Some Awesome Blog Awards!

I have received some awesome blog awards recently, and since I have just finished my site switch, I figured it was best to post them now!

I was given the Beautiful Blogger Award from Baby Dickey and Little BGCG!!  The Rules: Thank the person who nominated you and link to their blog. Copy the award and paste it to your blog. Tell us 7 interesting facts about yourself. Nominate 7 bloggers that you love and link to their blog (Going to put all the nominations at the bottom)

I also received the One Lovely Blog Award from Baby Dickey!!  Rules: Accept the award, post it on your blog together with the name of the person who has granted the award, and his or her blog link. Pass the award to 15 other blogs that you’ve newly discovered. Remember to contact the bloggers to let them know they have been chosen for this award.  (See Below)

I was also given the Sunshine Award from Baby Dickey and Little BGCG!  The Rules: Put the logo on your blog or within your post. Pass the award onto 12 bloggers. Link the nominees within your post. Let the nominees know they have received this award by commenting on their blog. Share the love and link to the person from whom you received this award.  (See below)

Alright, so seven interesting facts :

1.  I love romance novels.  I would read them all day every day if I could.

2.  I hate Mozart.  I think he is super overrated and absolutely hate all the music he composed.

3.  I have played the piano for almost 15 years this year.

4.  Tennis is my favorite sport.

5.  I used to live in Berlin, Germany and miss it terribly.

6.  I didn’t have sex until I got married.

7.  I didn’t know what I wanted to be when I grew up until a year and a half ago.

So, like all my awesome friends who nominated me, I am saying screw the rules and everyone gets all three awards!! (You’re welcome hehe)

Baby Dickey

Little BGCG

The Pearsons

Doula Mom

Birth At Home In Arizona

Birth Cut

Momotics

Prep For Birth

Birth Faith

Doula Ambitions

Bellies And Babies

Midwifery Ramblings

The Wonder of Birth

Carling Chronicle

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The Doula vs Husband Battle

The one thing I always hear when I recommend a woman hire a doula is, “Why can’t my husband just do it?”  And from the men, “If there is a doula there, I won’t be needed, so why should I even go?”

Men are very protective by nature.  They protect their wives, provide for their wives, are there for their wives, all because they love and support her.  When a woman comes along saying a woman should get a doula for support during her labor, it can be a threat to the husband’s masculinity and protective nature.  If he can’t protect and support his wife, what role does he truly play?

The couple has probably taken childbirth classes, and feel decently prepared for labor and birth.

The one problem: Neither person has been present at birth before (this is the majority, a few have actually attended and helped a births before they themselves have children).

No matter how much you prepare, the woman will more than likely be completely centered inward and trying to work through her labor and won’t remember much from the classes.  Her body will instinctively tell her what positions work and what don’t by decreasing her pain, but she will still be in some level of pain.

What husband do you know isn’t concerned when his wife is in pain?  What husband would be completely okay with seeing their wife in the most pain she has been in in her entire life, and working harder than she has ever worked?  I know very few that are completely level-headed when their wives are in pain.  Even if they truly want to help, sometimes their protective nature overcomes their logic and they try to control the problem rather than work with it.

Another problem is that when you are in the heat of the moment, you forget the important things.  In labor, you are tired, hungry, and worried.  The husband forgets what positions are good for labor and pushing, what things help with pain relief, what can truly help their wives or partners get through labor and birth the way they want to.

In addition to forgetting this, what partner truly knows the ins and outs of every intervention and pain medication that a doctor would advise so as to make an informed decision with the laboring woman?

There is truly a difference between preparing for labor and truly experiencing labor.  You do not know how your contractions will feel or what will help you the most.  It is a completely new sphere.

With that being said, a doula is not there just to help the mother cope with her labor.  The doula is also there to help the partner or husband so that he is able to completely help his wife or partner in the way that is best suited to him.

