Kids a Part of Birth?

Yesterday, I was at work (as always) and decided to ask my twitter friends a question.

Would u have your older children with you to witness the birth of their younger siblings?

I was really excited to get the replies.

Anonymous mommy said: No. I dont think there is anything wrong with it but i personally wouldnt. I am more of a private person. I am a squeemish person so while birth is a wonderful thing, its still sort of gross to me. I dont want my kids to see that. Unless they want to. I dont want to sound like i am opposed to my kids witnessing a birth.

Mama Notes replied: I wouldn’t have my kids in the room while delivering but its hard to say right now. my mind might change.

Baby Defender said: my 7 yo witnessed the whole thing and she even cut the cord 🙂 She did watch hundreds of birth videos on youtube, as I was preparing her to our homebirth. my 4 yo was sleeping but I would’ve aloud her to watch also. I say get them to watch vids first. it was priceless… She is now a great helper and thinks she is the mother lol I bet she’ll have only homebirths! 🙂

Midwifery Merc
said:
this depends on what MOM wants in the throws of labor and what the children are capable of. Good to keep options open.

I never thought of having my kids witness me giving birth until just recently. On the BOBB (Business of Being Born), the first birth has the lady birthing and her son is there with her. It looked like such a happy moment. What a way to begin bonding as a family!

What are your thoughts on it? Do you think it helps strengthen children’s views on birth and maybe prepares them for their own? Or do you think education is enough and birth is a private affair between husband and wife?

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My First Vent Post

At work, as you all probably know, I cruise blogs looking for new insights, material, and great stores. Well, today, I found some great stuff….

She is an OB and she had a post on home birth midwives. I hadn’t seen it before when I was reading her blog, and I totally wish I had. It made me rethink liking her stuff.

So, here goes!

MIDWIVES: Midwives are not dumb hippies that aren’t trained. In the 26 states where they are allowed to get licensed, they are trained for at least 4 years, do an apprenticeship during their training, go to school, and learn how to take care of low risk women. They aren’t quacks! And the ones in the states that aren’t allowed to be there do not have any way of showing their qualifications, if they even have any. You cannot judge all midwives because someone had a home birth with a lay midwife that was not allowed to be there by state law. No one judges OB/GYNs when they lose a mother or baby. But fear not, when a home birth mother or baby is transfered or lost, it is all over the news. It is such crap! But one of the greatest midwives in the world has lower rates of everything than all doctors. Now, she is definitely a quack….

BIRTHING CENTERS: One blog I read said these should just be ‘hospital waiting rooms with beds’. This is bull pucky!! Birthing centers are places women can go which is a little more secure than home and has a larger staff so if something goes wrong, they might be able to hand it a little more than at home, but will still need to transfer for something serious. They are not waiting rooms for the hospital. The hospital is sterile and flat and there is no privacy. The birthing center is the opposite of that.

UNASSISTED CHILDBIRTH (UC): This is not ‘stuntbirthing’ as some practitioners call it. They are not doing this to show up their friends or other women. It is not a contest as to where you had your baby! Now, I don’t agree that UC is safe, but it is a personal choice. There is a woman that is a big UC advocate, and she recently had her 5th UC with her 8th child. It ended up being stillbirth, and people came out saying it is because she is so active about the cause. It is her fault her baby is dead and she is in the ICU. It’s just wrong to bash someone like this. What happened to choosing your life?

NATURAL BIRTH: I don’t care who you are or what you think, there is absolutely nothing wrong with wanting to bring your child into the world without drugs or anything. And it is also not a contest. No one goes through natural birth just to say they did. If they did that, they wouldn’t be able to make it through. I am so sick of people saying the drugs were invented because the pain shouldn’t be there, and that without the pain meds you are just hurting yourself and your baby. It’s pain with a purpose people!! But, the pain meds are there if needed. If you get tired, or if you need any interventions, they are amazing things. One lady said that “you would never see a natural birther go have open heart surgery without anesthetic.” Well, no shit! Your body doesn’t naturally open your chest cavity, and then operate on your heart!! Your body will naturally know what to do to expell your baby out and all the stuff with it. It knows what to do!!

DOULAS: These are people that want to assist the mother. Not the doctor, not the partner, not the nurses, the laboring woman. She is your support 100%, and whatever you want to do, she will support you in. If you want a natural birth, she is there. If you want an epidural, she is there. If you want a cesarean, she is there. They are not there to underhand the doctor’s decisions. They are there to support the mother and educate her and carry out her wishes when she needs to concentrate. If you feel your toes are stepped on, get over it! Just because you want a passive labor woman and it doesn’t happen, don’t cry in your freaking milk.

