Thursday, September 30, 2010
(2) I'm afraid I've been very, very, very bad about using blog category labels - in fact, I haven't done it for the past, oh, 18 months or so. Thus, I have installed search bars on both my blogs so that visitors can search for a subject of interest. I'll probably get rid of the label category side bars soon.
Tuesday, September 28, 2010
When you received visitors to see your new baby, what were two things that almost every visitor said?
"Let me know if you need anything," and "I'd love to babysit for you - just let me know."
Exactly how many of those people did you contact to take advantage of their sweet offers?
That's right, none.
Or, to put it conversely, how many new mamas whom you have visited have called you up and said, "You know how you offered to bring me a meal if I needed it? Well, I could really use it tonight."
That has probably never happened - in fact, it would probably feel a bit odd if it did.
Why? Simply because women have an incredibly hard time asking for help. We also have an intense need to put on a front of "having it all together." That's just how we are.
I'm the same way. During my last pregnancy, the deaconesses at our church offered to arrange meals for us when I was at my sickest point. I declined. And declined again. When I was finally so desperate that I accepted, one of the deaconesses emailed me - "Diana, it's about TIME you accepted help!"
Yes, like most women out there, I have serious problems accepting any form of help.
Now I'd like to showcase two of my friends - these are just examples out of many who blessed our family; these are not the only ones.
Friend #1 - After our first baby was born, she called me repeatedly and said "I want to babysit for you so that you can get out and do something. When can I come over?"
If she had said "Do you need babysitting?" I probably would have declined. Because she used a more forthright method, she was successful - and I got a 2-hour break.
Friend #2 - She heard that I was really sick with my second pregnancy, so one afternoon she called and said "I have some meals I want to bring over for your freezer. Is this a good time?" She did the same after baby arrived.
If she had said "Do you need food?" or "Would you like some meals?" I probably would have declined. Again, the forthright method works better.
So, here is the announcement!
Women of the world, we need to change how we try to bless new mothers (and people dealing with illness, hospitalization, and life transitions of all kinds).
Fact #1 - Women try to appear like they have life handled, regardless of how sick, exhausted, busy or stressed they are.
Fact #2 - Most women have trouble asking for help, even when needed.
Fact #3 - Most women will decline offers of help, even when needed.
Therefore, here's how to do it.
When you see a need, here is what not to say (not because it's not very sweet, but just because it's generally unsuccessful in getting mamas to accept the offered help!):
- Can you use some help?
- Let me know if you ever need anything.
- Call me if you would like me to babysit.
- Let me know if you'd like me to bring some meals by.
- I'd love to help out, so just let me know.
When you see a need, here is what you need to say instead:
- I want to babysit so you can get out for a bit. Would you like that? When would be a good time?
- I would like to bring you dinner. Would tonight or tomorrow work better for you?
- I have some meals for your freezer. When can I drop by?
- I want to help out with your situation. Would you like some meals or would you prefer help with housework?
Get the point? This is really important. It's the difference between mamas and families having needs met and being blessed and mamas and families having unmet needs that are needlessly neglected while families suffer in hard circumstances.
I have taken the example of my friends above to heart, and that is my new method. When one of my MOMS Club friends hurt her back, I tried it out - I called her and said "I'd like to bring you dinner tonight! Would that be okay? When can I drop it off?" And it worked!
Try on this method and see how much more it enables you to bless families who need the help.
Oh, and need some ideas for new-baby families/mamas? Try these out!
Sunday, September 26, 2010
The Waiting Game (Dallin's Birth Story, Part I)
The Birth Pool (Dallin's Birth Story, Part II)
Perfectly Different (Dallin's Birth Story, Part III)
I haven't gotten a chance to go through her birth story yet, but I got to hear it in person on Thursday at the east valley birth circle, and it was a lovely story! She had an awesome experience with The Bethany Midwives and a wonderful VBAC.
.... seven hours!
Yup, that's right - seven hours of active second-stage labor. What a woman. And what a midwife! That is a powerful couple of women there - the woman for doing it, and the midwife for being patient instead of throwing in the towel and transporting. You can pretty much guess with accuracy that if this woman had birthed in hospital, she would have been sectioned (unless she had a beyond-awesome doctor or hospital midwife).
Baby and mother are doing beautifully. Congratulations!!
