Archive for May, 2011

Pizzas are Delivered. Babies are Caught.
May 16, 2011

What a Day!!  What started as a normal Sunday at church turned into a story that will be retold for years (man, we even made the news tonight!)

So, I arrived at church, a little late as has been our new norm since baby Luke (our baby, now 4 wks) has arrived, and was greeted by Jen, our pastor’s wife, who excitedly told me that she had lost her mucus plus this morning!  Cool, I thought, but that doesn’t mean anything as far as when actual labor might begin – it could still be days.  She told me she had a few braxton-hicks contractions, but nothing to take notice of and she didn’t want to tell her husband because she didn’t want him to be distracted (he is the pastor after all).  I asked about her doula and she informed me she was in Hawaii.  Well, I thought, I could be a doula, I guess. . .

I kept a close eye on Jen during the church service swaying her hips back and forth and at times closing her eyes in what appeared to be very peaceful relaxation.  I suggested she take a walk around the park (our church meets at the HB central library surrounded by a huge park) but she wanted to wait till after the service to tell Jerrod, who was in the middle of preaching a sermon (and a very fine one at that!). 

After church, the birth waves were about 3 minutes apart and lasting almost a minute, so I did what my amazing doula told me to do – Walk!!  Jerrod was hurridly cleaning up after church and taking care of last minute things before they left for the hospital.  Jen was handling everything really with no coaching and was still talking and chatting between birth waves so I was thinking Early First Stage, no need to rush.  We all thought it could still be hours before the baby is born.  One of the mantras of natural birth is to labor at home as LONG as possible – knowing how much Jen really wanted a natural birth, I was in no hurry to send her off to the hospital!  And so off we set to walk around the park!

We enjoyed a beautiful walk in the sunshine and the cool ocean breeze, stopping every 2 minutes for another birth wave.  Then we were stopping every minute and a half, but Jen was still very talkative (a signpost for Early First Stage) and didn’t seem to be phased by any of the birth waves.   Let’s keep going and get these contractions long and hard – so we went!  Ambulate, Hydrate, Urinate!  Jen told me later she had thought that maybe we should leave for the hospital, but didn’t say anything and being a homebirther myself, I never learned what signs to watch for to tell you when to leave for the hospital – so I told her to keep going!

We walked to the bathroom in the park and after Jen got out, there was a double peak contraction (2 contractions without a break) and at that point I should have recognized that maybe we should leave for the hospital, but I didn’t.  Halfway back to the church, another couple double peak contractions. . . I texted Jerrod to get ready to leave!  Jen said she needed to use the bathroom sooooo bad so I suggested we walk back to the bathroom in the park, but she said she’d prefer the one in the library.  It’s a good thing she did!

A few more steps, a few more birth waves.  Then she became very quiet and serious, not wanting to be disturbed during a rush . . oh oh – signs of late first stage!  Then I noticed she began grunting through contractions – um, transition??  We finally made it back to the bathroom inside the library/church.  I had Luke (now 4 weeks) in my wrap strapped to me and I was thinking how he needed a fresh diaper so I left Jen in the bathroom to try to flag someone down to grab me a diaper for my baby.  When I came back, Jen said, “Sarah, I think I need to push!”  Being the great coach that I was trying to be, I regurgitated what my midwife told me: “Great!  Do whatever your body is telling you to do!  If you need to push, push!”   Oh, I love the sound of a mommy pushing a baby out on her own!!  I never once thought about having the baby in the bathroom or at the library – my midwife has caught babies everywhere, so I thought babies should just be born where ever they want to be!  

Jen disagreed (at first).  She said, “No! I can’t have the baby in the bathroom!”  Ok, I said, where do you want to have it?  I asked her if she wanted to go back out to the park or in the library?  “No”  I guess the bathroom will work then.   I did ask her between the next contraction if she could please unlock the door, because there was no way I could crawl under the stall with Luke on me to unlock the door.  Luke was getting fussy so I started nursing him.   Jen still wasn’t sold on the idea so I kept reassuring her and told her that God knew exactly where He wanted this baby to be born. 

A couple more contractions and a few more pushes.  Then Michelle poked her head in the bathroom – Ahhhhh!!!! Another BRADLEY TRAINED MOMMY!!!  Come in!! Come in!!  Praise the Lord – He sent Michelle!  At some point I had caught one of the ushers of the church and asked him to call the police or the firefighters or whoever catches babies ‘cuz we might be needing someone just in case!  

