stopped breast feeding him at 4 months of age. FAR before he was ready. And he made that very clear by his lack of wanting a bottle, his lack of wanting formula. It was a fight, and one that I fought..stupidly, and selfishly.
We decided we didn't need anymore kids. We had two. A boy and a girl. Besides, everyone says that is the perfect family and we should be grateful for what we have. We didn't have the money. I didn't want to be on birth control anymore. I knew it was partially to blame for the severe PPD. So we had a vasectomy. Even though I truly believe under it all, deep within us, neither of us wanted it done.
So here we are now, in August 2010. And I am realizing that I had trauma from the very beginning of this whole second child ordeal, things I didn't deal with. I didn't go through the emotions, or let my true feelings out. I suppressed so much for the sake of others, the world, society, money...it was horrible.
I have birth trauma. And it is very real.
I feel that I need what I have hear referred to as a "healing birth". I don't know that I will ever be able to feel as if things went the way they were supposed to if I don't get another go at it.
Only problem is that vasectomy. So we are waiting for work to slow down. The reversal doctors office doesn't have any openings in the next month anyway.
It is just so shocking to me the possibility that this is what has happened to me...and the more shocking reality that I really didn't even know it.
(I had a request for a post on doulas, and though I think they are fantastic, have even been one a few times, I just don't feel qualified to post about them. This fantastic mama- and fellow blogger, said I could share her post so here it is. I love her perspective and I often tell students in my class that even though dad is well trained after a great childbirth class, a good doula can make the experience better for everybody. Enjoy! You can check out the original post here.)
Can I first just say how unbelievably excited I am to finally have a platform where I can share everything I’ve learned in the last few years about childbirth, breastfeeding and cloth-diapering (yes, we’ll get to those last two topics eventually)! I don’t claim to be an expert in these areas but I have spent a considerable amount of time researching them, and hope to offer insight to those that may come across my blog. I also hope to learn more from the moms that decide to hang out at my blog, so please, post your comments so we may all learn from each other. And check out the pureMotherhood Facebook page where I’ll be posting links to articles and other sites I think you’ll like, and where we can discuss all things related to Motherhood.
So, on to the topic of this post, Doulas! As I mentioned in my previous post, I spent a lot of time on the Babycenter Birth Boards when I was pregnant with my first baby. Doulas were high on the recommendation list of those who had had natural births in a hospital. I was a little put off by the word doula at first (I was thinking mystical and Hippie) and I am NOT that type. Thankfully I found out that Doula is an ancient Greek term and just means “a woman who serves” or “mothering the mother”. So it wasn’t anything *mystical* but I was still pretty sure they were just a bunch of hippie chicks.
Despite my reservations, I decided that if I was going to do the natural birth thing, I was going to need one. I told my husband. He flipped. Seriously. He told me I had gone off the deep end with all this natural birthing stuff and wasn’t about to have anyone else in the birthing room with us. The biggest fight of our (then) 8 year marriage ensued. I kid you not. It wasn’t yelling and screaming but it did last at least 24 hours and lingered for another week. (I have his permission to tell this story, and it turns out good, but you have to hear the bad to appreciate the ending.)
In God’s providence, through a set of unusual circumstances, Brian (my husband) finally agreed to interview a doula (or as he affectionately calls them, a doo-wop, because he can’t remember the word doula) I had found through DONA (Doulas of North America). I chose her because of the mission and Bible verse displayed on her website, Birth By Design: “We believe that birth is a natural process and is a gift given to a woman by her Creator. With tender and nurturing support, the woman in labor has the unique opportunity to be an active participant in the birth of her child.” (The verse is Psalm 139:14.) I was pretty sure she was a Christian and thought that might bode well for me in convincing Brian we needed her.
Sure enough, she showed up to our house and started talking about how she really likes to incorporate faith in her births. She was indeed a Christian. My husband was won over almost immediately. She spent several hours at our house that night and when she left we both were certain she would be a part of our first child’s birth.
To say she was invaluable to us is an understatement, if it can be.
First, she helped me locate an OB/GYN who was a proponent of natural childbirth. To some this might seem like a crazy statement, but believe me, they are few and far between (I will have an entire post related to this issue in the near future – probably more than one). If you want more info now, I highly recommend watching The Business of Being Born.
Second, she provided us with WAY more information about labor and delivery than will ever be taught in a hospital birthing class. And it was in the comfort of our own home, where we could ask as many questions as we wanted (that was a 4 hour visit – THANK YOU JULIE)!
Third, the pictures she took during the labor and delivery were perfect. And the birth story she put together for us is such a treasure.