Saturday, September 25, 2010
- Midwives, group listings
- Midwives, listing by practice
- Birth Doulas
- Postpartum Doulas
- Childbirth Education, by type
- Childbirth Education, by practitioner
- Arizona Birth Centers
- Prenatal Yoga
- Pregnancy Chiropractic
- Pregnancy & Infant Massage
- Breastfeeding Support, by Practitioner
- Breastfeeding Support groups
- Pregnancy Photography
Plus all of the informational link lists (which could stand to be updated as well.... another day!).
If you are an Arizona birth professional and would like to be listed, let me know! I just need a name or business name and a website - if you don't have a website, give me a contact number or email address (and I'll just put a blank website like Google up to link to).
Thanks to everyone who has helped me with this project! (And if you're someone who sent me information that I listed incorrectly or only partially, let me know!)
Thursday, September 23, 2010
I wanted to let you know that I'm teaching a Breastfeeding 101 class next Friday at Blossom Birth and Wellness Center in Phoenix, and invite you to join me for a fun and informative class all about getting the best start on nursing your baby!
The class will be held on October 1 from 11:00am-12:00pm. The fee for the class is $10. We will cover the basics about breastfeeding -- how to get started and making it work for you!
TO REGISTER: email the following information to firstname.lastname@example.org
1. Full name
2. Estimated Due Date
4. Phone number
5. Email address
6. Do you have children? Ages?
7. If you have children, did you breastfeed them? For how long?
The class will be followed by a Breastfeeding and Postpartum Group for New Moms -- my 101 class attendees are welcome to stay and hear the discussion from mamas with new babies!
Feel free to ask questions! I hope to see you there!
Michelle Hottya CD(DONA) AZCCE
Birth Doula and Childbirth Educator
www (dot) hottya (dot) com
"I just wrote this in response to a comment in a friend's FB thread. I posted a link to Dou-la-la's blog post, "The difference between "I can't" and "I won't" - and why it matters to all of us." http://dou-la-la.blogspot.com/2010/07/difference-between-i-cant-and-i-wont.html . I decided to publish this to my notes because I feel it sums up how I view a major hurdle in the breastfeeding debate: setting mothers up for failure rather than success.
"The article I posted was a great reminder that we should not judge each other for our parenting choices, but I think that is only part of the point. The real issue is that our system does not provide women with the adequate support to achieve her goals for breastfeeding and undermines her attempts to succeed, then pats her on the back with words like, "At least you tried," and gives her a free can of formula.
"Of course there are situations like the ones that Matt pointed out where breastfeeding is difficult to the extreme or impossible. But those cases do not make up the 25% of mothers who are formula feeding by the time they get home from the hospital, or the 50% of mothers who stop breastfeeding before the baby is six months old. Within those numbers are women who sincerely wanted to breastfeed and yet were told "it's okay to quit."
"When I was preparing to hike the Grand Canyon from top-to-bottom, an athletic feat that I had a mere six weeks to prepare for, I never heard someone say, "Oh, you're too fat to do it. You're too out of shape. It's too hard. I couldn't do it, so you probably won't be able to either. I tried, but didn't make it more than a little ways in before I quit. Don't feel bad if you give up. Don't be afraid to quit. Hiking one mile is just as good as hiking all seventeen."
"If I had heard that, I would not have made it through the whole hike, and might not have even tried.
"Women are regularly told, "Breastfeeding is too hard. It's painful. I couldn't do it. You're breasts are small like mine so you might not make enough milk. Don't feel bad if you give up. Don't be afraid to quit. Breastfeeding one month is just as good as six months."
"No wonder women feel so conflicted about breastfeeding. No wonder they project their feelings about not meeting their goals on the people around them.
"What I heard when I was preparing to hike: "That's awesome! Good for you! I know you can do it! I can't wait to hear about your success! I will train with you! I hiked it too--here's what I did to make it through. How exciting! You're going to love it! I wish I could do that! You've inspired me, I think I will hike the Grand Canyon too!" And from my hiking partner: "I know we can do this -- we can help each other. We will be able to tell our amazing story afterwards. It will be great!"
"How many more women will succeed at breastfeeding if they get the same encouragement as I got for a two-day hike?