Michelle and I got ready to catch the baby as Jen grabbed the handicap bars in the bathroom in the most beautiful squat over the toilet (the modern day birthing stool).  Then, in our peaceful serene moment, suddenly a barrage of people came flooding in!  The dispatch from 911 apparently had their own idea about birth – she told us to have Jen lay down . . .WHAT?!?!  Lay down??  As in supine?  (Besides being hung by your toes, the supine position is the absolute Worst position for birth!)  And on the floor in a public restroom???  Then the dispatcher told us to get her off the toilet – apparently afraid the baby would fall in the toilet??  Um, are you crazy??  So much for being able to expect some help!  I heard Harold arguing that we knew what we were doing and to leave us along (Oh, I love him!).   At some point he took the Luke from me, so unfortunately Luke missed his second birthing experience.

The baby’s head was crowning and then the head was half born.  I reached up and held the baby’s head and the face came out.  I could feel his nose and mouth and I put pressure on the perineum to help prevent tearing (Guess I’ve watched too many birth videos, huh?)  Jen said she thought his body was going to come out on the next contraction.  I got both hands ready and I told Michelle to get her hands ready!  A few seconds later and out slide this beautiful healthy little boy!!  We caught him and put him immediately up to Jen’s tummy – the best heater on earth! 

What excitement!!  Jen was overjoyed and exclaimed over and over “I did it!!  I did it!!”  We were all so thrilled!!  The baby let out a big healthy cry and we knew all was good.  Another beautiful, drug free baby born at home at the library into the arms of mommy and daddy!  Oh, and did I mention it was a VBAC?!?!?!?!?!?!?

Then the EMT’s got there . . . (if you like happy stories, stop here and just bask in happy baby bliss)


So the EMT’s, fire fighters and a whole bunch of MEN storm into the women’s bathroom (come on – are there ANY women emergency responders that could have come??).  The first thing they want to do is take the baby from Jen – ummm, the baby is still attached – where do you think you’re going to take it???    He insisted that he needed to clean off the baby because the stuff that’s on the baby makes him cold (it’s called, “vernix.  Say it with me veeernix.”)  Really??  The “stuff” that’s on the baby makes him cold?  Of all the medical childbirth books I’ve read and classes I’ve taken I have NEVER heard that one before!  LOL!  I had already wrapped up the baby and Jen in one of Luke’s baby blankets so he was plenty warm.  I knew that if he pulled the baby or tried to take him, he could caused serious damage to the baby and the mommy and may have even severed the umbilical cord and caused life threatening bleeding.  I also tried to explain to him that the mommy’s tummy is best natural heater in the world and that the baby was not going to get cold.  I then tried to give him information about the condition of the mommy, the bleeding, and the responsiveness of the baby, you know, medical stuff I thought he needed to know to accurately assess the situation.  He really seemed to not know the first thing about natural childbirth.  I finally asked him if he had any training in childbirth.  You should have seen his face!!  He curtly told me he had 2 children.  I meant to ask him if he pushed them out, caught them or just watched because I was pretty sure I had him beat. 

Jen was standing there holding baby Titus and they yelled at her to sit down!  (But standing can be great to help with the placenta and to get all the organs shifted back in place).  Then they put Jen on a gurney to go to the ambulance (the dissertation on the sociological aspects of that to follow . . )  I was told they gave the baby oxygen on the way to the hospital and argued with Jen about cutting the cord (she insisted they wait until her husband could cut it – way to go, Jen!)  They also kept insisting that they wipe down the baby.  Pure ignorance.

It is amazing to see the response of everyone to this beautiful, natural – NON-Emergency birth.  People treated this natural event as a crisis and something that they needed to be ubberly concerned and worried about.  Really?  Does everyone panic every time someone throws up or has a bowel movement?  Childbirth should be considered just as normal as any other natural part of life!  Unfortunately, it seemed that giving birth in a bathroom and not in a hospital evoked a lot of fear, panic and commotion.   Couple that with complete ignorance and insistance that the baby must need interventions and assistance to survive – sorry Mr. Paramedic, but babies do not need to be cleaned immediately or suctioned or the cord cut.  In many natural births the baby isn’t bathed for a couple days, never suctioned and the cord isn’t cut for hours – how on earth do these babies ever survive?

Throughout this situation, there was never any need to be scared or nervous about this birth or the survival of this baby if you trust birth.  I trust in God who created birth and created our bodies to do exactly what they need to do to give birth and, when LEFT ALONE, our bodies work just fine on their own.  It’s mainly when drs and other people intervene and mess with birth that problems arise.  I’m extremely grateful that we have doctors and medical technology when there are complications (which in natural childbirth occurs in less than 3% of births) but the medical institutions must recognize that natural birth is a hands off event and learn to respect the process of birth.

