Friday, July 30, 2010

Drum Roll, Please!

And now, for the first time since the closing of the Bethany Birth Center.....

Dum dum da da dum.......

Phoenix's New BabyMoon Birth Center is open for business!!!

So incredibly exciting!

Here is the press release from this week's opening:

Babymoon Inn
a birthing sanctuary
tended by midwives

215 E. Lexington
Phoenix, AZ 85012


Julia Hall
Executive Director

Phoenix’s Only Freestanding Birth Center Opens Its Doors

Expectant women now have another option for birth as the only birth center in Phoenix opens.

(Phoenix, Arizona) July 30, 2010 – Certified Professional Midwife Shell Walker and her business partner Julia Hall have opened Babymoon Inn birth center in the heart of downtown Phoenix.

The Babymoon Inn birth center is a freestanding pregnancy and birth center based on the midwifery model of care. This premiere facility, a cottage-style home situated on a quiet lane, offers a serene and private setting for labor and birth. The birth center allows healthy women with low-risk pregnancies the opportunity to personalize their birth experience in a home-like setting with fewer medical interventions and more family participation.

The vision for Babymoon Inn was born out of Steven and Julia Hall's prior experiences with their sons' births. "After the experience of a hospital birth with all of its interventions and limitations, through the gentle education of our doula, we experienced a life-changing birth center birth in Dallas with our second son. I labored in the garden, transitioned in the tub, and caught my son in my own hands on a beautiful antique four-poster bed. We were shocked to discover that Phoenix, despite an active natural birth community, did not have an out-of-hospital birth center option. We met Shell and quickly discovered our calling. We hope to be a blessing and an asset to the community” Hall says.

The entire property will become the client’s space during labor and birth. The lovely property features a private birthing room along with a common kitchen and spacious family room with a fireplace. The family-friendly home includes a full-sized bed, two bathrooms, and comfortable furniture, giving expectant moms a choice as to where to labor and deliver. Babymoon Inn's cozy courtyard allows for a private, relaxing outdoor space and provides a space for children to play.

“This is the first LM (licensed-midwife), midwife operated, freestanding birth center to ever be licensed by the Arizona Department of Health Services - based entirely, within the bounds of licensure, upon the model of care established by home birth midwives. I feel complete. This has been one of the largest projects in my life and while I look forward to greeting all of the sweet little babies that I hope to meet at Babymoon Inn, my greatest joy is in establishing what I hope to be an asset and pathway for independent midwives and the women that they serve” explains midwife Shell Walker.

Babymoon Inn is centrally located within two minutes of St. Joseph’s Medical Center and various hospitals including Good Samaritan, Phoenix Baptist, and Phoenix Children's. The center has emergency medical equipment and well-rehearsed hospital transportation procedures in place if necessary. For further convenience, Babymoon Inn will accept insurance plans immediately.
The general public is invited to tour the facility by appointment at any time.

For further information, contact Julia Hall at 480-270-9819


Congratulations, BabyMoon Inn owners and staff! What a wonderful resource for valley mamas!

Labor Hall of Fame

This past weekend, my friend J. had her baby and, simultaneously, my "Labor Hall of Fame" gained a new list-member - under "women who have made it through exceptionally difficult labors." What a woman!

On Friday morning, I checked Facebook and saw a post from J's doula - "Eight centimeters and doing well!" I thought, "Hurray! Even with a primip, we should be seeing baby pics by early afternoon at the latest!"

Not quite.

Early afternoon came... and went... as did early evening, which I spent with obsessive Facebook checks. No news, other than that she had been complete for a long time and was tired. As the evening wore on, Facebook got to be a mini-labor-stalkers' party, with all of us chatting and waiting for updates. Late at night, we concluded that either they'd had the baby and forgotten to post pics, or.... something.

It turned out to be the "something." I spent the night having terrible dreams about both J. and her baby, and then got up to find a post from J's doula t 4:00 a.m., saying that despite position-change work and other techniques, baby was not coming down and they were regretfully transporting to the hospital. Later that morning came a note that baby was born via cesarean at 7:30 a.m. that morning.