"When a woman and her partner work together to bring their baby into the world, then they work together to learn to take care of that baby, the community should support, encourage, help and praise them -- not set up roadblocks, use discouraging language or get judgmental and condescending for their choices. Maybe some women will succeed at breastfeeding, maybe some will have to combine bottle and breastfeeding, and maybe a few will have to stop breastfeeding all together. But if we set them up to succeed, rather than fail, then we will all be happier in the end."
According to the announcement, seminar topics will include:
- Pre/Perinatal Psychology
- Benefits of Flower Essences
- Cloth Diaper Class for Beginners
- Organic Living for the Family
- Benefits of Chiropractic Care
- Perinatal Massage
- Breastfeeding Overview and Tips
- Benefits of Naturopathic Care
- Baby Wearing Demo & Fashion Show
I doubt that I'll be there, as I have a nursing baby - bummer!!! But if you have the chance to go - whether as a birth fan, expectant mama, or interested citizen, definitely check it out! The prices are (I think) now lower than those listed on the site, so contact AZBN for more info.
Also, a conference I am very excited about - the Arizona Autumn Midwifery Conference! Very, very exciting. Here is the information:
Combining evidence based medical knowledge
traditional midwifery skills
Thursday, October 21, 2010
This will be our 3rd annual autumn conference and we’re so excited! We have three wonderful and wise women speaking this year!
Sharon Hodges-Rust, midwife, herbalist and researcher will give us the newest info regarding vitamin k and the newborn
Claudine Calligan, CNM, CPM, FNP, will explain the how and why of the physical examination... midwife style
Special guest Gail Hart from Oregon, midwife, author, and well known speaker will be newly returned from the Midwifery Today conference in France and will be teaching us on a variety of topics
8:00 Registration..... continental breakfast
8:30 Welcome and opening
9:00 “First hour belongs to mother-baby” Gail Hart (1.)
10:00 “Vitamin k updates” Sharon Rust (1.)
11:00 “Prolonged labor” Gail Hart (1.5)
1:15 “Hemorrhage” Gail Hart (1.5)
2:45 “Friendly holistic physical exam” Claudine Calligan (1.5)
4:15 “GBS & vaginal health” Gail Hart (1)
5:15 Closing- and a gift for you- to unite us all
7:30 Dessert, drumming, dancing .... hot tub & champagne will be bubbling
This conference is open to all interested midwives, student-midwives, doulas and women in the birth community.
As always, nursing babies are welcome!
7.5 contact hours are applied for through MEAC and certificates will be provided at end of day.
Headache Almost Turns Deadly for Valley Boy
First of all, prayers for this sweet family would be greatly appreciated! Secondly, this catastrophe unfortunately struck when the Ausdemore family was without health insurance. When this is all said and done, they will be tens (or hundreds) of thousands of dollars in debt. If you would care to contribute (and keep up on the updates), here is the Facebook page for that:
Jake Ausdemore Healing Fund
Anything to support this sweet family in a time of real need is a blessing to them!
Saturday, September 18, 2010
My Beautiful Birth
I love her opener:
"Spoiler Alert: I end up with a baby."
Dang! She spoiled the ending! :)
And then her lovely birth video:
A beautiful birth, and an absolutely gorgeous media job - I lovely the seamless integration of still photos and video footage. Simply beautiful. If I was a techie genius, I would put that together for my births too! But then again, I wouldn't have her gorgeous hair and photogenic labor-looks, so it would likely be all for naught. :)
Congratulations, new mama!!
We had major nursing problems with #2 - I'm still procrastinating on writing up that story - and for about seven weeks, baby was bottle-fed while I pumped milk for him. I heard repeatedly that pumping would eventually kill my supply, but for those seven weeks, the reverse was true - I went into oversupply, and for a good while was freezing an extra 12 ounces a day (besides that which I had to throw out from unfinished bottles!).
A few months ago, as the expiration date started coming up on the milk, I posted to see if anyone could use it - and it quickly went winging its way to a friend's sister-in-law who needed it for some NICU triplets. Hurray!
I kept a small box for myself in case it was needed. Then, as I realized that it too needed to go (before it expired), a good friend posted on Facebook - "Help! I need milk!" - so two weeks ago, my last bit went to her new little one.