A doula can help a husband by:

1.  Reaffirming that labor truly is normal.  The body does an incredible amount of work during labor and delivery.  The uterus contracts at amazing strengths to dilate and push a baby out.  If you have never experienced labor before, the strength and power of the contractions can quickly overcome anyone and have them wonder if this truly is normal.  A doula makes sure the couple knows that this truly is a normal, natural body function and also recognizes when things truly do get out of hand.

2.  Helping keep the privacy of the room during labor by dealing with the hospital staff.  In the hospital, most nurses and doctors will not knock before entering a room.  Imagine you are in the bathroom at your house and someone you probably do not know just walks in in the middle of you having a bowel movement.  You would be very embarrassed and most likely unable to finish while they are there.  It is the same during labor.  If you are interrupted during this process, it can slow or stop completely.  Another issue is nurses or doctors trying to talk to a laboring woman during a contraction, whether it is just beginning or just ending it is still distracting.  If you lose your concentration during a contraction, it is incredibly hard getting it back.  The doula can occupy the nurse’s or doctor’s time during the contraction so the woman isn’t interrupted (and the husband can help without worrying about the nurse or doctor) and after they can discuss the options the nurse or doctor came to talk about.

3.  Showing how best he can support the mother.  A husband wants to help his wife, but sometimes gets stuck wondering which comfort measure can help his wife during her stage of labor.  A doula, being trained in comfort measures during labor, can show the husband how best he can help his wife.  This will give the husband confidence he is doing what will help rather than hinder his wife, and know that he is the one truly helping her during her labor.

4.  Giving him a break during labor.  Labor can last hours or even days.  Even if the woman has no interest in eating, the husband still has to keep up his strength, not to mention have sleeping and bathroom breaks every once in awhile.  If the woman and husband are the only two there, if he leaves, the woman will be completely alone during her labor, whether it is early labor or transition.  If they have a doula with them, the husband can take breaks as needed without worrying if the laboring woman will be alone.

5.  Providing truly trained “labor sitting”.  Before labor and delivery moved to the hospital, doctors and midwives provided support through all of labor, not just during the last few pushes of labor.  This practice has gone by the wayside so the woman is left with just her and her partner alone in a room with nurses coming every few hours to check on them.  A doula provides the labor sitting that has become a forgotten art.  Even if the couple has everything under control, the doula can sit by and wait until they are needed.  And even if they aren’t needed to help cope with labor, they have read multiple labor and birth books so they can give trained advice and know the risks and benefits of every procedure.

6.  Making sure the mother’s wishes are honored.  There is a common joke with a lot of obstetricians that if a woman brings a birth plan, she is on the fast track to a cesarean section.  Even if this isn’t a joke in your hospital or with your doctor, it is very hard to ‘fight’ for what you want during labor and have your wishes truly honored.  A doula can help keep your birth plan.  They can peacefully keep your wishes in mind of the doctor and nurses so that they do not unnecessarily do something you did not wish for, and you do not have to fight for it.

7.  Knowing many comfort measures that can be used during labor.  Since this is their job, they research constantly and know a plethora of comfort techniques.  Even if the husband studies thoroughly, he won’t be as invested as a doula.  Having a greater knowledge of comfort can only help the laboring woman and her husband.

8.  Doulas have an incredible record for keeping down interventions and helping the woman have a better birth experience.  The presence of a doula results in:

• Reduced cesarean birth rates by 50%
• Reduced length of labor by 25%
• Reduced use of Oxytocin by 40%
• Reduced requests for pain medication by 30%
• Reduced the rate of Epidural usage by 60%
• Babies had fewer health problems at six weeks than the infants of women who had not had a doula present during labor.
• Babies had fewer neonatal complications
• Babies had fewer workups for sepsis

This just truly stands on its own two feet.

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A doula truly is not there just for the laboring woman.  They are hired by the couple, to help the couple meet their baby for the first time the way they want to.  Labor and delivery is an intimate time between two people, and a doula can keep that privacy and intimacy so your baby is greeted in the atmosphere best for the family.

