I read a humbling and beautiful blog post the other day and had to share it. I think I need not expand on it any more, except to say that I need to remember myself to be grateful for the blessings I have and sensitive to those who struggle. Please read, enjoy, and share.
Archive for the ‘Birth Complications’ Category
I recently heard one of these statements myself: “If I were at home, my baby wouldn’t have made it.” While tragic outcomes can happen in any location, it is important to remember that one cannot extrapolate hospital events to home birth situations, nor home to hospital. The environments and practices of caregivers are far too different to make a judgement call as to whether or not you and your baby would have survived elsewhere.
I find that one of the most difficult challenges as a doula is knowing when to dispel the myriad of birth myths floating around, and when to quietly listen to a mother’s story without speaking up. There is a time and place for everything, and I am working on knowing the right times for each role. Any suggestions, anyone? Please read the whole post over at erinmidwife.com
A midwife in North Carolina was recently charged with practicing midwifery without a license because her state does not offer licensure for Certified Professional Midwives (CPMs) and other direct entry midwives. There was some local news coverage of the arrest and the ongoing efforts of North Carolina families to legalize CPMs. One of the local news stories included a mother’s birth story from the “If I were at home, I would have died” perspective.
When I hear statements like this I cringe on the inside. Being a midwife, I hear it a lot. Women love to talk about their birth stories, as they should; Storytelling is a natural and beautiful part of our collective journey as women and mothers. In the park, at mom’s groups, among new friends, anywhere women gather there are stories of births and babies being told. When I hear a story being told from the “I…
View original post 858 more words
Dearest little girl,
I was so excited when your mommy told me she was pregnant with you. I thought: a friend for my son! They’ll be a year apart- how perfect! I eagerly tracked your mother’s pregnancy and talked with her often about her plans for you.
One day, unexpectedly, Mommy had to go to the hospital. You were trying to join her earlier than was healthy for you. The doctors tried to keep you inside and help you to grow a little bit longer. They succeeded, but Mommy and Daddy had to play the waiting game for a while, never knowing whether you were staying or coming, never knowing quite how big you were, or whether or not you would breathe on your own when you came.
After a while of waiting, you made the announcement: you were coming, ready or not, about 3 months too early. Mommy labored with you slowly, thinking about your future and the special care you would need after you arrived. During labor, some serious complications that arose required a cesarean delivery to ensure your safety.
I heard that it all went very fast, and before Mommy and Daddy knew it you were out of the womb and into the NICU. But I heard good news- your eyes were OPEN, and you were crying lustily as you were born! Praise God! Just a few short hours later, your parents got to meet you, touch you, talk to you, admire you…
Little girl, you are so strong. May God strengthen your lungs and your heart and help you to grow ounce by ounce. May He give your mother peace, healing, and plenty of rest, so that she may care for you soon. May He grant courage and steadfastness to your father, so that he may have the energy he needs to watch over both you and your mother. May He renew your parents’ faith and sustain them through this challenging trial.
Grow, baby, grow. We all love you fiercely, but probably none so dearly as your parents. They have sacrificed so much on your behalf. Never forget how much they care for you- that they would gladly give all so that you might live. I hope you can come home soon so I can officially meet you, sweet child. You are beautiful beyond words, and I am so happy for your safe arrival.
Much love to you, little girl.
What if, what if, what if… The fact of the matter is that all those “what if’s” are a lot less likely to happen in a low-risk, unmedicated, physiologic, well-supported, calm birth. I would like to argue that, in many cases, having a homebirth with qualified midwives and the proper precautions (or a hospital birth where they treat you pretty much like a homebirth midwife would) is good preventative medicine against all of those “what if’s.”
(Disclaimer: I am well aware that not all hospitals are pushy, and there are many that are making huge improvements in providing evidence-based care. However, there are far too many out there that are still sorely lacking. It is these hospitals against which I hold complaint, not every single one. Also, I am quite aware that there are sometimes medical reasons for some of the interventions I list below. I am not against them as a whole. I only protest those which are done routinely or for unacceptable reasons. If the mother or baby need them for a medically indicated reason, by all means, they should be used.) That being said…
What if your labor stalls? Labor is much less likely to stall if the mom is comfortable in her environment and has freedom of movement to keep her baby coming down.
Having no epidural also keeps labor moving (epidurals often slow labor down) and sudden drops in blood pressure are much less likely. Mom will also probably feel much better after the birth since she won’t have any residual side effects from the drugs.
No narcotics for pain? Well, I suppose that means the baby will have less of a chance of abnormal heart rates and will be more alert to nurse after the birth.
No Pitocin to speed labor up? Baby will be less likely to suffer fetal distress since he won’t be subjected to the long, hard contractions caused by Pit.
What if you need a cesarean? Without all of these interventions causing complications, your chance of needing a c-section are greatly lowered.
What if the baby goes into distress? A watchful midwife at home will most likely catch problems in the early stages since she is only focusing on one patient-probably earlier than one nurse monitoring several patients in the hospital.
The list goes on and on…
Am I off my rocker? Please let me know if I am. It’s just that I’ve heard so many people who are concerned about the possible complications at a homebirth, but they don’t realize that those complications are FAR less likely if you are having an umedicated, physiologic, and carefully watched birth.
I obviously know that there CAN still be complications in any birth setting, some of them quite serious. For me the determining questions were:
1) In which birth setting would this complicatication be more likely to occur in the first place?
2) Where would the complication be caught faster?
3) Could they do anything in the hospital to change this that they couldn’t at home?
I think the answers to these three questions will be different depending on your individual care provider and birth setting. There is only one hospital to birth at in my area, and after much research I determined that home was the safest place for me to have my baby. I will let my readers decide for themselves, however, which location is safer based on their individual maternity care options. Please share your experiences- I would love to hear them.
Ever since the delivery of her first baby two and a half months ago, my sister-in-law Michelle has been having problens with her hips. She just went to her first physical therapy appointment a couple of days ago to address the problem. It turns out that her therapist was also a labor doula, and was able to give her helpful exercises as well as information as to why her hips were acting up.
As the baby moves down the birth canal, normally the tailbone can move out of the way to help him to come through. However, the tailbone cannot move as easily when the mother is laying on her back. It is for this reason that one of Michelle’s hips has literally been twisted out of the way to make room for her baby’s passage. Her pubic bone also suffered a crack during pushing, due to the lack of space provided for the baby in the lithotomy position. She is now doing daily exercises to help correct these problems.
Michelle also had an episiotomy, possibly made more likely by laying down to deliver. Her therapist told her that since she has had one, it will be difficult to find a doctor who won’t want to give her another in the future. Also, the cut will make natural tears more likely during subsequent deliveries.
Neither Michelle nor I knew that there could have been such lasting consequences from birthing in the lithotomy position. There’s a few more reasons to get upright, moms!
(Story shared with permission.)