Wednesday, December 22, 2010

New Arizona Birth Blogger

Just a quick note to let everyone know about a new-to-me birth blogger, Tracy Hydeman, a student midwife here in the valley:

Misadventures of a Student Midwife

Looking forward to reading!

Wednesday, December 15, 2010

It's That Time Again......

..... Time to make the hubby happy by cleaning up the tabs in our browser! (I haven't counted, but I think it's somewhere close to thirty.)

Here goes!

Have you ever wondered how natural childbirth tied in with Santa Claus? Well, now we know! The Feminist Breeder gives us the scoop:

On Being Honest With Our Children

I'm in the middle on the Santa Claus issue - I completely see the reasons both for and against. Since I didn't devote much time to the issue, we have gone with the flow and "done" Santa Claus, but I find it absolutely fascinating how TFB (by definition, a feminist) and the more conservative Christians among us have come to the same conclusion on Santa Claus - for the same reasons! Interesting! (I love what TFB has to say.... Even when I disagree with her, she is both brilliant and witty.)


Now here's an interesting question for you: Should the teacher of a natural childbirth class have herself given birth naturally? (*Singing the Jeopardy song while you think about this.*)

My instinctual answer is "yes" - how can one teach what one hasn't experienced?

But my experience is quite different, in that several of my caregivers were nulliparous and were excellent in their roles - including both of my midwives (one of whom is a G0P0 and one of whom was a G1P0 and pregnant while attending my birth - she gave birth 3 weeks later) and one of my doulas (who was a three-time cesarean mother and who taught classes and attended births for several years before her HBA3C). But does the same apply to childbirth educators?

I would still say no, simply because birth work is a calling - and I don't think women should be held hostage to their birth experiences before being able to work in the field (I have heard arguments saying that no woman should be a doula or a midwife either until she gives birth). What do you think? Here is an article from a blog that I absolutely love, in which she argues against non-natural-birth-moms teaching natural birth classes:

Should Your Natural Childbirth Educator Have Given Birth Naturally?

Interesting thoughts! Note the conversation down below in the comments as well.


Moving on. Have you all heard about the recent birth done in an MRI machine? The images are fascinating, but I was left with a bad taste in my mouth over that one.


Well, for a lot of reasons. I love what Lesley has to say here:

"The stated intention behind this crazy endeavour was to set up a study which seeks to examine why doctors "have" to deliver so many babies by C-section. They want to unlock the mystery as to why some women can birth 10 pounders and others have 7 pounders which get stuck. They want to understand why so many babies' craniums are disproportionately large for their mothers' pelvises. When the article went on to state the researchers were trying to get a better understanding of the mechanics of birth, I didn't know whether to laugh my head off, barf, or hit someone."

My sentiments exactly.

Want to know why world cesarean rates are skyrocketing? The answers are there. The answers are obvious. And they don't require an MRI machine to find out:

Money. Greed. Hospital policy. Bad science. Unnecessary labor induction. Convenience induction. Iatrogenic complications leading to cesarean. The dead baby card. Prone labor positions. Lithotomy birth. Overuse of pain medications. The Friedman curve. Impatience. The cascade of labor interventions shipwrecking an otherwise normal labor. Control. Power. Litigation risks. Medical malpractice costs. Patient overloading. Counter-productive birth practices with bad outcomes (routine AROM, cervical checks, denial of food/drink in labor, etc. etc. etc.). Lack of respect for normal birth physiology. Lack of support for vaginal and/or natural birth. Culture. Social conditioning. VBAC bans, by doctor or by hospital. Doctor discouragement of VBAC. Once a cesarean always a cesarean. Insurance companies. Ignorance. Lack of education. Fear.

Did I miss anything?

Not one of those reasons has anything to do with women's bodies being broken, or women being unable to give birth. And not one of those problems can be solved by sticking a birthing woman flat on her back and taking pictures of the birth process in an MRI machine. Try attacking the financial, political, social, and medico-legal factors instead.

Additionally, birth in an MRI tube is - to me - a violation of the sacred. It is like having someone die in an MRI tube so that we could take MRI images of the last moments to "investigate how death really happens." Regardless of the data gathered (and it would be just as unneeded as birth MRI images), it is - to me, at least! - sacrilege. Birth is sacred and should occur in a sacred space, surrounded by loving and supportive caregivers. In an MRI tube? In my humble opinion, "My friends, these things should not be!"

Thoughts, all?

Anyway, here is Lesley Everest's ("Musings of a Montreal Doula") take on it, and I love everything that she has to say:

Missing the Forest for the Trees: Birthing in an MRI Machine


And a quick article on one mama's experience with placenta medicine - my favorite!