And I thought MY first birth (18h7m) was challenging! My friend easily doubled (or more) my labor time, quadrupled my active labor time, and something like quintupled (or more) my pushing time - oh, and after all that, topped it off with a jaunt to the hospital and major abdominal surgery. What a woman!

I will be meeting this special sweet little baby in two weeks and getting to meet with my friend as well. But in the meantime, my hat is off to her! Women in labor are so incredibly strong, and she is a very strong woman!!

Births in Retrospect

Just for fun - some thoughts in retrospect!


My FIRST birth (2006)

I am glad that I...

- Decided on a homebirth - I started looking into it because we had no insurance, but it is truly my niche. For so many reasons (emotional, physical, spiritual, etc.) - love it!

- Decided on a midwife - I love midwives and the midwifery model of care!!

- Decided on our particular midwife - This was another God-thing. We picked her because she lived close to us and we liked her on a personal level, but she is also a perfect fit for me in terms of birth philosophy.

- Had a doula - I adore doulas and wouldn't birth without one. They are indispensable for so many reasons.

- Labored in water. For those of you who have natural births on land, I take my hat off to you - I really don't know how you do it! Water is wonderful - showers, baths, tubs.

I wish that I would have....

- Done more doula shopping. I loved our doula, but I don't think she was the perfect fit for us (though at the time, I wouldn't have known what to look for).

- Checked that our video camera was working more than 20 minutes before the birth. (Apparently video cameras don't like not being used for 10 years straight.)

- Done placenta medicine. I could have saved myself six weeks of really wicked afterpains.

- Saved my placenta, either for placenta medicine or for burying (or both).

- Taken a more serious childbirth class (Bradley or independent) rather than Hypnobirthing. Hypnobirthing simply did not work for me, and a 4-week class was too short.

- Taken our childbirth class later in pregnancy. We started our 4-week class when I was at 19 weeks, so by the time 40 weeks hit I had forgotten a lot and my DH had forgotten everything. I was a bit overeager, to say the least!

- Started co-sleeping right away. Trying to get up to nurse for an hour at a time, 3-4 times per night was a nightmare.

- Been able to enjoy my first postpartum period instead of spending it stressing about housework and trying to keep up to my pre-baby standards. If I could give one bit of advice to first-time mamas, it would be that. Why? Because you only get to nap when baby naps for the first baby! When #2 arrives, there is always #1 needing care even when baby sleeps. I wish I had realized that! (But being an uptight, scheduling type, I have found that telling myself "Relax! Relax! Relax!" is only marginally effective - it takes time. I'm still working on it.)

- For pregnancy: Done pregnancy photography. I will never have that body again - I wish I had pictures of it at least, LOL!!


My SECOND birth

I am glad that I....

- See all reasons under birth #1

- For pregnancy: Had pregnancy photography done (thank you, dear friend!). A lovely memory.

- Practiced placenta medicine. I felt SO much better! My afterpains were once again atrocious, and (suppress gag reflexes, please!) a placenta smoothie made me start feeling better within 30 minutes as opposed to 6 weeks. The encapsulated placenta pills also really helped with emotional stability and mood control during an extremely difficult and emotional postpartum period. I will never again birth without making immediate use of placenta medicine.

- Kept our placenta. I still have the cord and membranes frozen, and we're going to bury them whenever we buy our first tree. It makes me feel a special connection - i.e. this tree will be baby's tree, and a special memory for all of us. I can't wait till my mom says "Where's the rest of the placenta?" Tee hee hee. :)

- Hired really experienced doulas. I don't do so well during labor with using coping techniques - I really need the serious help of a highly trained doula. Student doulas do a great job, but for someone like me, a highly professional doula team made a huge difference.

- Made sure my birth team took a ton of photos and video footage. I didn't want to make that mistake again.

- Had a bead ceremony. That was really sweet and meaningful to me.

I wish that I would have...

- Gosh, I can't think of anything! Guess we did a pretty good job of planning this birth! :)


If we ever birth again, I will...

- Make sure we once again have really good doulas.

- Buy a bikini top that actually looks good on me, rather than the first thing I find at Goodwill that fits (hey, I was in a hurry). But birth pics last forever, and I'll have to remember how bad that thing looked for the rest of my life!