VBACs: They are not dangerous!!!!!!!!! I don’t think that can be said enough. There is risk in everything you do in life. A less than 1% risk of rupture is no reason to do a riskier procedure. It’s crazy! Don’t succomb to the repeat cesarean just because they completely overplay the rupture card. Most doctors never even see this!

There is so much more the write about, but I am just too upset to think.

Thanks for listening…

Birth Story #18

This week, I’ve decided to write a couple births of the most amazing woman I have ever heard of.

Ina May Gaskin.

The first is a sad one, but I think it is necessary to read so you can understand her.

10th Caravan Birth

My next strong lesson in midwifery came on the tenth birth on our caravan – that of my own baby. Just before we reached Nebraska on our way to Tennessee to buy land, I started labor two months before my due date. My rushes were light, so we decided to drive on across Nebraska. As it turned out, we had to stop in North Platte for a couple of days because of a blizzard. I’ll never forget how kind the people there were; they brought us boxes and boxes of bread, milk, and eggs. All this time I was trying to keep the rushes at a minimum, but by the third day it became obvious that I was going to give birth pretty soon. We had driven on from North Platte, and we found a place to park the buses for one night in Grand Island, and Stephen, with Margaret’s assistance, caught my boy a few hours later. He was tiny – three pounds or less – and had extreme difficulty breathing right from the first. He lived for twelve hours, enough to see the light of day, and then he died in my arms, probably of hyaline membrane disease, the most common cause of death in premature babies in those days. I was filled with grief. At the same time, I knew he had taught me something I was never going to forget. I was also relieved that if we had to lose a baby that it was mine and not somebody else’s. But it still took me several months – in fact, until the birth of my next child – to heal from the grief I felt at his death.

Just knowing that she lost her child makes me love her all the more. She bounced back and has delivered at least 1000 babies, healthy and happy.

The second birth is that of her son, Paul Benjamin.

I started having some convincing-feeling rushes one night about three weeks before my due date. I knew my baby was big enough and done enough, so I was quite ready to go on ahead with it. My last baby had weighed nine pounds, fourteen and a half ounces and had been ten days early. After having a few consecutive rushes a few minutes apart, I told Stephen that I was going to have the baby pretty soon. He said, ” I thought you were looking pretty psychedelic back there.” We alraedy had two kids together, but he hadn’t been able to be at either of these birthings. It was about ten o’clock at night and we had all had a long day, so Stephen and I agreed that it would be nice to get a few hours’ sleep before I started getting really serious about having my kid. That felt nice to me because then I really knew it was okay for me to take my time, which of course I would do anyway. Stephen had been telling me that I was prowling around the house like a mother cat looking for a place to hve my litter. He kept telling me that I could do it any time, that I could have my kittens in his dresser drawer if I wanted to, which I thought was a funny thing for him to say to me. But I was glad he was accommidating.

So we went to bed. I was pretty excited, knowing that I was really on that train and was actually going to see our kid soon. I was pretty sure though that I could sleep, at least for a little while. We both slept all night. Whenever we would roll over, I would be aware that I was still having light rushes quite regularly.

In the morning we woke up early to have the baby. We talked about whether it was a boy or girl. Stephen had dreamed that the baby was born and that it was a girl, but he didn’t seem to believe the dream. He had already said that a few months back that this baby felt like another boy, and I kind of felt that way too.

After a few minutes of being awake I had a couple of rushes that began to remind me of what it felt like to have a baby, that it’s heavy every time, no matter how many times you’ve done it. I was pretty sure after these two rushes that my cervix was open a little. We called Mary Louise to tell her that my labor had started. Stephen was going to deliver the baby, but we both wanted to have Mary Louise there too.

My good buddies Margaret and Louise were already with me, helping me get nested and getting my three other kids settled. Mary Louise arrived about fifteen minutes later with a big grin on her face, her birthing bag in one hand and a sterile pack in the other.

She checked my dilation. “Yup, you’re going to have a kid. You’re four centimeters dilated,” she said. My rushes were pretty mild but very psychedelic and I could tell that it would be a few hours before the baby happened. I have always taken at least twelve hours to give birth.

I told Stephen that it would be all right with me if he went out of the Farm for a while to do some business while I was still in the early part of my trip. We women were having a nice time with each other and I thought it would be nice if he could get out on the Farm and see what was going on.

