Tuesday, April 24, 2012

Yes, Indeed!

Sometimes you find an article that just strikes a chord.... this is one of them.

THIS is How We Birth in America?

Yes, this IS how we birth in America... and it's so very, very sad.

Enjoy this excellently-written article!

What's New Around Here

Now, just in time for Mother's Day....

Routine Infant Circumcision party favors! Perfect for school parties, kids' birthdays, holiday festivities, and celebrations in general! Don't you just love 'em?

No, seriously... Anyone care to take a guess at what this "RIC" really stands for?


It stands for.....

Recycle In Chandler!

Mwa ha ha ha ha ha ha!!

But it did give me a bit of a jolt when they handed these out today at our homeschool field trip to the city recycling facilities!

Friday, April 20, 2012

The Ultimate Heresy (And What Came of It)

Yes, my birthy friends... I have committed the ultimate heresy. I did indeed.

I changed midwives. And I lived to tell about it.

A year or two ago, if anyone had told me that I would ever birth with anyone other than our first midwife, I probably would have shot first and asked questions later. To say that we loved our wonderful first midwife would be a miserable understatement. We bonded for life at our first meeting, and the subsequent five years (during which she attended the birth of our first two babies) only deepened that bond and the deep and loving friendship that we had - and still have - with her.

I never imagined changing. Ever.

But when our newest babe rolled into town, the truth hit us - that due to logistical factors, as well as various timing issues (none of which had to do with our first midwife's character, skills, or qualifications)  - we were not going to be able to have her attend our little one's pregnancy and birth.

For anyone who has bonded with her midwife, this is a tragedy!

But I am here to say that we lived through the experience, and that it had a happy ending. After several interviews, we chose as our next midwife a women whom I have known many years through the birth community, and who is an eminently competent midwife, as well as a wonderful woman in general. After getting used to the feeling of seeing someone who was not our first midwife, we had a spectacular time getting to know her and her student and deepening the friendship that we already had with her. She was an absolutely awesome midwife, and our experience was wonderful.

And so, after doing the unthinkable, life continues on... and we have learned that we can indeed love more than one midwife. We love and respect our first midwife and enjoy getting to see her when we can - not nearly often enough! - and we love and respect our second midwife, and love the time that we got to spend with her during this pregnancy and birth.

Homebirth midwives are just awesome. Thank you for being the amazing group of women that you are, and for serving birthing women with all of the love that you do!

Dedicated to my awesome midwives - all of them! 

A Mother's Diary of a Baby Born Still

This is an amazing - and heartbreaking - story. All birth professionals will have to experience a stillbirth at some point, and many of us laypersons will experience a stillbirth either personally or among friends. This is a mother's diary of the birth of her son, born still, only one month ago.

Mamas who are currently expecting, you might want to refrain from reading this right now. All others, this is a wonderfully sweet telling of a sweet baby's birth, even though this little one did not get to stay:

Part 1

Part 2

Part 3

Part 4

Part 5

Thoughts and prayers to this sweet family as they deal with the loss of their sweet little one.

Saturday, April 14, 2012

Birth Awesomeness!

Posted on the ICAN Blog the other day - I loved this! Does it get any better than....

... A side of the road birth!

... Which is also a successful VBAC!

... And also turns out to be surprise twins!

... Both of which are breech!

Read this awesome story here! Enjoy!

Friday, April 13, 2012

What Worked, What Didn't: The Post-Pregnancy Evaluation

Reposted from my morning sickness blog!

I'm sorry this entry has taken so long, ladies! I should have written this months and months ago when the information was fresh in my memory. But I need to get on with it before I forget it entirely, so here goes.

You can see the plan and protocol I worked on here.

You know, I haven't really looked at that plan/protocol in almost a year - I'd forgotten a lot of things on it! Some things got done, some didn't. But it helped. Ladies, if you are planning an HG pregnancy, I highly recommend having your own personal plan and protocol. It might help, but for me the main help has been (1) gaining the extra knowledge while researching for it, and (2) feeling prepared - it helps so much mentally and emotionally, even if it doesn't help physically. I really recommend the process as a therapeutic help.

You can read my "what worked, what didn't" for my previous pregnancy here.

As always, sorting out what helped and what didn't is a bit of an exercise in futility, just because of the conglomeration of remedies tried results in confounding variables - throw in normal pregnancy variation, and it's a puzzle. We can only try.

This pregnancy has been my easiest so far. Barring the mysterious beginning, which was hideously sudden and severe, the nausea stayed.... minor, comparatively. It put me out of commission for four months, and it was miserable, but it did not reach HG levels, nor even the levels reached with my last pregnancy. Of course, I was on massive amounts of pharmaceuticals (Zofran and Unisom), and I do think that it would have proceeded into straight HG without that - but otherwise it was my best pregnancy yet. Miserable, but good comparatively.