Even though I am a doula, I won’t ever labor without one in the future.  Knowing what I know about labor and delivery, I would not go into labor without a trained professional at my side.

You hire a professional to do your hair, to instal your cable, and to help you ‘deliver’ your baby.  Why not hire one to help you through the hardest work you have ever had to do?

VBAC: The Road Less Travelled

Working in the birth community, I am always amazed when I hear a woman has had a repeat cesarean with no other reason besides that she has had a cesarean previously.  And then I hear the woman’s story.

The majority of these women are beaten down.  They are disappointed.  They are not given the option of trying for a vaginal birth, and they are terrified to either try it at home or try it alone.

Not only is there fear surrounding birth in general, there is even more fear surrounding VBAC, or vaginal birth after cesarean.

It is seen everywhere.  From watching TV to the consent forms given by the hospital, the main thing hammered into women’s skulls is the fear of your uterus giving way and exploding from the inside out.

The worst part is that none of these actually describe what a uterine rupture looks like or what happens.  Everyone automatically assumes everything truly gives way and the woman bleeds to death and the baby cannot be saved.

Now, I am not saying that doesn’t happen. But the fear surrounding this is very irrational and completely against the medical studies and advice.

The risk of uterine rupture is less than 1% in spontaneous labor where the women is left on her own.  And this rupture isn’t a full rupture.  The majority of the time, the rupture is caught before it gets out of hand.  There is pain involved when contractions aren’t happening and many other awful symptoms that point out that something is not right.

The option of having a vaginal birth after you have a cesarean, whether necessary or unnecessary, should be a basic choice for a woman to make.  Especially considering it is her body and her baby.

In almost 50% of the hospitals in the United States, women are banned from even trying to have a vaginal birth after they have a cesarean.  This ban has taken their choice away from them and given them more risk and anger and pain than reward.

How many women are being forced to be unecessarily cut open to deliver their children every day?  How many don’t truly know they have a choice?

When did it become taboo to have a baby the way your body was designed, even after it has been opened the way it wasn’t?

Breast Crawl

It is a long video, but about three minutes in is where they start to show the actual breast crawl.

Babies that are left to their own devices and placed between a woman’s breasts, will crawl toward the breast and latch on themselves.  They get a better latch and you get to start breastfeeding on a better note than if the latch is forced.

I cannot WAIT to see this in the birth in a few weeks and also have this happen at the birth of my next baby.

My New Favorite Thing

Last night was the prenatal for our new client.  She is 38 weeks pregnant and has dropped her OB and chosen a homebirth.

Her last baby she had also chosen a homebirth, but it was managed and not let to “just happen”.  Her homebirth midwife stripped her membranes twice, had her on large quantities of evening primrose oil, and the woman was downing gallons of cohosh so she went into labor and didn’t disappoint her midwife.  She ended up in the hospital for failure to progress, with pitocin and an epidural.  This time, she wants it to be different.

We had about an hour and a half long prenatal visit (which was absolutely wonderful!) and she asked a lot of questions, and overall she is very informed about what she wants.  She is very excited to see what happens when the body is left to its own devices and cannot wait to have her baby do the breast crawl (video will be posted tomorrow).

We talked for about an hour, and then it was time to take a listen to the baby and feel the position.

I have always been amazed at how Christy can feel everything and know everything just from palpating a belly.  I was so very excited to learn how to do this.

She felt it first, and when she went to go get something, she had me feel the belly and see what I could feel.

I fell in love instantly!!

I was able to feel the baby’s butt, follow the spine and then feel the back of the baby’s head.  And I knew what I was feeling!!

The baby is in the best position for birth (left occiput anterior) and is moving beautifully!  When we tried to find the heartbeat on the doppler, she did not want to sit still.

I am so excited we are going to have a birth in the next month.  With how uncomfortable she is getting, I don’t think she will go over 41 weeks.  I am praying for a Spring Break baby so Blake isn’t in class haha.

