Home Birth Mama

Home birth news, advise, opinions and discussions from an experienced home birth mama

My Photo
Name:
Location: United States

Friday, July 14, 2006

NEW BLOG! Visit our new home!

Please visit me at my new blog home http://childbirth-mama.com/blog.

Wednesday, July 12, 2006

Nelly Fertado and other celebrities that home birth

Nelly Furtado was recently asked what she considers herself, to which she replied, "Hippie! I had a homebirth with midwives."

Some other celebrities that are homebirthers, just for trivia's sake!

Sherilyn Fenn

Val and Joanne Whaley-Kilmer

Woody Harrellson and wife/girlfriend

Mare Winningham

Michael Landon and wife

Carole King

Ricki Lake

Stephen & Tabitha King

Lucy Lawless (Xena)

Pamela Anderson (twice! waterbirths! who knew??)

Kenny Loggins & his wife (unplanned unassisted, ooops!)

Cindy Crawford

John Leguiziamo & his wife

Thandie Newton (actress)

Lisa Bonet

Erykah Badu

Julianne Moore

Kelly Preson & John Travolta

Meryl Streep

Demi Moore

Richard Thomas (JohnBoy from the Waltons) & his partner

Bobby McFerrin (and his partner)

technorati tags:, ,

Happy 50th Birthday to La Leche League!

HAPPY BIRTHDAY LA LECHE LEAGUE!!!!

50 MORE EXCELLENT YEARS TO COME!!!! ~~~++++~~~


La Leche celebrates 50th

By Jenn Smith, Berkshire Eagle Staff

DALTON — Breastfeeding. Say it. Breastfeeding. One more time: breastfeeding.

Though it's a lifestyle that some people may blush or boo at, it's something that the members and groups of La Leche League International have been practicing and promoting now for 50 years.

The mothers of the La Leche (pronounced lay-chay) League of Berkshire County gathered last evening with their friends and families in Pine Grove Park to share potluck sandwiches and snacks in celebration of their shared experience of being mothers who chose to breastfeed their children.

They also shared their personal stories about how they came to La Leche and how it has been helping women all over the county and the world.

"It's a way of living, of parenting. It's a way to try to meet up with like minded people," said Diana Molina of Ludlow. She is the district assistant for the La Leche groups in Western Massachusetts.

"(Breastfeeding) is not just nursing, it's a different way of mothering," said Bernadette Kozik of Adams.

"La Leche" is a Spanish term meaning "the milk." In 1956, seven breastfeeding mothers of Franklin Park, Ill., formed the international, nonprofit, nonsecretarian organization as a way to preserve and protect a natural practice that threatened to go out of style upon the commercial distribution of artificial baby formula.

The organization now has more than 3,000 groups in 66 countries.

The Berkshire league has been around since 1967, according to Eagle archives. It is now under the direction of Valerie Hall of Williamstown and Judy Dorr of Pittsfield. There is also a South Berkshire league based out of Great Barrington organized by Janet Elsbach and Kim Kaufman.

All are experienced in breastfeeding and trained in lactation counseling, and all are on call 24 hours a day to answer questions and offer support.

"When they say you can call them in the middle of the night, they mean it," said Nancy Tarjick of Pittsfield, who has been a member for 15 years.

She said that she would look forward to La Leche meetings as a night out. "It's a place for new mothers to learn from experienced mothers and it gives them a chance to release on other things to." And La Leche is not just for moms.

"It's good for expecting dads too. The first couple of days (after childbirth) can be rough for the both of you. It's nice to know a little of what to expect," said Allen Hall, Valerie's husband.

Though there are many arguments for breastfeeding, from health benefits and mother-child bonding to having a ready supply in emergency situations. But La Leche's members seemed to acknowledge that ultimately it is an individual's choice.

In the meantime, they said it is the organization's goal to provide the best information and support for its mothers who choose to breastfeed.

"(Nursing) can be an isolating time for mothers. It isn't a cultural norm here," said Dorr.

Molina said La Leche's future is about connecting more women and creating more awareness. "It's about changing the culture of society," she said.

Berkshire Eagle Online - La Leche celebrates 50th

technorati tags:,

Nurse/Lawyer Promoting Homebirth? YES!