* Note the caveats mentioned in my last "what worked" entry.

Continuing the format on my last entry, here goes!


I never got around to trying these things, or trying them seriously:

* Acupuncture/Acupressure - I did try to try this, but unsuccessfully. I visited a (very unfriendly) acupuncturist who took my paperwork and then announced, "Your insurance doesn't cover NVP, so I can't see you. Good-bye." I didn't try again. Thankfully I have the name of a great acupuncturist now, so I can try her next time (assuming a next time happens).

* Chiropractic Care - I love my chiropractor, and I did notice minimal improvement with chiropractic care last time. However, I barter cooking for adjustments... not happening while NVP is in full swing! Kind of a Catch-22.

* MorningWell CD - Forgot about it again.

* Primabella Wristbands - Didn't want to go to the trouble to get a prescription, or pay the price... and have heard that they don't work that well for HG. If you want to try it, though, it's worth a go!

* Homeopathy - I have heard great things about homeopathy... but I've never gotten it to work for me. So this time I just didn't bother.

* Herbs - I had absolutely ZERO luck with all of the herbs that I tried last time (and I tried a bunch!). Not to mention that the smell of the herbs made me sick! So this time I just didn't bother, and stuck with ginger alone. (I would have done milk thistle if I'd remembered it - this is one herb with a great track record - but I forgot about it.)

These Were Really Helpful

* Zofran (Ondansetron) - 24 mg per day in 4 mg doses

* Bendectin replica (Unisom {doxylamine succinate} plus B-complex/B6) - A lot of this.

* The Very Low Carbohydrate (VLC) Diet. More on this later (it merits its own entry, coming soon).

Other Things I Did

Remember... this was my easiest pregnancy. Unless it was normal pregnancy variation (very possible), something helped. It could have been any of the below:

* Herbal Detox - This was one of those boxed 10-day herbal detox programs that we did on a complete spur-of-the-moment. Oddly enough, I see that we started it two or three days before getting pregnant - completely unintentionally! That was definitely a God-thing! (What isn't?) Don't know if it helped at all, but it's definitely gone on our yearly to-do list! (We actually bought this year's tonight!) And considering that liver support is one of the things recommended to help HG, I'm definitely going to keep that on my mental list of helps.

* Magnesium - Magnesium is SUCH an important nutrient! Read up! Definitely a keeper.

* Epsom salts in bath - For more magnesium. Didn't do it as much as I should have, but I tried. (Does anyone know where to buy epsom salts in bulk? They go so quickly!)

* Zinc - Read about this in one of the articles mentioned in my protocol. Another keeper.

* B-complex - This is a no-brainer.

* B-complex/folate/magnesium shots - Got this done at the naturopathic college weekly for about six weeks. After the first visit it wasn't too expensive. Would definitely do again!

* Multivitamin - Let's face it, these don't help. Just did it to keep up with nutrients otherwise missing.

* Morning Sickness Magic - A vitamin B and ginger supplement. Recommended by a friend.


Did I miss anything? Let me know your thoughts! I need to work on updating my protocol, so I'll get on that soon. But first, my article on the VLC diet! I will try to get to that in the next week or two. Remind me if I forget!

Have a great weekend, everyone!

It's All in Your Head!!

This week we have watched an interesting situation unfold. Our neighbors' teen daughter, an otherwise healthy and active girl, suddenly came down with an attack of severe, intense abdominal pain. She was taken to the hospital and ended up on constant morphine because the pain was so severe. But after six or so days of testing, the doctors could come up with no diagnosis.

And their solution to this situation?

(Wait for it... wait for it... wait for it...)

They wanted to diagnose her with "anxiety" and send her home with a prescription for pain meds.

Yes, seriously. I'm not making this up.

Thankfully, her parents put up a huge fight over this and insisted on further testing, which revealed a real diagnosis. She will be having surgery today and hopefully coming home soon, and should be fine in the longterm.

But goodness knows what would have happened if Plan A had been instituted.

I'm sure I don't need to point too hard to the analogy between this situation and hyperemesis gravidarum (severe nausea and vomiting of pregnancy). The "stop fussing, it's all in your head" diagnosis is so common for hyperemesis mothers that it is really a standing joke. It even has a name - being "crackered." But it's not so funny when caregiver neglect of this type results in a 1 in 7 abortion rate for the sweet babies of hyperemetic mothers who are so desperate for help - and are ignored and ridiculed for that - that they turn to abortion as the only solution for hellish suffering when they can't get the help that they need.

Lessons learned:

(1) If you are suffering from hyperemesis (or any other health concern) and are getting the "you need a psychologist because there's nothing wrong with you and it's all in your head," don't take that answer. Get a better caregiver.