I spent the next several hours having rushes, writing letters, and talking with Margaret, Louse, and Mary Louise about the kind of stuff we thought ought to be in this book. Mary Louise read some of the stories that other women had written about their birthings and sat down and wrote about hers. Every now and then we would all get curious about how much I was dilated and Mary Louise would check me. I took a few pictures of her while she was doing this, thinking it would be nice to have a few shots of a midwife from this point of view.

Stephen called home a few times to check on how I was doing. All this time there didn’t seem to be much hurry; my rushes didn’t take all my attention, so I decided to just do whatever I felt like doing, as long as it didn’t slow down my labor any.

When lunchtime came, I considered whether or not I ought to eat anything. Someone had brought us some good-looking sandwiches that had me pretty interested. Most folks don’t seem to feel like eating at five centimeters’ dilation, but there I was, hungry. So I ate. I figured that eating would either make me strong or make me sick. I could use that strength if that’s what I got, and if I got sick, it would cause me to open up faster and that would be nice too. At about three o’clock in the afternoon I was between five and six centimeters dilated and started to feel like it would be nice to have Stephen around. He called right then and said he was on his way home. My labor picked up as soon as he arrived. It felt like I could handle the energy best if I looked at him while I was having a rush. Each one was heavier than the last, and by the time I didn’t have any attention left from dealing with my rushes to write letters or eat or anything. Louise and mary Louise sat on either side of me and rubbed my legs and my back. Stephen wanted to know if it was okay with me that he was sitting in a chair at the foot of the bed, not actually touching me. I knew that he would move if I wanted him to, but I felt best with him being where he was. I felt very high and one with him just looking at him. I felt very grateful to Stephen and my friends were helping me do this; I loved them all a lot for being with me while I was tripping so heavy.

In between a couple of my rushes, the baby began punching me with its fist at regular intervals, not very heard, but very steady, and I was sure he was a boy. I suggested we think of boy names. We all liked the name Paul and Benjamin, but didn’t come to any final decision.

Mary Louise checked me again and said that I was seven centimeters dilated now. By this time I was beginning to long for the time when I would be fully dilated and could push the baby out. I felt like I would like to get clean and cool before having the baby, so I asked Stephen if he’d pour a bucket of water over me while I stood on the porch. He did, and it felt great. The baby moved down lower while I was standing up, and I knew it wasn’t going to be long now. I hoped that I would have the baby before dark so that we’d be albe to get some pictures after he was born.

Mary Louise checked me again as soon as I laid down and said I was almost completely dilated. I was glad to hear that because it certainly felt like it and I did was to push. On my next rush I tried a gentle push during the strongest part of it to try to move the baby’s head on through my cervix. I could feel the baby’s head come through my cervix and move into the birth canal. That’s always an amazing feeling. Stephen cut his fingernails and got all washed up, ready to catch our kid. It ook a few short pushes to move the baby’s head down so that he was crowing. Stephen, Margaret and Mary Louise kept telling me that I had plenty of room to stretch around the baby’s head, so I kept trying to move it farther. I looked down and could see the baby’s head when it was halfway out and decided to push it the rest of the way out. Stephen checked and said there was no cord around the baby’s neck and began to pull gently on the baby’s head to stimulate another rush, which was exactly what I wanted him to do.

It felt really beautiful to push his body out, just a beautiful feeling of fullness and then relief. Someone picked up the baby’s legs and I saw that we had another boy. He started moving and sputtering and crying all at once and turned from a pale purplish color to a beautiful rosy pink. I reached down and touched his hand, and it felt really nice. I felt so good and so grateful to have another live healthy baby. I just overflowed with that for a while. Everybody there looked really beautiful and alive. We named out boy Paul Benjamin.

Labor Orgasms Called ‘Best-Kept Secret’ – ABC News

The one thing I hate about this, and that’s the only thing, is that it says that there are graphic images that shouldn’t be shown to kids… Why is birth something that people don’t see?

It is a completely natural process and if your kids don’t see real births, of course they are going to believe what they see on TV!!

Labor Orgasms Called ‘Best-Kept Secret’ – ABC News

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Someday

I got this video from one of my best friends a couple of months ago. Just watching it still makes me cry.

‘Someday this will be the kids in America’.

Touch

I was cruising blogs as I always do and I came across this post. It is on Bellies and Babies, and it hit so close to home I had to pass it on.

Touch is so important, and this is why.

Touch.

The place, the space, between two people is encompassed in one simple word: touch.

How important is touch?