This is a short, but very "to the point" article. I liked it because it's PRO home birth and written by a woman with degrees in NURSING and LAW of all things!! ha ha!! :-)


Midwives: Your Best Bet!
By Yvonne Lapp Cryns

History

In 1900 half of all Americans were born into the hands of a midwife, at home. Early studies comparing the birth outcomes of physicians versus midwives showed that midwives had fewer maternal and infant loses than the doctors. The United States had a very high percentage of maternal deaths compared to other countries.

Reports done by the White House Conference on Child Health and Protection, the national Committee on the Costs of Medical Care, and the New York Academy of Medicine in the 1930's all concluded that midwives were safer than physicians. These reports chastised doctors for their frequency of interventions which led to problems. Many physicians, in response to the findings of the reports, placed the blame on the midwives claiming that midwives were "ignorant", "dirty", untrained and a threat to the safety of childbearing women. Medical journals and popular magazines contained many articles bashing midwives and blaming them for the nations appalling maternal mortality and infant mortality rates. Many physicians and public health advocates spoke up for the midwives and their excellent statistics, but the prestige of the anti-midwife physicians and the strong push to move births into the hospitals far over-shadowed their voices. This barrage of anti-midwife articles and propaganda continues today despite the lack of any studies or statistics to prove claims that physicians guarantee the safest outcomes or healthier babies or mothers.

What do the Statistics Show?

Every valid study to date has shown that midwife-attended birth is at least as safe as physician-attended birth. Additionally, those who have a midwife-attended birth can expect to have fewer interventions of all kinds. In the early 1970's only 0.5% of all births were attended by midwives, but in 1980 this grew to 2.1% and in 1990 to 3.9%*. Infant mortality, IM, is one criteria for assessing safety of births. The most general use of the term includes infant deaths from birth to the first birthday. 1990 statistics from the Center for Disease Control show that Direct Entry Midwives had the lowest IM, half that of M.D.'s.

Click on this link to see the stats chart on my website:

http://www.midwives.net/hsh/your_best_bet.html

* Undoubtedly the number of births attended by midwives of all kinds is higher. In some states, nurse-midwives mainly work as employees under physicians and the insurance companies pay more for a physician attended birth. In order to receive the largest monetary compensation for births, and because the midwife is "under physician supervision" by law, the birth certificate is completed as through the doctor were attending, even if this was not the case. Additionally, in states where Direct Entry Midwives are not licensed or Direct Entry Midwifery is prohibited, many births either go unreported or are reported as unattended or the category of midwife is absent from the birth certificate. Statistics from Center for Disease Control, US Birth Cohort of 1990, Table 43, May 18, 1995.

Yvonne Cryns has degrees in nursing and law. She is the co-founder of Nursing Programs Online.com - http://www.nursingprogramsonline.com,and Midwives.net - http://www.midwives.net

Yvonne also produced a video about midwives: http://www.compleatmother.com/video2.htm Yvonne is a nationally-credentialed CPM, a professional homebirth midwife.

Article Source: http://EzineArticles.com/?expert=Yvonne_Lapp_Cryns

Midwives: Your Best Bet!

technorati tags:, ,

Home Birth is Dangerous?

I wish I didn't ever read some stuff. On another blog tonight I read the a post that included the statement: "Childbirth is inherently dangerous to baby and mother. If you have a healthy baby, it is often because of the medical technology available and the judgment of the obstetrician."

This is a gross overstatment on so many levels. It assumes that more often than not, "medical technology" and "the judgements of the obstetrician" are the reasons for "a healthy baby."

Childbirth obviously does create the possiblity of danger, and that risk goes up when mothers are at risk, either through their lifestyle choices or inherent health factors. Very occasionally through unforseen and unpreventable factors, but this is the vast minority of bad outcomes.

Notithstanding, let's consider these numbers. The current c-section rate hovers at 30% plus. This is mostly "medically necessary" c-sections. Inferring that if they were not performed, mom and/or baby would die or have lasting damage.

Prior to the move of birth into the hospital, this would mean that 20-30% of ALL births had a death and/or lasting negative outcome for the mom and/or the baby. That is not the case. Period.

And those numbers are not "predictive" or "theoretical." They are based past and concrete occurances.

