Tuesday, November 30, 2010

New Midwife Blog: Check It Out!

One of Phoenix's many great midwives, Shell Walker, has started her own midwife blog! (And the people rejoiced!) Here it is:

Phoenix Midwife

Check it out... can't wait to read it! This is now two midwives from here in the valley who have midwife blogs.... the more the merrier! (The other is Stephanie Soderblom's Vita Mutari.... Now to convince my own awesome midwife to start her own!)

Thanks for writing, Shell!

Saturday, November 20, 2010

Wonderful Stuff!

When I get more than 20 tabs open in my internet browser, I know that I need to blog so that I can clear them up and stop frustrating my husband! (He's a one-tab sort of guy.)

So here goes!

This will be quick, though, because today is Lepkuchen Day! (see my other blog for more information) and I have a ton to do to get ready.

To start, an article on my pet subject (physiologic cord clamping, known popularly as delayed cord clamping):

Don't Clamp Umbilical Cords Straight After Birth, Urges Expert

The gist of it? Basically that the research community is realizing that immediate cord clamping (i.e. baby is born and cord is clamped within 10 seconds, still the normal practice in U.S. hospital) is not healthy for baby.

I am so thankful this is finally getting some media attention!

"Write About Birth" has written up a nice little summary of the article (the original article from the British Medical Journal, that is):

British OB questions premature cord clamping

Good stuff!

The one thing I find frustrating about this is the following (from the first article I linked):

"Obstetricians and midwives should wait a few minutes before clamping the umbilical cords of newborn infants so that babies are not harmed by the procedure..."

Okay, okay. I know it's progress, but couldn't we move straight to the logical conclusion? If clamping the cord before it stops pulsing is unnatural and unhealthy, let's just move to the end-conclusion right now - waiting to cut clamp the cord until it is totally done pulsing, not just waiting "a few minutes." I can just see new hospital protocol - "The cord shall be clamped and cut three minutes - not four or five, but three - after the birth." It seems that progress must always be made in grudgingly tiny increments.

However, progress is progress, and I am overjoyed to see it.

Also, from "Write About Birth" - a fascinating look at the language of childbirth:

Why Natural Childbirth is Not a "Great Accomplishment"

Absolutely fascinating. I never would have thought of those points. Definitely also check out the article she links to - "Watch Your Language."

Really good stuff!!

Also, from the Huffington Post:

Women Speak Out About What's Gone Wrong with the United States Birthing System

Can I say that I LOVED this article? Way to go!!! Thank you for writing!

On the subject of shoulder dystocia (a fascinating topic), the following three videos from a Midwifery Today Conference:

Shoulder Dystocia I

Shoulder Dystocia II

Shoulder Dystocia III

I have always found shoulder dystocia (a birth emergency in which the baby's anterior shoulder is impacted behind the maternal pubic bone, and which can cause injury to the baby if mishandled or death if is not resolved quickly) a fascinating subject. Why? Well, (1) it's equally an emergency at home or in hospital (because it's too late for a cesarean), and (2) it's an emergency in which natural childbirth - and thus a mobile mother - is a HUGE bonus, and (3) the best resolution is usually through the Gaskin Manoever, which was named after midwife Ina May Gaskin, who brought the procedure to the United States.

I have also found the subject of shoulder dystocia rather amusing, because obstetric textbooks often ignore the Gaskin Manoever (which is basically hands-and-knees for the mother) in favor of more severe - and gruesome! - procedures, such as the symphysiotomy (cutting the pelvis open by cutting through the connective tissue of the pelvic bone - OUCH!) or the Zavanelli Manoever (shoving the baby back up the vaginal canal and doing a cesarean - very bad results due to trauma to the baby and time from emergency to birth). Turning a mama over on her hands and knees is much more pleasant - and effective!

Oh, and if you want to see something screamingly funny, try this video - it is actors portraying (with the use of a model) a shoulder dystocia in-hospital. I'd be laughing if it wasn't so sad - get the mother off her back!!! The incidence of shoulder dystocia is drastically reduced in upright, mobile and unmedicated mothers.

There's probably more, but I am OUT of time! Off to make delicious Lep Kuchen! Happy weekend, everyone!

Friday, November 12, 2010

Questions About NFP

TMI Alert! TMI Alert! TMI Alert!

That being said....

My husband and I (sort of) use NFP (Natural Family Planning) for our family-size control method. In case you haven't heard of it, NFP is a method that uses three main variables - basal body temperature, cervical fluid and cervical position - to track a woman's fertility. Abstinence is observed through the fertile period. When used correctly, it is just as effective as the Pill, and without all the nasty side effects.

On the whole, NFP is great. No ethical concerns, no health side-effects, no wait-time for getting "off" of it, no cost, etc. For birth control, it's great.

However, I'm finding it very hard to use right now.

When we started using NFP, it was at a great time - when we'd just evicted our son from our bed, so I was sleeping through the night (they say that you need 4 hours of uninterrupted sleep before taking one's temp to get accurate readings), and the overnight break from breastfeeding seemed to be enough to allow cervical fluid to return to normal - and readable - cyclical patterns.