It can mean affection or abuse. It can mean acceptance or rejection, pleasure or pain or indifference.

Touch to a pregnant woman can be empowering and fulfilling or hurtful and belittling. When a partner touches her belly, does he do it in affection and awe?

Strangers grasping and pawing at a pregnant belly can make a woman feel demoralized loosing her autonomy. Likewise, when loved ones purposefully avoiding her ripe and taut abdomen can spell rejection and and self-consciousness.

Touch with your caregiver can be aggressive, even painful. It can be shaming and degrading. It can also be intriguing and educating, empowering and hopeful.

In birth, touch is just as powerful.

From the strong and solid hands of the doula
To the sure and skilled hands of the caregiver
To the tentative and loving hands of the partner..

Touch makes all the difference.

What types of emotions are equated with negative touch during birth?

I had a hard time having an orgasm after my first birth, in fact, I had to fight the urge to cringe when my partner touched my perineum for quite awhile. I firmly believe it was because of my episiotomy. Even though my episiotomy was needed, it still was a harsh, cold, and invasive touch that marred my self-image and emotional health regarding my perineum.

I have spoken with many women who have had cesareans and many of those women have similar reactions. It is not the scar itself, but the invasiveness, the abrupt and traumatic touch that leaves things ‘other’ than what they were intended to be.

I have seen women loved, caressed, joined, massaged, and rubbed throughout their labors – these women literally unfold like flowers to welcome their babies into their arms. These women remember their births as empowering and loving, gentle and aweing.

Likewise, I have seen women pushed, prodded, poked, shoved, cut, and held down – and their bodies sieze up, wilting in front of the assault. These women remember their births with anxiety, trepedition, anger, guilt, and regret.

Our hands should never be applied to another person in haste, anger, frusteration, or dominance. Not in day-to-day, not in our marriages, not in child rearing, and not in child-birthing. Touch should be an intercourse between two people, an interaction speaking affection, understanding, and respect.

Touch is a powerful tool.

The Hardest Work with No Food

In 1946, Dr. Curtis Mendelson hypothesized that the cause of pneumonia following general anesthesia was aspiration of the stomach’s contents. He noted in his study that food can be vomited 24-48 hours after being eaten.

When his theory was tested on rabbits, aspiration of undigested food could not cause aspiration pneumonia, it only caused obstructions. And they only died when aspirated materials containing hydrochloric acid.

Since his hypothesis was incorrect, he said that by forbidding food and drink in labor, you reduce stomach volume, thereby reducing risk of problems from acid aspiration while under general anesthesia.

In the 1940’s and 1950’s, general anesthesia was used all the time. Gases were given by an opaque face mask, which hid the airway from view. Now that we use clear masks, the anesthesiologist can keep an eye out and see if anything is going to come up to prevent it from being inhaled.

In 1950, Dr. Robert Parker largely blamed aspiration on poor anesthetic technique and poor practitioner quality.

Now, general anesthesia is only used 3.5-13% of the time. And since the technique has greatly improved, aspiration pneumonia rarely ever happens.

One of my very good friends had general anesthesia when her daughter was born. She was in labor a very short time, and by this study, it wouldn’t have mattered if she had eaten or drank at the hospital. She was only there a few hours. Limiting her intake would not have done anything had something gone wrong.

Not eating or drinking in labor can cause dehydration and ketosis, which can make the woman tired, drop her blood sugar, make her labor stall or stop completely, and make her unable to push properly, all of which now lead to interventions and cesareans.

Eating and drinking in labor has actually been shown to shorten labor by 90 minutes or more, make less need for pitocin augmentation, fewer pain medications, and the babies had much higher apgar scores than the control group.

It is offered that only low risk women should eat, since high risk women are more able to turn bad at any time.

Some hospitals have suggested a laboring woman have a diet of tea, fruit juice, lightly cooked eggs, crisp toast and butter, plain biscuits, clear broth, and cooked fruits. They all contain high amounts of sugars and things a woman needs to keep her energy up.

When I was pregnant, my midwife said I could drink fruit drinks, but couldn’t eat anything except popcycles.

People that have their babies at home or in a birthing center are allowed to eat any time they want in labor. It is understood that a woman has to keep her strength up, since this is the hardest work her body will ever do.

Would you run a marathon without proper hydration and nutrition?

I understand the risks of not eating and drinking, but can you truly deny your body something that it needs daily? It makes you wonder if hospitals let women eat and drink, would their intervention rates drop and would our mortality rate drop along with it?

Interesting food for thought…