My maternal grandmother gave birth to all 6 of her children at home. She was in a rural area, and all the women had attended home births, except in very rare and drastic circumstances. My grandmother is 86 and still spunky. Many, yes, many, of her friends are still alive, having outlived their husbands. (Who never had to endure the rigors of childbirth, by the way.)

In her community of women, most all of whom had 4+ births, many who had over 5 or 6 children or more, and who had children up into their 40s (no birth control), all survived.

Let's do some math.

I honestly don't know how many there were, but let's pick a low number: fifty.

50 women having an average of 4 babies equals 200 births. All born at home, attended by the local doctor (who delivered my uncle, who was breech, while drunk) or a local midwife. And their supportive friends. They were all fine. Their babies fine. They were all poor. And rural. But somehow all survived, with NO c-sections.

Today, out of those 200 births, 60 to 80 would have been c-sections. (30-40% of the 50 first time births, with all subseqent births of those 15-20 women having c-sections.)

But, there in reality there were none. And no mortality or morbity either.

Granted, bad outcomes did happen back then.

Just not to the extent we're now led to believe.

Do the math.

technorati tags:,

Monday, July 10, 2006

Wow, I can't actually believe the good press for natural childbirth!

OK, so it's not directly about home birth, but I know that as a fellow home birther or home birth supporter, you'd enjoy this news story. It's very encouraging to see this kind of coverage given, and just to see the comment the *doctor* makes at the end is worth the time you'll spend reading...

Kimball Medical Center emphasis natural birth

Home News Tribune Online 07/10/06

By RICHARD QUINNGANNETT NEW JERSEY

LAKEWOOD — Sumayyah Simone stood in the back of the room, away from the podium, the speakers and the spotlight.

But Simone and pregnant women like her were the reason everyone gathered.

Simone, due to give birth to her second child next month, was the impetus last month for a gaggle of doctors, nurses and midwives to pack themselves into a hallway in Kimball Medical Center's maternity ward and accept an award for good maternity practices.

All because women like Simone wants a natural birth.

"There's a trust relationship which I think is really important with a caretaker," said Simone, a 37-year-old Plainfield woman who has a Lakewood doctor for her pregnancy. "When you're in a hospital, you need to trust your doctor."

And when a natural birth is needed or wanted, Kimball Medical Center is among the hospitals of choice.

According to a review of recent state health statistics, the rate of Caesarean-section births at Kimball is the lowest in New Jersey and nearly half the state average.

The low rates are a combination of factors, including the large Orthodox Jewish population, which prefers natural birthing, and the hospital's commitment to midwifery, a skilled craft that traditionally reduces the rate of C-sections.

Doctors at the hospital noted that Caesarean birth delivery of a baby by means of an incision in the abdomen and then uterus is a necessary tool for some women with pregnancy complications. However, they encouraged natural births whenever possible and advocated against the use of C-sections as a common procedure.

"That first single Caesarean is not a risky procedure," said Dr. Eric Lehnes, chairman of Kimball's obstetrics and gynecology department. "But it increases the woman's risk for every pregnancy after that.

"The heightened risks for second pregnancies include problems with the placenta, damage to organs and trouble with scar tissue.Kimball's low C-section rates — 17.8 percent of the births in 2004, compared to 35.4 percent statewide — drew the attention of state officials.

Gov. Jon S. Corzine declared April 2006 as Caesarean Awareness Month in New Jersey, a watershed moment of which natural birthing advocates took advantage. The International Cesarean Awareness Network and Doulas of New Jersey developed the Doris Haire Award Recognizing Excellence to recognize Garden State hospitals reducing the number of Caesarean births.

Haire is the founder of the American Foundation for Maternal and Child Health and a leading face in the push to reduce Caesareans. Kimball got the first award in her name.

"I hope the rest of the country catches the spirit of what you have done here," Stacey Gregg of the Cesarean Awareness Network's Morris chapter said at the awards ceremony last month. "We need to make it happen. And you're the ones who are going to lead the way."

Gregg's group fervently preaches the benefits of natural birth and the dangers associated with Caesarean births.

Dr. Bruce Feinberg is one of those who listens. An obstetrician/gynecologist on Kimball's staff, Feinberg works with women, many from the Orthodox Jewish community, who want natural births.

He said the hospital's low C-section rate is attributable to the team approach taken to pregnancy. Midwives, doctors, nurses and prenatal specialists all work together to preserve the opportunity for a natural birth for as long as possible.