However, at the current time, I am still co-sleeping with our baby. This means that I am NOT getting enough sleep to get good temperature readings, so I'm not even trying (I did try for one month, and my readings were all over the chart - it was unreadable). Also, my cervical fluid seems to be pretty screwy as well.

With all of that, we're pretty much playing with fire! Does anyone out there have any tips for using NFP while breastfeeding and co-sleeping?

Also, another complaint about NFP - the fact that "off limits" times are - predictably - during the time when one is most "receptive" to marital intimacy. Ahem. This makes sense, because sexual receptivity and peak fertile times are well-matched in order to assure greater chances of conception. But for birth control, it's a pain in the neck! What it means is that when one is wanting intimacy, the red flag is up, and by the time the green flag gives the go-ahead, intimacy sounds about as interesting as organizing cupboards. Or rather, less interesting, as I'm an organizational freak who enjoys organizing cupboards.

How do you NFP users deal with that issue?

One mother whose blog I read (don't ask me who, because I don't remember) made the interesting comment that she believes NFP can be harmful to marriages - probably because of the above, and also because NFP does put large limits on sexual activity between marriage partners. What with one's period and the off-limits fertile times, "abstinence time" accounts for more than half of my cycle. I think she probably referenced the Bible verse about "not denying each other unless it is for a time, for prayer, and then come together again lest Satan should tempt you." Thoughts, anyone?

I suppose we could just use a physical barrier method during the abstinence period, but that always makes me nervous - it lowers the effectiveness rate to the level of the barrier method used (which generally isn't too good) as opposed to the higher rate of NFP. But one of the reasons we started with NFP was to avoid the pain-in-the-neck nature of barrier methods! So that would be rather circular in nature.

I suppose we could throw it all to the wind and become a quiverful (no-birth-control) family, but the thought of going through hyperemesis every two years makes me want to run screaming.

If this entry feels rather round-about, know that I am very, very tired! So I should be doing something like getting ready for bed rather than typing - which I think I will do.

And again, I don't really want to malign NFP, because it really has a good thing going in many ways. I'm just perplexed by its difficulties. I would love your thoughts!

Saturday, November 6, 2010

Theoretical Questions

I love theoretical questions! I think them up constantly, and then fire them at DH while he's showering or similarly unprepared. "Hey! Say that such-and-such happened. What would you do then?"

DH, in true spousal opposites fashion, despises theoretical questions and avoids them like the plague. That's why I catch him in the shower, when he can't get away. :)

So tonight I threw some really good ones his way, concerning birth. We couldn't quite think of the answers! What are your answers?

(1) Say you were in an area with only one midwife.... but you didn't like her or get along with her. Birth with a midwife you don't like, birth in-hospital, or go unassisted?

(2) Say you were in an area with only one midwife... but you disagreed with her over some point or belief that was absolutely vital to you? (i.e. pro-life v. pro-choice, etc.) Birth with a midwife you have deep disagreements with, birth in-hospital, or go unassisted?

(3) What if you're in an area with NO midwife? Birth in-hospital, or go unassisted?

(4) What if you're in an area where homebirth midwifery is illegal? Birth with a black-market midwife, birth in-hospital, or go unassisted?

Can you think of any other theoretical questions to add to this list? What are your answers to the ones above?

Kids Really Do....

.... say the darnedest things!

And when you add a birth junkie for a mother into the picture, they really really really say the darnedest things!

The following conversation occurred spontaneously last week, just after I had served our son (4yo) his cereal.

Son: I wish I had a uterus.
Me: (after shocked silence) Why's that?
Son: Because I want to have a baby.
Me: (another pause) Well, when you get married, your wife will have a baby for you.
Son: (grudgingly, after pondering for a moment) Well..... okay.

Over the past six months he's been insisting that our midwife should come over so that he could have a baby, so I guess he must finally be accepting biological inevitability.

You never know quite what they're going to say!

Tuesday, November 2, 2010

Lovely, Lovely, Lovely Home Waterbirth Video!

A friend on the Arizona Birth Network posted her birth video from the birth of her son this past May. I am so pleased and excited to share it, with her permission!

Katie's Birth of Baby Lincoln: A Home Waterbirth

Can I say that I loved - LOVED - this video? It brought tears to my eyes from the sheer beauty. Many, many congratulations to this sweet mama and her family.

Some things I especially loved about this video:

I loved the combination of still photos and video footage. I would love to do that with my birth pics/video if I knew how! A great way to combine the artistry of photography with the reality of video footage. Beautiful.

I also loved how real this birth was. It showed the pain and the effort alongside the beauty and the power. It was a truly honest look at natural birth - all aspects of it. I loved that.

And also, this was just a great birth. Great support from the husband and the birth team, respectful and loving care from the midwife, undisturbed birth conditions leading to a physiologic birth (note, again, the longer second stage with an absence of the "Push! Push! PUSH!" mantra so typical in traditional American birth). Good stuff.

This was a beautiful birth! Thank you for sharing!

Also, in honor of this video, I have started a new sidebar! (I know, I know, "Stop with the sidebars, for crying out loud!" I can't help myself.) The name of it - "Beautiful Birth Videos"! This is first on the list, and I'll be adding gradually. I want mothers out there to have a list of good, positive birth videos to watch instead of the horrific ones (or highly fictional ones) on television. Here's to a wonderful start!

Just lovely.