Fourth, the support during my LONG 33.5 hour labor was wonderful. She not only supported me, she supported Brian (and held the puke bucket when the vibration from the whirlpool was just too much for my laboring body to handle).
Wanna know what Brian said after it was all over? I would have paid her 5x as much. And he was all about hiring her again for the birth of our second baby.
Monday, August 9, 2010
(You can see the original post and website here)
This is a guest post (actually re-post) from one of Mama Birth's Facebook followers. I have long wanted to do something about the trauma of cesarean birth, but just have not felt adequate for the task. I think it is something that you really have to have been through in order to truly understand it.
Thank you so much for your beautiful words mama-
Enjoy this fantastic post with lots of resources for the cesarean survivor.
I have never taken a picture of my cesarean scar. I don’t look at it, I pretend it doesn’t exist. It helps that it is barely 4 inches long, and so low that it is covered by hair, and so pale that even if there wasn’t hair you could barely see it.
Being pregnant again has made my scar come out in more ways than one. I can feel it most every day. It gets little twinges and stretchings as my uterus is growing. As it does this, I am realizing I need to completely come to peace with my daughter’s birth, and the scars I hold on both the inside and the outside.
In planning an unassisted birth after cesarean, I didn’t realize how much fear and distrust I held against myself from the delivery and cesarean section. As I was trying to write the birth that I want to have, I couldn’t do it. I kept having visions of surgery, and general anesthesia, and a baby in the NICU. I put it all off, and finally last night realized what I needed to do.
Last night on twitter, one of my favorite people @shh_she_sleeps wrote and posted her cesarean birth story. I knew it was an emergency cesarean, but I didn’t know what happened. I clicked to her story, and instantly was in tears for her.
(You can read her birth story here, but make sure to have tissues handy).
I cried for the pain she went through, for the loss of what she wanted. And through the tears I realized, even more than I had before, that sometimes emergency cesareans leave much deeper scars than unnecessary ones. The knowing that this is how your child HAD to be born, and yet hating that it had to be that way. You can’t be angry at a doctor or midwife or nurse, you feel that it is your own body that failed you. Your own body that didn’t protect your baby so it had to be surgically removed from your abdomen.
This mother writing her story is so strong. She is amazing. It took me 18 months to write the story of my daughter’s birth. And then almost three years to even say it all out loud. She is doing amazing.
Healing comes from more than just pushing things away. When you have scars that run deep, such as from a cesarean section whether necessary or not, you have to deal with the fear and uncertainty of what that does to the future.
My cesarean caused my three miscarriages. It hurt my fertility. It made me angry and bitter for a long time at women that had vaginal deliveries. I still have rages of jealousy when women choose what I wish I had, and then had beautiful births. I am working through this all to let go of my fear and anger at what happened, but it is taking a lot more work than I thought it would. Coming to terms with a major surgery that could have been prevented is not fun.
There are so many women holding in scars from their surgeries. So many women that change the day of their birth of their child. So many women that don’t realize there is something better out there.
Around Christmas, my friend @babydickey was barrated into an unnecessary cesarean section. She nodded her head and the cesarean was done for no reason besides she was a little slower to dilate than the doctor wanted. She has already started to advocate for other women. She started an ICAN chapter, which she holds in her home. She is already miles ahead of where I was.
Another friend, @birthbabiesblog, has had two cesarean sections. One was pushed, the second was necessary. She has since advocated for women. She started an ICAN chapter in her area, is now a Regional Director for ICAN, plus she has a few blogs all over the blogsphere educating women about pregnancy, birth, and cesarean prevention.
Another friend, @sylkozakur had a cesarean with her fourth child. Ended up pushing for a long time, and the baby wasn’t descending. Even as necessary as it was, it can traumatize deeper because it feels like the body has forgotten how to grow and birth a baby.
My friend @devaskyla has had three children. Her first was a cesarean, and her next two were unassisted birth after cesareans. Her first ended up being a cesarean because her water broke before labor, and doctors are too scared to wait for labor to start on its own. So much pressure to do what is safe for your baby, and they pressure you into things that aren’t needed.
The most powerful story of all, if powerful is even the right word comes from my friend @Preparing4Birth. She had a cesarean with her first, a VBAC with her second, a CBAC with her third, and a VBA2C with her fourth. Such an amazing woman. She is now head of Preparing For Birth, teaches childbirth classes, is an incredible doula, and is President of ICAN. The story of her CBAC shows where her power came from. Shows that she truly is one of the best women to be leading ICAN.
