Archive for the ‘Birth Attendants’ Category

Dear Midwife: You Rock My World

Dear Midwife,

In honor of my 101st post on this blog, I have to say thank you to you. If it hadn’t been for you, I probably never would have become so interested in all this birthy stuff, been urged to learn more about my options, and have had such a beautiful introduction to my son… And that’s just the beginning.

Thank you for taking time to talk to me during prenatals. Thank you for not rushing me out the door. Thank you for not thinking my questions were stupid. Thank you for letting me weigh myself and for believing the numbers I told you. Thank you for giving me a sense of privacy and respect when personal stuff was brought up.

Thank you for looking me in the eye and asking me how I was feeling. Thank you for caring about me as a person. Thank you for talking to my baby when you did palpitations. Thank you for treating my baby like a person, not a statistic.

Thank you for being on call and coming to my birth, even when you had gotten home from a previous birth only a few hours before. Thank you for being encouraging and not treating me like a spectacle. Thank you for checking up on my baby and me regularly throughout labor. Thank you for suggesting I rest, shower, walk. Thank you for nodding and telling me I could do whatever I needed to do, for keeping things calm and cool.

Thank you for remembering my birth preferences. Thank you for bringing them up even when I forgot about them. Thank you telling me I could push however I wanted. Thank you for guiding me when I didn’t know what I was doing anymore. Thank you for trusting my husband with catching my baby.

Thank you for never mentioning the words “transfer” or “c-section” when I pushed for three hours with no crowning in site. Thank you for cheering me on when I finally started getting my son to come down a bit. Thank you for believing that I actually was going to have this baby vaginally and safely at home.

Thank you for tearing up and telling me my son was beautiful when he was born. Thank you for caring about this little person, for having my birth mean something to you. Thank you for putting him right on my chest and reminding me to talk to him. Thank you for doing everything you needed to do while I snuggled with my new baby- for waiting to weigh him, for not rushing me to take a shower so you could get on with it and get home, already.

Thank you for always speaking gently to my son and for explaining procedures even to him when it came time for newborn screening. Thank you for encouraging and affirming us in our parenting efforts. Thank you for never shooing me out of the office when I was in the middle of breastfeeding the baby and my visit time was up. Thank you for staying in touch and maintaining a relationship with your clients.

Thank you for continuing to do what you do: giving women the respect, information, and love they need, and allowing them to birth gently and with dignity. Your service to the birthing community as a whole is absolutely priceless.

Sincerely,

One Grateful Mama

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Saturday Morning Quote: Join the Minority

“Examine your own views toward the medical caregivers you have dealt with in your life- not just OBs. Korte and Scaer [authors of A Good Birth, A Safe Birth] classify medical consumers by the amount of control they hand over to their caregivers.

  • On one end of the spectrum are patients who totally relinquish responsibility for decisions about their bodies to the medical authority. A group of consumers closely related to the relinquishers are those who want to know what’s going on but still don’t want to make the decisions. Most consumers of medical care in North America lean towards these two views.
  • On the opposite end of the spectrum, a very few consumers opt out of the current sytem altogether, using self-perscribed regimens for healing, without ever consulting a mainstream medical practitioner.
  • A small minority of consumers are somewhere in the middle. They enter into a partnership with their caregiver or view the relationship as one of professional and client, as opposed to patient. These people want to have an active voice in their health care, They view their physician as an advisor who has expertise they can integrate into a plan for health. Join this minority.”

Natural Childbirth After Cesarean, Karis Crawford, PhD, & Johanne C. Walters, BSN, RN.

Who’s Invited to Your Birth-Day Party?

Who will you invite into the labor and delivery room (or birth center, or home) with you on the big day?

Many women want their partner to join them for birth. Some want their own mothers, or perhaps a sister or close friend. Others may desire a doula, and a few hope their entire family can make it (children included). There are a few things you should consider, though, when deciding who you will invite.

Are you comfortable with this person?

By, “are you comfortable,” I don’t mean whether or not you can easily sit down and have conversation over tea. You have to be able to be really, truly, completely open and relaxed with whoever you will have at your birth. Remember, you will be at least partially nude, possibly throwing up and/or relieving yourself, moving in strange ways, making new sounds, stretched to your physical limits, and emotionally vulnerable. You will be baring your body and your soul at your birth, so make sure you’re ready to do that with whatever company you choose.

Are they helpful?

Will the people at your birth be willing to help out with whatever you need? Your guests should be happy to volunteer to do things like occupying your other children, preparing cold washcloths, helping you move around to different positions, or even just holding your hand. Whetever it is you need, you want to be able to depend on who you’ve brought with you to help. Sometimes nurses or midwives can offer some aid, but they are often busy tending to the medical side of things (which is also needed!).

Do they make you nervous?

This is the absolute LAST thing you want- to have someone there fretting over every contraction, getting more and more worried as you go. You don’t need someone being afraid for you! If your mom or sister or best friend is going to be chewing her nails and telling you every horror story she ever heard, you may not want her company on labor day. Additionally, while it is good to be prepared for a change of plans or an emergency, it usually isn’t helpful to be dreading every possible “what if” of labor. It is possible that the anxiety created by all this worrying develops enough physical tension to make some of your fears (stalled labor, extreme pain, etc.) become self-fulfilling prophecies. Make sure your guests are committed to focusing on the positive and what is going well, rather than on what might possibly go wrong.

Will they help to create a relaxing environment?

You want the least nerve-wracking environment you can have. The more you can relax, the better you will be able to focus and deal with each contraction as it comes. Even if you’re planning on medication, it’s still much better to feel soothed than it is to be nervous about the next stage of labor. One of the things I really appreciated about my midwife was that she stayed in the background, very calm and collected. She checked the baby and I as she needed to, but maintained a sense of being at ease as she did so. Whatever makes you feel most relaxed (soft music, silence, gentle conversation, a nice back rub, etc.), make sure that your guests are willing to contribute to whatever you need at the time.

Will they be supportive of your wishes?

If you’ve made up your mind that you will want some medication once you are in active labor, then you may not want someone there who will pressure you and push you to refuse any drugs. If you want a natural childbirth, then don’t invite someone who’s going to constantly insist, “Why don’t you just get the epidural? Don’t be a martyr!” If you want to avoid Pitocin unless medically necessary, then ask one of your guests to support you in your choice to avoid it so that you don’t cave under pressure. If you’re planning a homebirth, you may not want to invite someone who is against homebirth to your labor and delivery, as their disapproval will certainly permeate the environment. Conversely, if you’re planning a hospital birth, you may not want to invite someone who is extremely anti-hosptial.

Will they be supportive of you?

Most importantly, will the people you invite support you, specifically, in every way they can? Sometimes all you need to make it through is someone telling you that you’re doing great, not to give up, and to keep going. You should feel loved, respected, and encouraged during each stage of your labor and delivery, no matter what your childbirth choices are. Make sure that the people attending your birth will strive to guard your dignity, lavish you with confidence and reassurance, and always be of great strength and comfort to you.

Hopefully these ideas were helpful to you in creating your guest list!