Birth Activist: Placenta Encapsulation: Power Pill Creation

Love getting the word out on this!


Here is something that EVERY birth professional needs to read... I mean this! Please read!

Morning sickness is a run-of-the-mill occurrence that most mamas experience in some form or another. Hyperemesis gravidarum, or extreme nausea/vomiting of pregnancy, is a completely different animal. In your work with pregnant mamas of hyperemesis, DO NOT make the mistake of thinking that morning sickness cures will do squat for HG. HG moms are usually battling to keep their sanity. They are vomiting water because they can't even keep that down. Do not say "Have you tried ginger? How about ginger ale?" She may just deck you!

It's really important for birth workers to understand HG - especially those of us in the natural birth community, because we have a tendency to underestimate physical concerns or the need for cold, hard pharmaceuticals. Having been-there-done-that, this is another of my passions.

Did you know that something like 95% of "therapeutic" abortions (i.e. those done for health reasons) are done for hyperemesis? That's right, these are much-wanted babies whose mothers could no longer stand the torture of HG. One HG mother (a conservative, pro-life Christian) told me that if she ever got pregnant again, she would either abort or commit suicide rather than face hyperemesis again. It is serious. Super serious. Take women seriously on this one.

My Pregnancy Nausea Made Me Consider Terminating


Now, on a lighter note - an article that I simply loved, from one of my favorite authoresses, Rixa of "Stand and Deliver". Need I say that I LOVED this article?

Don't ask, just do

Read it. Love it. Pass it on.


Something fun: I am in the middle of watching this video - "The Essential Ingredient: Doula" - and it's very good! Pass it on to pregnant mommy friends!


And a homebirth story from here in the valley this past week, one with a very interesting complication - a spontaneous last-minute placental abruption. Excellent work to the midwife involved, and congrats to this family!

Anna's Birth Story


And lastly - have you heard? There's a break-off movement from the Bradley Childbirth International - called Bradley Reborn, and I think also Brio Birth. I can't find the detailed website I looked at last week - just this one.What do you think? I participated in a brief conversation on this on my local birth network, and it looks like a lot is going on.

Since I'm not a Bradley teacher and don't have any inside scoop on the issue, I won't attempt to write about it, but it's definitely worth researching and looking into. As would be expected, it seems that tensions are running high between loyal Bradley teachers and teachers who have decided to go with Bradley Reborn.

For myself, I am very excited about Bradley Reborn simply because it seems to address a lot of the concerns that I have heard from Bradley students over the years about the Bradley methods and materials. One woman who I know locally and who is an excellent teacher is going with Bradley Reborn, and that lends a lot of credibility to the movement in my eyes. I am excited to see where this goes, and I wish them the best of luck.

(*Later Note: I found out today that Bradley Reborn is now calling itself Brio Birth due to litigation from Bradley Childbirth over the use of the Bradley name. I don't know if the renaming is permanent or temporary, but that's the scoop on that. That's also why the nice website has disappeared and the new one is so sketchy - they're in-process of moving everything to a new site, so they're trying to get everything up and running. There was quite a bit of info on the original site, so if you wait a few days and go back, there will probably be lots of good stuff there once again.)


And to end this article on a Christmas-y (and hilarious) note, here is a link to our favorite Christmas song spoof - definitely check it out: The Abominable "O Holy Night." Love it.


As always, I welcome civil conversation on any of the above subjects! However, comments that are unkind, cruel, or rude will be deleted immediately without comment. But I love hearing from you all - thanks for your comments! 


I hope that each of you is having a good month and a happy Christmas season! We are enjoying the holidays tremendously, and I am crossing my fingers and praying that we can get to Christmas without getting sick. We always manage to get sick just in time to have to cancel most of our holiday dates (parties, etc.), and it hasn't happened this year.... but there's still over a week to go, so I'm not counting any chickens!

Lots of news going on in the birth world, lots of things happening - it's an exciting time to be involved!

I hope to check in before Christmas, but if not, have a lovely Christmas!!!

Wednesday, December 1, 2010

Note on Breastfeeding

I have many, many things to say about breastfeeding.... and no time at all to say them. Thankfully many of you wonderful bloggers out there are saying them for me!

But in the meantime, here is a note on our non-culture of support for breastfeeding.

This afternoon I received a phone message telling me the protocol for pre-procedure fasting for our baby (age 15 months). It went something like this:

"Before the procedure, baby can have solids till 4 a.m., formula till 6 a.m., and clear liquids till 9 a.m. If for some reason he's still breastfeeding, he can have breastmilk till 8 a.m."(Emphasis mine.)

Do I really need to say anything more? The easy assumption that "of COURSE a 15-month-old baby is weaned" does not reflect well on our current medical culture.

We have work to do.