Moral of the story - Milk-sharing is wonderful! If you have milk stored in your freezer, don't let it expire just to throw it away! Get it out there! There are TONS of babies out there who can benefit from unneeded breast-milk supplies. Good things happen when extra milk is spread around.
Homebirth Video - Born in the Caul
I have always wanted to have a caul-baby, but both of my labors have started with SROM (spontaneous rupture of membranes). If we have another at any time, I'll hope to experience this!
I used to think that birth en caul was extremely rare, but a homebirth midwife friend of mine writes "just had another caul baby!" posts on Facebook at least every month or two. I know that birth with a caul has been almost eradicated in hospital birth due to the unfortunate practice of routine AROM (artificial rupture of membranes) in laboring mothers. Such a pity, for many reasons.
Another thing I loved about this birth - it is done at a natural pace. Something that I find so disheartening about many hospital births is the continued presence of "purple pushing" - i.e. caregivers shouting at the mother to "Push! Push! PUSH! Harder! One! Two! Three! PUSH!" It is an outdated practice that has been shown to have negative repercussions for both mother and baby, but dinosaurs take a while to die - especially in the labor room. Check out this article by Holistic Doula NYC:
Pushing During Labor: Coached Pushing vs Physiologic Pushing
Purple pushing - not a good thing. The second-stage (pushing phase) of the birth in the video above is obviously done in perfect harmony with the mother's urges to push - that is, slowly and gently. A pattern for us all to follow, for sure!
Good stuff here!
Sunday, September 12, 2010
An Arizona midwife just posted her experience with placenta medicine - a very interesting read.
I Did It - Ten Days of Eating My Placenta
She took it to a more spiritual level than I did (I just focused on the physical benefits), so this was really interesting for me to read.
Oddly enough, I was just in Sedona this past weekend.... hopefully I'll get to meet this midwife sometime!
Friday, September 10, 2010
When we met, we were almost all childless - one couple had a six-month-old, and one couple had lost a baby in a tubal pregnancy. But all of us were in the market for parenthood, and over these past six years our babies have arrived in waves, for a total of 24 babies at present (12 of which are embryo-adoption babies) - nine born, one in-utero, six in waiting (EA babies not yet transferred) and eight in heaven.
It has been fascinating to watch the paths that the six families have taken with their childbearing - we have been all over the map. I thought that I'd write down just some of the experiences that we have had - we haven't experienced everything, but it's been close. So here goes....
As a six-couple set, we have experienced among us:
- Easy conception
- Fertility problems, short-term
- Fertility problems, long-term/permanent
- The full range of fertility testing
- Embryo adoption
- Early miscarriage (~4 weeks)
- Miscarriage at 8 weeks
- Failed IVF embryo adoption transfer
- Miscarriage after successful embryo adoption transfer
- Ectopic pregnancy, followed by emergency surgery
- Morning sickness-free pregnancies
- Mild morning sickness pregnancies
- Hyperemesis gravidarum, untreated
- Hyperemesis gravidarum, treated
- Gestational diabetes
- Pregnancy hypertension
- Breech (resolved)
- Preterm labor
- Postdates (one of the group regularly goes to 42 weeks)
- Lamaze, hospital classes
- Hospital birth, unmedicated
- Hospital birth, medicated
- Bradley birth
- Induction with a provider whose limit was 41 weeks
- Cesarean section after failed induction
- Elective repeat cesarean section
- Induction with the "dead baby card" played
- Home waterbirth
- Homebirth transport to hospital
- OB care
- Midwifery care (CPM only, no CNMs yet)
I'm pretty sure I've missed some of our adventures, but that's a good beginning list. It has been quite an experience for all of us, sharing both our triumphs and our losses together. The adventure still continues, as well.... some of us are done (as in DONE), some of us are just beginning, some of us are still on the journey, some of us aren't sure where we are.
I'm looking forward to meeting however many more little ones join us!
Wednesday, September 1, 2010
You know you're a birth junkie if.....
- You are vaguely surprised to discover that there are non-birth blogs out there. So weird.
- You experience an inexplicable magnetism toward all pregnant women.
- The question is not "if" you have a placenta in your freezer, but "how many?"
- Your husband can pontificate, at length, on the benefits of natural birth and the evils of the cesarean epidemic, because he's already heard the sermon so many times from you.