- Try to get in another waterbirth. Loved it.

- Not bother trying to learn hypnosis methods for birth. I've tried it twice, and while I know that it is SUPER-helpful for a LOT of mothers (don't let my negativity keep you from trying it), it didn't work for me - but it did take 30 minutes out of my day every day practicing with the tapes. Next time I'll just work my way through it and go with that (what I did anyway).

- Use placenta medicine pronto, like about 30 seconds post-third-stage. This time we waited an hour or so, by which time I was in massive amounts of pain from afterpains (mine have hit like a truck both times, and both times have prevented immediate bonding and breastfeeding because I was in so much pain). This time I had written it into my birth plan that I wanted to take ibuprofen as soon as the birth was over, which we did (while I was still in the birth tub), and it didn't make a bit of difference (that I could notice). Placenta medicine, on the other hand, made an immediate difference.

- For the pregnancy: Try not to gain quite so much pregnancy weight, because I have a really hard time losing it! At 9 mos. postpartum, I still have 20 pounds to lose.

- For the pregnancy: Not have an ultrasound. For some reason I felt that we should have one last time, so we did, but I did not like it and would not do it again.


And there you have it! What about your birth(s) are you glad for or wish you'd done differently?

Thursday, July 29, 2010

Interesting Birth Story

This was a very interesting birth story. It is the story of a mother who, having had three previous unassisted homebirths, was faced with the possibility of a hospital birth for marginal placenta previa. She eventually decides to continue to birth unassisted at home, and everything goes well.

Marginal Placenta Previa Birth

When I feel like worrying (fairly often, I'm afraid), I worry about what I would do in a case like this, in which it seemed that a hospital birth might be indicated. While I understand that many woman want, and even like, hospital birth, for me the prospect is a nightmare, and I know it wouldn't go down well between the hospital staff and myself, as I would be refusing just about every procedure known to man.

"Hello, I'm a two-time homebirth mom who is here for a birth just in case. Oh, and by the way, I'll be refusing the hospital gown, all vaginal exams, the IV, the heplock, all continuous external fetal monitoring, pain relief, the infant vitamin K shot, infant eye ointment, infant Hepatitis B shot, infant heel stick, and infant bath. Oh, and I'll be birthing upright, not cutting the cord till the placenta is birthed, and taking my placenta home with me. Sound good?"

Yes, I'm sure that would go down really well. But compromising on any of those would be deeply degrading and hurtful to me. I pray that I am never in a situation that necessitates hospital birth.

The mama in this story writes basically the same thing. She says:

"They assumed that I’d be agreeable to the heparin-lock but I told her that I wasn’t and that I thought having a needle stuck in my hand would be uncomfortable and distracting. I forget how often she said they like to monitor the baby but I said I’d refuse that too. The nurse said that some of the nurses would get snippy with me for refusing but that I should ignore them. She also told me that the nurses would be told not to check my dilation because of my previa. I told her that no one would be checking my dilation because of my previa and she said I’d need to talk to the doctor about that. I didn’t understand why, it’s not like he would have any say in it. I asked her about all of their standard newborn procedures and told her I’d be refusing those too. I could tell she was trying to be accommodating but it really wasn’t going that well. The final straw for me was when we came to the issue of the placenta and the cord. I explained to her that my husband always cuts the cord, which she was okay with though for some reason she thought he’d need help with it. Then I told her that we leave the cord intact until the placenta is born and she was silent. After a minute or so she said “Oh…” I don’t think she’d ever heard of that before and didn’t know what to say. Once she regained her bearings she told me that I’d have to discuss that with that with the doctor because that was his decision. I told her that she didn’t understand, that my husband would not allow anyone to touch the cord before the placenta was out. That he would physically prevent them if necessary and that it wasn’t negotiable. That made her very uncomfortable and she again told me I’d have to discuss it with the doctor. And then came the deal breaker. When I told her that we would be taking the placenta home she said they couldn’t give it to us, that the health board doesn’t allow them to, that it wasn’t negotiable.