So many of the scars from a cesarean are below the surface. They can change us so we are terrified of birth and schedule cesareans for the next so we have a sense or control, or they empower us to change what happens either for ourselves or others.
Working through the emotions left after a surgery where your child is born is so hard. So much has to be done to understand what is needed to finally be at peace with the experience. I wish I had the answers to it all. I wish I could help other women understand that it is okay to love your child but hate the day they are born. To help them prepare so they are less likely to even have a cesarean. To truly believe in their own ability to birth their baby.
It is your body. Work though all the scars how you need to. Take the time to do it. And most of all, remember that us other cesarean moms are here to talk to if you need it.
Saturday, August 7, 2010
I asked on my Facebook page for some breastfeeding tips for the first time mother- Here they are! I love learning from other women. Birth and mothering are the great universal experiences of women- Enjoy!
-Get GOOD professional help before baby is born (doula or childbirth educator who specializes in breastfeeding help), join a breastfeeding support group BEFORE baby arrives. go see Dr. Newman- Dani
-I tell all my moms "Nursing may be a natural thing to do, but it does not always come naturally--- sometimes it's really hard & you have to learn your baby & vice versa"
Then depending on the issue I'll offer other advice. I struggled mightily breastfeeding all 5 of mine & only consider 1 of them "successful" so I've been there...- Kristine
-Forewarned is form armed. But in this case where the baby is already born and struggling to breastfeed i would invite them along to a breastfeeding support group i attend. Even just having a sense of sisterhood with the other women who have been and done it will increase a woman's confidence. Then i would get her sat down with one of the peer support workers there to discuss the problems she was having.- Caroline
-If you can get through that very first week of the baby learning how to latch, dealing with your body changing and adjusting, and just getting the hang of breastfeeding, you will be in the clear. Really use your lactation specialists, nurses... on the L&D floor (if you birth in a hospital) or your midwife/doula, and especially your local Le Leche League- this group really helped me with some positions and has given a lot of support! Try to find a breastfeeding moms group (I live in Neenah wi and there is a GREAT place down town (Mom and Pop Place) that is very pro breastfeeding and hold weekly pop in groups for moms and their children. The advice from seasoned breast feeders is wonderful! don't give up, you can do it, we are designed to feed our babies- just some of us need more help in learning. Remember, your baby is learning too! Breastfeeding will help form a unbreakable bond with you and your baby!- Erika
-Breast-feeding rarely gets harder only easier. It's not going to get worse or be this hard forever!
Small goals - 6 weeks, 12 weeks, 6 months, a year, until my child is ready!- Usha
-Relax. It does get easier. This is new for you, and for you precious little one. Try different positions, sitting up isn't always the best. Sometimes laying on your side and feeding is more relaxing for you and for the baby. Hang in there, ...there will be tough times, but those times will be heavily outweighed by the amazing bond and gift you are creating and giving. Keep it up. You are an amazing mama, follow your heart and your choices. Don't back down. When it gets hard, find someone to be there, to support you, cheer you on and be your biggest fan. -Tawny
-stay present- Lisa
-Yes, it can be incredibly hard at times... but the rewards for you and baby are tremendous (from a Mama of a 4 month old-- that still finds times tough)- Kate
-Take it easy on yourself and get help from an LC asap! And remember, you and baby are both new to this and you're both learning!- Lisa
-Adjust and re-adjust. Just because they are "latched on" doesn't mean that it is the right way or that you can't adjust.- Emily
-Drink lots of water and make it your goal to sit back, relax and enjoy feeding your baby. forget about housework or any other demands because they all pail in comparison to spending time with your newborn. feed on baby's schedule and throw out yours! smile!- Amy
-I'd tell her, every time you think about giving it up b/c its "too hard" or "too much work", just think about night time feedings. No more just picking baby up and comfortably nursing her back to sleep! If bottle feeding...you now have to get up and prepare a bottle all while trying to console a hungry, crying babe!-Nichole
-God wouldn't give you this amazing body to grow and birth this baby only to let it die of starvation. Your body was made for this. Your baby was made for this. Get together a support team (LC, LLL, Lucky Baby, hubby, mom, MIL, friends, whoever) before your baby comes. Know the effects of labor drugs on your baby and how they'll affect breastfeeding initiation. Sleep with your baby and learn to nurse laying down - whether he's in bed with you or in a co sleeper next to the bed, everyone will get more sleep in those early days! Read everything you can get your hands on! The good, the bad, the strange! Lots of people tried to dissuade me when they learned I was planning to breastfeed and because I was educated I was able to gently defend myself and my plans. And just remember, it will get easier! These days will only be a memory in a very short time! -Janelle