Feinberg compares the process to a team of chefs working on the best way to cook a dish.

"Labor is not necessarily laying in bed, get your epidural (anesthesia), huff and puff a few times and then the baby comes," Feinberg said. "It's a dynamic process. You really need someone who knows how to cook."

Kimball Medical Center emphasis natural birth | Home News Tribune Online

technorati tags:, ,

Childbirth for Busy Couples?

I saw this listing on Cincinnati.com about an upcoming childbirth class.

Here's the Ad:

Childbirth for Busy Couples, 8:30 a.m.-5 p.m., St. Luke Hospital East, 85 Grand Ave., Fort Thomas. $80 per couple. Registration required. 859-572-1199.The Enquirer - Health events

Our local hospitals offer these one day classes too, and make them seem like the perfect way to prepare for birth. What crap! One Day?? People take more care in buying a car! People watch hours of TV or spend tons of time surfing the net daily, but can't take more than a day out to prepare for the birth of their child?

It just blows my mind! Certainly not the mentality of a home birth mama, huh?? ;-)

technorati tags:,

Childbirth for Busy Couples?

I saw this listing on Cincinnati.com about an upcoming childbirth class.

Here's the Ad:

Childbirth for Busy Couples, 8:30 a.m.-5 p.m., St. Luke Hospital East, 85 Grand Ave., Fort Thomas. $80 per couple. Registration required. 859-572-1199.The Enquirer - Health events

Our local hospitals offer these one day classes too, and make them seem like the perfect way to prepare for birth. What crap! One Day?? People take more care in buying a car! People watch hours of TV or spend tons of time surfing the net daily, but can't take more than a day out to prepare for the birth of their child?

It just blows my mind! Certainly not the mentality of a home birth mama, huh?? ;-)

Sunday, July 09, 2006

C-sections, labor prep and expections...

Wow, there's so much here to talk about... I'll be blogging about parts of this for a few blogs. This first one is just a reprint of the article...

The C-section conundrum: Caution advised for popular procedure

By Dorsey Griffith -- Bee Medical Writer

Elizabeth Avery-Hammond did her homework. She read books, talked to lots of moms and attended 18 hours of "Ready, Set, Deliver!" classes to prepare for childbirth at Sutter Memorial Hospital.

"I was really hoping for a natural, no-medication, short birth," Avery-Hammond said. "I'm a naturalist at heart, and really wanted to experience the whole thing."

But the first-time Sacramento mother would go on to endure marathon labor in a hospital involving a cascade of medical interventions and ending in the operating room with a Caesarean-section delivery.

Click here for more...The 32-year-old is one of a growing number of women who have C-sections, a surgery that requires a 4- to 6-inch abdominal incision and, on top of an already draining postpartum period, several weeks of recovery.

The C-section rate in the United States has increased more than 40 percent since 1996 and has never been higher than it is today, representing more than 29 percent of births, according to the National Center for Health Statistics.

That's almost double the rate -- at least for low-risk pregnancies -- that the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services had set as a national goal for 2010.Despite arguments that C-sections are easier on babies and result in fewer pelvic problems for women later in life, most experts agree that surgery generally increases complication risks for mother and baby.

The higher surgery rates have many doctors and hospitals re- examining their approaches to managing one of life's most fundamental processes: childbirth.

C-sections occur for many reasons, said Dr. Robert Azevedo, who oversees obstetrics and gynecology at two Kaiser Permanente hospitals in the Sacramento region.

He said women are postponing childbirth until they are older or using reproductive technologies that increase their chances of having more than one baby -- and thus of having a C-section delivery.

"Obesity is a risk factor, as well," Azevedo said. "Obese women have bigger babies, are at higher risk for diabetes and that can be an indication for a C-section.

"In addition, fewer women who had C-sections for their first pregnancies are opting for vaginal births for their subsequent deliveries. Vaginal birth after Caesareans poses a small risk of uterine rupture.

Finally, more women are electing C-sections because they don't want to suffer active labor and natural delivery or because they want to the eliminate guesswork involved in delivery time.

But what about mothers such as Avery-Hammond, who prepared for an old-fashioned delivery, but whose uncomplicated first pregnancy wound up in a C-section anyway?