"By the end of the conversation I knew I would be having my baby at home. Besides how misguided they were about whom the placenta belongs to, I realized there was a serious disconnect between the nurse’s view of the situation and mine. Essentially, she thought that the doctor was going to be in charge at my birth, whereas I thought I would be. I knew then that I wouldn’t be going anywhere near a hospital whilst in labour unless I was dying."

I think my conclusion might be the same.

Hat tip to Gloria Lemay for this birth story!

Monday, July 19, 2010

Birth Photo Slide Show

So incredibly beautiful... I had to share! Click on the link and watch the slide show - lovely!

Blueberry Sky Photography: When Words Aren't Enough

Such a beautiful collection for their family's memories!

Saturday, July 17, 2010

"BirthSmart" - So Very, Very True

I had to share - this is, unfortunately, so very common. Brilliant work!

Friday, July 9, 2010

Guest Post: Placenta Medicine

Anyone who reads this blog regularly knows that one of my (many) passions within the birth community is the promotion of placenta medicine, that is, the maternal consumption of the placenta post-birth. It sounds yucky, and it's counter-cultural in modern America, but there is nothing in the world to beat it for preventing postpartum blues/depression, lessening afterpains, and returning the mother's energy and vitality pronto. I utilized placenta medicine with my last birth, and the difference was night and day. I will never have another birth without using placenta medicine.

You can read my entries about placenta medicine here and here, and you can read more about placenta medicine here and here.

If you're squeamish and would rather not have anything to do with your placenta in person, placenta encapsulation is a great way to get the benefits. The placenta is dried, ground up, and put into gel capsules, which you can take like a vitamin. One of my friends, BreAnna, who is also a birth doula, offers placenta encapsulation services. Here is what she writes about placenta encapsulation:



Why would someone do that?... Why would someone encapsulate their placenta?

That question has been asked to me so many times while starting to get into placenta encapsulation.

Before I had my baby I have heard numerous amounts of women swear that encapsulating the placenta has helped them enhance energy, balance hormones, and increase milk supply.
So then I had to look into this for myself. I have experienced baby blues and PPD for a good part of all my pregnancies due to hormone unbalance. I know women who have hemorrhaged and women who are having the hardest time nursing all claim that this has helped. Story after story of how amazing they feel weeks after birth and a lot of them have gone through the baby blues to know the difference.

The thing is baby blues happens to 80% of women the first days and weeks after giving birth. Because it is so common, nothing is typically done about it until it worsens into a diagnosis of postpartum depression.

These are the symptoms of "Baby Blues"

Feeling sad and overwhelmed
Crying spells
Anxiety mood swings/irritability
Feeling lonely
Inability to cope
Inability to sleep

So the question.... Why would someone do that? Why would someone encapsulate their placenta?
I now always say... "Why not?"

Placentophagy, or consumption of the placenta, has been reported for decades to help stop the baby blues and postpartum fatigue.

For many women this is a new concept and they have never heard of this. This is why I am here! :) I love informing mothers of new things I have tried and have worked for me.

Placenta encapsulation is done by steaming, dehydrating, making into powder for capsules. You can add herbs to it like Alfalfa, red raspberry and blessed thistle to increase milk. You take about 6 capsules a day throughout the day for the 1st week and then 4 throughout the day for the 2nd week. You can get about 150 capsules per placenta. And you can’t taste it, there are also berry flavored capsules if you want.

So why would someone want to do this???
Here are the benefits that women for centuries have sworn by…

contains your own natural hormones
it’s perfectly made for you
it balances your system
it replenishes depleted iron
gives you more energy
lessens bleeding
increases milk production
helps you have a happier postpartum period
helps for faster return of uterus to pre-pregnancy state

Because I have seen the benefits for myself I want to help more mothers out there who want to do this. This is why I have started encapsulating placentas. I absolutely love doing it, I love helping moms and if this is what I can do until I'm ready to get back into Doula work then I'm here.

So far I have done 3 and have 4 lined up.

I think once you get past the idea of what it is and think more of what it can do then you realize the same answer that I have “Why not?”

If you have any questions about anything please ask!


Interested in placenta encapsulation or doula services? You can reach BreAnna here!