- There is no longer any topic that is labeled in your mind as "too much information" when it comes to birth. Occasionally, you embarrass yourself by discussing vaginas with your friends' husbands before you think. Oops.
- When the bread gets stuck coming out of its plastic bag, you think "Shoulder dystocia!" and then quickly recite to yourself the major methods for resolving it (McRoberts, Gaskin, Zavanelli, etc.)
- When you hear that someone has a baby, your first question is not "How are you?" but "How did your birth go?"
- When you are staring off into space and your husband says "What are you thinking about?", you often respond with a passionate and long-winded sermon on a birth topic.
- When your birth friends post their labor updates on Facebook, you spent the entire labor stalking Facebook (along with the other local birth junkies) until the entire thing turns into a riotous labor-stalking party, ending with a flurry of congratulations to the mama when the final post "Baby is here!" is made.
- You have to make repeated, stern commands to yourself to avoid giving unwanted, unrequested advice to pregnant mamas. (Just breath.... and again.... and again.)
- You regularly hear birth stories that make you want to bang your head against a wall. Violently and repeatedly.
- When you hear of a mother who does not eat her placenta, you think "Oh! How odd!"
- You are working on building your birth library, and it does not contain a copy of "What to Expect When You're Expecting." Except perhaps as a special display with a stake through its heart.
- When you see a pregnant mother on the street, you have the immediate urge to walk over and start giving her information about doulas, natural birth, childbirth classes, homebirth, and local birth resources. Sometimes you do.
- Your idea of "free time" is watching birth videos on YouTube or blogging about birth.
- Your mind operates in "birth space" most of the time that it's not actively engaged on real-life topics.
- When you hear about news in the birth arena, you're already writing a mental blog post about it before you have finished reading the article.
- Your idea of "girls' night out" is not dinner and drinks at a local restaurant, but attending a local women's birth forum discussion group.
- A positive, empowering birth story totally makes your day. Ditto for the announcement of a new pregnancy.
- When you reach out and discover your local birth community, you have the feeling that you've finally found your tribe. :)
- Your husband is heard to mutter things like, "With a frank breech, they should have considered a trial of labor before funneling that mother into an automatic scheduled cesarean birth. It's not like it was a footling."
- You can't watch TV shows like "A Baby Story" because they make you so angry and depressed that you can't function.
- You can reel off reams of birth-related statistics - current and past cesarean rates, WHO recommendations, local cesarean rates, etc.
- Getting to tell someone your birth story is a special treat because you love to remember it.
- All of your Facebook friends know that you are a birth junkie because you compulsively post a steady stream of birth-related articles. Some of them probably think you're more than a little strange.
- You are known as "the birth lady."
- You think it would be fun help catch a baby in an emergency (plane flight, etc.). In fact, you've put some thought into how you would do it.
- You know and can recite from memory the reproductive history (pre-conception, prenatal, intrapartum, and postpartum) of every woman at your church, MOMS club, etc..
- You consider having another child just because you miss your visits with your midwife so much and because you love giving birth and/or being pregnant.
- You greet your husband at the door with, "Hi, hon! I've got a birth video that you've just got to see!"
- Topics like the cultural determination of episiotomy methodology, various placenta preparation recipes, and dilation-determination techniques are common subjects of dinner-table conversation.
- Your husband tries to talk his co-workers into having homebirths.
- You find analogies to birth in just about everything. My friend Kathy found an analogy to hospital birth in dishwater and to pregnancy length in seedlings (right, Kathy? I'm going from memory only); I found myself contemplating mustard greens and meditating upon the nature of placenta blood vessel patterns (they are remarkably similar!).
- When interviewing a new doctor or caregiver, you intentionally throw out the term "midwife" or "homebirth" to see how s/he responds in order to find out if you really want to work with him/her.
- Your idea of a dream vacation is not a cruise to Hawaii but traveling to Tennessee to visit Ina May Gaskin at The Farm.
And last, but most certainly not least...
- Your husband has seen more of your birth-community friends naked than clothed - because you showed him all of their birth pics/videos before he met them in person!!
Got any more to add? Let me know!
But, as usual, I have zero time for blogging. So here goes another stream-of-consciousness blog entry - a little bit of everything!