Dr. Elliott Main, chief of obstetrics and gynecology at California Pacific Medical Center in San Francisco, explored the phenomenon. He reviewed 41,000 births among first-time mothers at 20 Sutter hospitals in California between 2001 and 2003. All of the subjects studied were pregnant with a single baby in a headfirst position at the time of delivery.

Main found a range of C-section rates at the different hospitals, from 10 percent to 30 percent of all births. And, contrary to what some might suspect, he determined that infants born vaginally fared no worse than those born surgically.

After examining the data, Main found a direct correlation between high C-section rates and women choosing to have labor induced -- as well as of women admitted to the hospital at very early stages of labor (less than 3 centimeters dilated).

"What appears to be going on is that there are a number of practices that women and obstetricians are doing that lead to poor labor progress and the development of a reason to do a C-section," said Main.Main said hospitals with high induction rates or early labor admissions have C-section rates 50 percent to 100 percent higher than hospitals with low induction and early labor admission rates.

Avery-Hammond's complicated childbirth began when her pregnancy stretched into its 41st week. "I was huge, uncomfortable, swollen," she said. "I couldn't sleep. All I could do is lay on the couch."

Her parents, who live in Modesto, hoped to be with her for the birth, she added, and she wanted to be sure that her husband could arrange time off from his job as a schoolteacher.

"I liked the idea of knowing," she said. "To have control over it. I was afraid of the unknown."Although there is no firm guideline on when to induce labor, doctors generally agree that pregnancies should not go on longer than 42 weeks, and that induction is a reasonable approach if labor hasn't started by the end of the 41st week.

So, with the blessing of her doctor, Avery-Hammond scheduled an induction at 7:30 a.m. Jan. 27, exactly seven days after her due date. While she hoped for a quick and efficient childbirth, she knew deep down that the induction drug, Pitocin, could promote a more painful experience and maybe even a C-section.

In cases where the woman has high blood pressure or diabetes, or the fetus has stopped growing, inductions may be medically necessary, said Dr. William Gilbert, Sutter Health's medical director for women's services."But your chance of a C-section is two times higher (for first-time moms) and you have a higher chance of complications" if induced, he said.

Main explained that induction adds up to "artificial or forced labor" in which the uterine muscle may not contract in an organized way, making it harder for labor to progress.

Avery-Hammond's cervix was dilated 1 centimeter when she arrived at the hospital, and she was put on Pitocin. She was fine until 10 that night, when the contractions were coming at a rapid-fire pace.

But after 34 hours of labor, at 4 p.m. Saturday, the doctor suggested a C-section. Avery-Hammond agreed. Ivy Hammond was born at 5:12 p.m. She weighed 8 pounds, 15 ounces, and was 20 inches long."Things happen when you are admitted to the hospital," said Main, whose study appeared in this month's American Journal of Obstetrics and Gynecology. "You want to be there when you are in active labor, but you want to be at home ... where you can walk ... if you're not."

Regina Nelson, 27, hired a "doula" to help with her first birth experience. Doulas are specially trained to support women in labor, but unlike certified nurse midwives, they are not credentialed to deliver babies.

Nelson called upon her doula only after she had labored for six hours and her own relaxation techniques were failing to help her cope with pain.

"If I hadn't had her, I would have told my husband, 'OK, let's go to the hospital' after six hours," Nelson said. "She helped me to trust the process and my body."Nelson labored another six hours at home. After she was admitted to Sutter Davis Hospital, she delivered her son, Isaiah, five hours later.

Dr. Bruce Flamm, an obstetrician-gynecologist at Kaiser Permanente in Riverside, said while Main's study doesn't settle the debate over C-section rates, it does offer guidance on how to reduce the number of unnecessary ones.

"Be cautious with inductions, because they have a tendency to fail," Flamm said. "And we ought to be careful about admitting patients to labor and delivery if they are not really in labor."

Metro/Regional News - The C-section conundrum - sacbee.com

technorati tags:, , ,

C-sections, labor prep and expections...

Wow, there's so much here to talk about... I'll be blogging about parts of this for a few blogs. This first one is just a reprint of the article...

The C-section conundrum: Caution advised for popular procedure

By Dorsey Griffith -- Bee Medical Writer

Elizabeth Avery-Hammond did her homework. She read books, talked to lots of moms and attended 18 hours of "Ready, Set, Deliver!" classes to prepare for childbirth at Sutter Memorial Hospital.