Meanwhile, Titus weighed in at a whopping 6 lbs, 5 oz (that was Luke when I was about 6 months pregnant).  Baby and mom are doing just fine and enjoying the rush of birth (which unfortunately is not experienced to its fullest for many moms as epidurals block those hormones which trigger the birth ecstasy)  So enjoy it, Jen!!  You were a rock star!!  And how many other kids will be able to say they were born at the library?!?!


Get Educated!
May 13, 2011

Most people spend more time and do more research when buying a car than they do preparing for childbirth.

*Over 75% of American Births are medicated. “The way most US women are giving birth, vaginally or cesarean, is not healthy. The typical childbirth experience has been transformed into a morass of wires, tubes, machines and medications that leave healthy women immobilized, vuleranable to high levels of surgery, & burdened w/physical and emotional health concerns while caring for their newborns.”

*American Academy of Pediatrics – “No drug or chemical has ever been proven to be entirely free of potential harm to an unborn baby.” NOTHING (including epidurals & pitocin)

*Nearly 85% of all births in the U.S. are considered “traumatic” for both mother and child – Perhaps we should reconsider the way we approach a natural process?

*Midwifery is a key profession in birthing in every country in the world outside of North America. 

*Did you know 11 states make it illegal for a midwife to attend a home birth, subject to felony charges? So much for women’s rights. . .

*An OB is a trained Surgeon. “Using an OB for a low risk, healthy pregnancy and birth is like going to a brain surgeon for a headache.”

*In 2006, the British health secretary announced plans to encourage ALL UK women to consider giving birth at home. . .the gov’t is planning a ‘strategic shift’ in childbirth policy away from hospital delievery prompted by the World Health Organization’s conclusion that “Midwives are the most appropriate primary health care provider for birth.”

 *No study has ever shown home births resulted in worse outcomes than a hospital birth, but many studies have actually shown out-of-hospital births to be safer with better outcomes than hospital births.

*”The danger of home as a place of birth does not lie in its threat to the healthy survival of mothers and babies, but in its threat to the healthy survival of obstetricians and obstetric practice” (A Good Birth, A Safe Birth by Korte & Scaer)

Why does America hold such a pervasive cultural belief that birth is imminently dangerous — even in healthy, low-risk women? 

“I believe that one day every healthy woman will birth her baby at home into her own hands. It used to be that a birthing woman was surrounded by the women of her community, in her own home. It used to be that Mama and baby were tucked into bed for several weeks following the birth and nurtured by the women of her community.” It use to be and it can one day again be . . .

C-SECTIONS: Get Educated!
May 10, 2011

Many of you have been enjoying the FB daily Fun Facts of the Day, so I thought I’d compile some of them all together in one place.  Of course, this is not complete and there is so much more research out there about Cesarian and VBACs so PLEASE, Get Educated!  Don’t always take your doctor’s word on it!  Get a second opinion and educate yourself – it could make the difference between life and death.

*Convenience is the best explanation for the fact that induction of labor is so common that there are statistically significantly fewer births on weekends and at night.

*In a normal vaginal birth, a mommy can lose 300-500 ml of blood, anything over 500 ml is considered hemorrhaging. In a c-section, a mommy loses 1000 ml of blood . . .

 *A CDC study in 2006 of 5.7 million U.S. births found that infants born by cesarean with no medical risk factors were nearly 3x more likely to die within the first month of life than those born vaginally. 

*A Dutch study found that C-Sections cause 700% more deaths than vaginal births do.

*World Health Organization (WHO) recommends C-Section rates should be between 5% – 15%. American C-section rates are 33% and some hospitals (like Hoag) are close to 50%. WHO states that no region in the world is justified in having a cesarean rate greater than 10 to 15%. Why do you think America’s stats are so high?

 *In 1950, normal labor was 36 hours, and reduced to 24 hours in the 60’s and then to 12 hours in 1972 when “active management” of labor was introduced. No wonder the diagnosis of “Failure to Progress” has tripled. . .
“Have our uteri lost the knack this generation or have drs. speed up the clocks on us?”

*When compared with frequent monitoring by a nurse with a fetoscope, use of EFM (Electronic Fetal Monitor) was found to impart no benefit but it more than tripled the c-section rate and the EFM has been shown to have no effect on infant mortality.

“I wonder if the homebirthers and elective c-section crowd are really just two sides of the same coin: both are coping mechanisms of a sort, the goal being to avoid a traumatic labor and delivery caused by hospitals.”

Luke @ 3 Weeks
May 6, 2011

May 1, 2011

Keith: “There were ants in the sink! Don’t worry – I killed them with the toothbrush!”

Mommy & Daddy: “WHOSE?”

Keith: “The Pink one!”

Guess mommy’s getting a new toothbrush . . .