(I should say that there was one time in my life when I wholeheartedly agreed with someone who told me that "morning sickness is 90% in women's heads." Oddly enough, that was approximately one week before I developed hyperemesis. I learned my lesson.)

(2) Caregivers - Don't write off severe morning sickness, or any other complaint. Help women get the care that they need. Babies' lives can ride on it.

And (3) I have made sure that my DH knows for SURE not to take me to this hospital should I ever need emergency care! (Especially since this is where a good friend of mine had a rotten birth experience a couple of years ago - I would much rather travel a bit!)

Thoughts, all?

Tuesday, April 10, 2012

You Want a Breech? I'll SHOW YOU A BREECH!

And here it is!

A primip (first-time mum) home frank breech, attended by a doctor. The story is told in the video:

This mama did an awesome job! And it was so fascinating to see a detailed breech video! Good stuff. Thoughts, anyone?

This birth did make me a bit nervous, I must admit... while I was waiting for the head, all I could think of was "Head entrapment! Head entrapment!" Thankfully I knew in advance that this birth had a happy ending, but I am very understanding of why most practitioners won't do footling breeches (that's when breech can truly turn nasty - this birth was a frank breech, which is much safer to attempt vaginally) and why specialized knowledge is necessary to assist at breeches. And the baby also made me nervous - that was one floppy baby. Thankfully he pinked up quickly!

Thoughts, anyone? Health care practitioners, would you be comfortable attending a breech at home? What about a primip breech? What about different types of breeches, like kneeling or footling?

Thanks to this family for sharing!

Saturday, April 7, 2012

Big Babies Rock!

Our not-so-little latest baby weighed in at 9 lbs. 9 oz. at birth. I didn't think much past the "wow!" factor at the time, but now that I've had some time to experience a big baby vs. our other two little ones (7#12 and 7#15) - I am all in favor of big babies!

As compared to the smaller babies, this baby is stronger, more vigorous, a better eater, more alert, and a better sleeper (he has slept through the night - eating occasionally - since day #1). It is awesome, and so much easier!

I talked to one midwife about this, and she said that moms don't believe her when she tells them that big babies are often better, and that they really don't want a six-pound baby. All the moms want small babies because they think the births will be faster and easier, but the benefits of a bigger baby really do add up.

(And let's be frank, ladies. An object that big going through an opening that small is going to hurt! An extra pound or two does not make that big of a difference!)

I don't know why this little chublet turned out so big. Here are three possibilities I've considered:

(1) He stayed in-utero approximately nine days longer than the other two.

(2) My diet for most of the pregnancy was very high-protein (and low-carb). I've heard that the Brewer diet, also high-protein, has a tendency to produce bigger babies, so that might be a factor.

(3) I gained, sadly, a huge amount of pregnancy weight.

Whether it's one of the above or a synergistic effect, I'm all for it. If we are ever blessed with another little one, I am planning on trying for another big baby. They are awesome!!

* I am, of course, referring to babies that are big and healthy, not babies who turn out big due to uncontrolled diabetes and have the resulting health problems from that.

Tuesday, April 3, 2012

A Brief Rant

Today a high school Facebook acquaintance of mine posted pics of her newborn baby. Before I even clicked on the album, I knew that it had been a cesarean birth.


Because they're all cesarean births. All of them.

My high school class is currently going through a baby boom, being that we've all recently turned 30 (and that seems to be the baby-making age right now). Of all the women having babies, I can count maybe two (including myself) who have had a vaginal birth. All the rest are cesareans, and are followed by automatic scheduled repeat cesareans. And most of them are for the most ridiculous of reasons (failed induction for "big baby" at 38 weeks, advanced maternal age, whatever).

It makes me so sad. And so angry - that the women of our age are being deprived of the most powerful event of biological womanhood. I don't like to use inflammatory language, but the term rape comes to mind. This is the rape of modern womanhood for the convenience of modern obstetrics and modern hospitals (or for the financial protection of the same), and it makes me angry.

Again, a cesarean well-placed in a needed situation is a God-sent miracle. No arguing with that. But when it's so common-place that it becomes the default.... that's another story.

And frankly, I don't know how the official cesarean rate is 32%. There just aren't that many vaginal births going on right now, at least amongst my age-mates. I'd think it was more like 32% vaginal births.

Frankly, ladies, here how it goes, in brief:

Average woman + No childbirth classes + No self-education + No doula + Hospital = Cesarean birth

And, of course, the doctor gets all of the credit for "saving my baby!" - and "thank goodness I wasn't at home, because my baby would have died!"

I'm not usually bitter. And I usually try to aim for a model of childbirth that integrates doctors/midwives and home/hospital for a cooperative model of trust and good working relations. But this is ridiculous, and it does make me upset. And it's just going to keep happening until women take responsibility for themselves, their babies, and their births.

Let's get on it, shall we?