First of all, in birth news - I encapsulated my first placenta! Or rather, my second, as I did my own, but I don't usually count that one as "official" because I had so much help. This one was 100% on my own, and it was easier than I expected, and a ton of fun. I did it to help out a friend who couldn't take this client due to being on vacation, and I'm glad I did. I want to do more! However, if I ever get into the business myself, I shall be offering only raw encapsulated placenta - cooking a placenta sounds both unnatural (what animals do you know that cook their placentas?) and rather disgusting. So there you have it!
Speaking of placentas, on one of my favorite new blogs, I found this great article - check it out:
The Placenta: Essential Resuscitation Equipment
In other words, knock off the premature cord-clamping, people!!
Also, another favorite blogger of mine (and personal friend) blogged recently about placenta medicine - this is my new article to send to people who are saying "Why???" Here it it:
Placenta Medicine: Why Do It?
In Arizona birth news, this article came out in our local paper recently, and it includes a brief interview with a doula friend of mine, Althea. Love seeing doulas getting in the news!!
Doulas Offer Support, Encouragement During Childbirth
I found this set of articles quite randomly while surfing the web - it is a mama's account of her (very recent) vaginal birth of twins. It's not a homebirth or a pro-natural-birth account, but it is definitely interesting - especially in a day when most twins are automatically funneled into cesarean:
The Birth, Part I
The Birth, Part II
I especially loved how her doctor handled Baby A's birth - this was great!
"She gave some instructions to the people in the room (there was over a dozen people there, I’m not exaggerating) and then she gently told me, “Okay Molly, whenever you want to push, just take a deep breath and push. You’re gonna see your babies soon.”
And, for our head-banging moment of the day, an article on CNN:
Ripple effect seen from rising C-sections in first-time moms
Actually, the article itself is really good. It examines the factors behind our absurdly high cesarean rate, namely, extremely high c-section rates in first-time moms followed by abysmally low VBAC rates. The article concludes:
"Carol Hogue, a maternal and fetal health expert at Emory University in Atlanta, Georgia, was on the NIH panel. She strongly believes that moms-to-be need to be better educated before they have their baby. "C-section itself is not a benign thing," says Hogue. While many people may no longer view Caesareans as a major operation, she says women need to remember that there are risks for a mother because it is still major surgery, which can include complications with anesthesia and scarring. 'The process of labor helps the baby survive," Hogue adds.
"Just last month, ACOG reaffirmed its guidelines that VBAC is a viable option and urged physicians to counsel women who have had one or two previous C-sections to consider delivering their baby naturally.
"The study concludes that if fewer women were induced, if better guidelines for the timing of Caesareans existed and if women were better educated about their ability to deliver a baby after a surgical birth, it could help lower the number of C-sections in this country."
Don't you love how "naturally" means "anything less than a cesarean" nowadays?
Anyway, the head-banging moment comes not from the article, but, as is often the case, from the comments. Try a couple of these on for size:
From someone who was probably trying to be a jerk:
"I speak for all husbands when I say that a C section is great for us. We don't have to be traumatized that a human came out of where ummm we like to go into."
And then a (believe it or not) serious comment from a dad whose wife chose an unneeded elective cesarean:
" It seems barbaric to us that doctors still allow women to have vaginal births with all the risks that are involved (vaginal ripping or tearing or purposeful cutting by the doctor, The infection that can result from it, long strenuous painful labor, umbilical cord entanglement, ect...)."
Oh. my. goodness. That is wrong on so, so many levels. Rather than go into it, I'll just continue the head-banging.
A lot of the commenters bring up an extremely valid point - that OBs, like other doctors nowadays, are pressured into practicing backside-covering medicine rather than evidence-based medicine simply because they are often sued up one side and down the other whenever they don't. It is a deeply complex issue, and one that needs serious addressing in order to turn western hospital birth around.
Speaking of hospitals, did you know that Disney has a hospital? It does! Read all about it here, as well as Dr. Fogelson's comments on how this hospital could (and possibly should) be used as a model for hospitals on a larger scale - rather than a pleasant exception to the rule
Healthcare “Onstage” at Disney’s Celebration Health
And lastly, loved this unassisted birth story - a breech!
The Unassisted, Surprise Breech Birth of Serenity Danilyn
I think there were more, but it's time to wake up the kidlets! Happy Wednesday, everyone!!!