"I was really hoping for a natural, no-medication, short birth," Avery-Hammond said. "I'm a naturalist at heart, and really wanted to experience the whole thing."

But the first-time Sacramento mother would go on to endure marathon labor in a hospital involving a cascade of medical interventions and ending in the operating room with a Caesarean-section delivery.

Click here for more...The 32-year-old is one of a growing number of women who have C-sections, a surgery that requires a 4- to 6-inch abdominal incision and, on top of an already draining postpartum period, several weeks of recovery.

The C-section rate in the United States has increased more than 40 percent since 1996 and has never been higher than it is today, representing more than 29 percent of births, according to the National Center for Health Statistics.

That's almost double the rate -- at least for low-risk pregnancies -- that the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services had set as a national goal for 2010.Despite arguments that C-sections are easier on babies and result in fewer pelvic problems for women later in life, most experts agree that surgery generally increases complication risks for mother and baby.

The higher surgery rates have many doctors and hospitals re- examining their approaches to managing one of life's most fundamental processes: childbirth.

C-sections occur for many reasons, said Dr. Robert Azevedo, who oversees obstetrics and gynecology at two Kaiser Permanente hospitals in the Sacramento region.

He said women are postponing childbirth until they are older or using reproductive technologies that increase their chances of having more than one baby -- and thus of having a C-section delivery.

"Obesity is a risk factor, as well," Azevedo said. "Obese women have bigger babies, are at higher risk for diabetes and that can be an indication for a C-section.

"In addition, fewer women who had C-sections for their first pregnancies are opting for vaginal births for their subsequent deliveries. Vaginal birth after Caesareans poses a small risk of uterine rupture.

Finally, more women are electing C-sections because they don't want to suffer active labor and natural delivery or because they want to the eliminate guesswork involved in delivery time.

But what about mothers such as Avery-Hammond, who prepared for an old-fashioned delivery, but whose uncomplicated first pregnancy wound up in a C-section anyway?

Dr. Elliott Main, chief of obstetrics and gynecology at California Pacific Medical Center in San Francisco, explored the phenomenon. He reviewed 41,000 births among first-time mothers at 20 Sutter hospitals in California between 2001 and 2003. All of the subjects studied were pregnant with a single baby in a headfirst position at the time of delivery.

Main found a range of C-section rates at the different hospitals, from 10 percent to 30 percent of all births. And, contrary to what some might suspect, he determined that infants born vaginally fared no worse than those born surgically.

After examining the data, Main found a direct correlation between high C-section rates and women choosing to have labor induced -- as well as of women admitted to the hospital at very early stages of labor (less than 3 centimeters dilated).

"What appears to be going on is that there are a number of practices that women and obstetricians are doing that lead to poor labor progress and the development of a reason to do a C-section," said Main.Main said hospitals with high induction rates or early labor admissions have C-section rates 50 percent to 100 percent higher than hospitals with low induction and early labor admission rates.

Avery-Hammond's complicated childbirth began when her pregnancy stretched into its 41st week. "I was huge, uncomfortable, swollen," she said. "I couldn't sleep. All I could do is lay on the couch."

Her parents, who live in Modesto, hoped to be with her for the birth, she added, and she wanted to be sure that her husband could arrange time off from his job as a schoolteacher.

"I liked the idea of knowing," she said. "To have control over it. I was afraid of the unknown."Although there is no firm guideline on when to induce labor, doctors generally agree that pregnancies should not go on longer than 42 weeks, and that induction is a reasonable approach if labor hasn't started by the end of the 41st week.

So, with the blessing of her doctor, Avery-Hammond scheduled an induction at 7:30 a.m. Jan. 27, exactly seven days after her due date. While she hoped for a quick and efficient childbirth, she knew deep down that the induction drug, Pitocin, could promote a more painful experience and maybe even a C-section.

In cases where the woman has high blood pressure or diabetes, or the fetus has stopped growing, inductions may be medically necessary, said Dr. William Gilbert, Sutter Health's medical director for women's services."But your chance of a C-section is two times higher (for first-time moms) and you have a higher chance of complications" if induced, he said.

Main explained that induction adds up to "artificial or forced labor" in which the uterine muscle may not contract in an organized way, making it harder for labor to progress.