I think it is amazing how many providers don’t palpate a belly to figure out fluid, where the baby is, how the baby reacts, and everything else you can tell with your hands.

It is truly very easy, and I think it is the most amazing thing!  I am truly in love!!

The Diva!

About a month and a half ago, right before my last period, I was discussing options for how women deal with their menstrual flow.

**If the thought of this topic grosses you out, then just stop reading**
I used to use tampons, but after I had Glade they hurt and I couldn’t put them in or take them out without crying from pain. So, I switched to heavy pads.
Now, I hate pads. They smell, you can feel them, it is like you are wearing a diaper, and I never considered cloth pads as an option. (Now I totally want some haha).
Anyway, we were discussing options, and one of my best twitter friends (@birthroutes, you know it is you 🙂 ), said she uses the Diva Cup. I had seen it in the health food store, but I didn’t want to spend $40 on something I didn’t like.
So, we talked about it in length, and I ended up buying one from amazon for $25.
It got here right after my period ended last cycle, so I had it sitting my cupboard for a month before I could use it.
I did give it a few ‘dry’ runs (when I say dry, I mean I used olive oil to smooth the way in and out) so I knew how to insert it and how to take it out when Dday eventually got here.
The Diva does have a learning curve. You have to try different methods of how to get it in and out before you find one that works best for you, but once you figure it out, it becomes second nature.
When my period showed up this month, instead of wallowing and being sad, I was actually really excited, just because I finally got to use my diva!
I didn’t know how long I could go without a leak or it filling, especially since my first day of my period is really heavy, and the others are barely a trickle, so I tried different times for empty.
The first night, I had it in for about 10 hours, and right when I was about to change it, it did leak. Which is partly my fault because I did push it till 10 hours and thought I could keep going. It was pretty full, so I wasn’t surprised.
The next time, I had it in for about 5 hours, and it was barely half full so I decided to go a little longer with the next. I had it in for 8 hours and zero leaks and it went beautifully.
My second overnight try, it was in for 12 hours, and barely anything was in it. (I bleed less at night than during the day, and since it is now day 2, I will bleed less and less).
So far, I have had the one leak, but that is my fault for not changing it soon enough.
I couldn’t have tampons because they hurt and I could feel them even if I got them in the right place.
This time, I put in the diva (zero pain on insertion) and I cannot feel it when it is in. I go about my day, and about 8 to 10 hours later I take it out, wash it with hot water, then reinsert it.
I can take it out in seconds and reinsert it in seconds.
Seriously, I am in love.
During my cycle, I just rinse with hot water to get all the blood and such off before I put it back in, but in-between my cycles, I am going to wash it with castille soap (a vegan soap that smells wonderful and washes even better), and then every few cycles I will boil it to sanitize.
Other than that, you store it until next time.
I did wear a backup pad for the first day just in case I hadn’t inserted it right, but after the first time and no leaks, I just did away with the pad, and am so much happier.
I truly do not even notice I am on my period now. I can go to the bathroom without feeling it, I can take a shower or a bath without feeling icky, I can do anything I want and I truly do not even remember sometimes that my period has come.
There are two models of the Diva Cup. The first model is for women under 30 that have never given birth, whether vaginal or cesarean, and the second model is for women older than 30 or women that have given birth, whether vaginal or cesarean. I was skeptical I would need the bigger model since I did have a cesarean delivery, but it is just a little bigger than the other model, and I am so glad I got it.
My bleeding is much heavier since Glade was born, so I am positive they bring that into effect when designing these models.
If you are tired of what you are using during your period, I would definitely check out the Diva Cup. I don’t think I will ever go back to using pads, except after birth.
I truly am in love and wonder how I didn’t know about this amazing product.

Birth Story #42

This one had me and my husband trying to read through the tears. The emotion in this story is intense, and shows that love doesn’t come easy, even with a great birth.