Avery-Hammond's cervix was dilated 1 centimeter when she arrived at the hospital, and she was put on Pitocin. She was fine until 10 that night, when the contractions were coming at a rapid-fire pace.

But after 34 hours of labor, at 4 p.m. Saturday, the doctor suggested a C-section. Avery-Hammond agreed. Ivy Hammond was born at 5:12 p.m. She weighed 8 pounds, 15 ounces, and was 20 inches long."Things happen when you are admitted to the hospital," said Main, whose study appeared in this month's American Journal of Obstetrics and Gynecology. "You want to be there when you are in active labor, but you want to be at home ... where you can walk ... if you're not."

Regina Nelson, 27, hired a "doula" to help with her first birth experience. Doulas are specially trained to support women in labor, but unlike certified nurse midwives, they are not credentialed to deliver babies.

Nelson called upon her doula only after she had labored for six hours and her own relaxation techniques were failing to help her cope with pain.

"If I hadn't had her, I would have told my husband, 'OK, let's go to the hospital' after six hours," Nelson said. "She helped me to trust the process and my body."Nelson labored another six hours at home. After she was admitted to Sutter Davis Hospital, she delivered her son, Isaiah, five hours later.

Dr. Bruce Flamm, an obstetrician-gynecologist at Kaiser Permanente in Riverside, said while Main's study doesn't settle the debate over C-section rates, it does offer guidance on how to reduce the number of unnecessary ones.

"Be cautious with inductions, because they have a tendency to fail," Flamm said. "And we ought to be careful about admitting patients to labor and delivery if they are not really in labor."

Metro/Regional News - The C-section conundrum - sacbee.com

technorati tags:, , ,

Great News Story about medical insurance and homebirth

This is a GREAT news story! Personally, I know that medical insurance will cover a home birth, since our UnitedHealth coverage reimbursed me for my "out of network" home birth. It was just as simple as it would have been in the hospital. Actually, no, I think it was easier. We did have a CPM, and she helped with the very small form we had to submit, and we got a check!

It's good to mention that our state does not officially recognize CPMs and it's pretty controverial here. But, United was great about it and made it easy! Here's the story from the Alburquereque Tribune:

Midwives an affordable option for many mothers

By Associated Press
June 7, 2006

Instead of a conventional hospital birth, Heidi Teeple and her husband Rod brought baby Logan into the world while soaking together in a free-standing tub of warm water in their living room, with a fire in the fireplace and two midwives at their side.

"It was great," said Heidi Teeple, who lives in San Anselmo, Calif. "It was much more relaxing. There was no anxiety about when to go to the hospital. I called the midwives; they came."

The Teeples are part of a small but growing contingent of people choosing to give birth with midwives, caregivers who view birth as a natural, rather than medical, experience, and one that should be tailored to a mother's needs.

The trend has been slow but steady in coming.

The number of women giving birth with a midwife has doubled since 1990, both in absolute numbers and as a percentage of overall births. According to data from the National Center for Health Statistics for 2003, the most recent year for which data is available, 8 percent of pregnant women in the United States gave birth with a midwife compared with 4 percent in 1990. Births attended by a certified nurse midwife, for example, have risen every year since 1975.

Laws governing midwifery vary from state to state, as does insurance coverage of midwife-assisted births.

Generally, many insurers cover midwife care - provided she is licensed according to state law and works in a hospital or approved birthing center. Not all midwives are certified nurses; those who aren't are sometimes referred to as lay midwives. Insurance coverage is spottier for those midwives who are not certified nurses, or who assist home birth or otherwise work outside the traditional hospital setting.

But choosing a midwife is about more than merely selecting a care provider or deciding between birth at a hospital or home. It represents a paradigm shift in how a woman approaches pregnancy, advocates say. Although certified nurse midwives are licensed to administer medication, they generally encourage a drug-free birth and rely primarily on natural methods of care.

At the core, it's a rejection of the quintessential birth scene: the pregnant woman lying in a single bed, a nurse at the ready with a pain-relieving epidural shot and a hospital room full of people yelling "push!"

Still, with pregnancy and birth having some of the highest costs in medical care, families do need to consider whether a midwife's services will be covered.

WellPoint Inc., the nation's largest health insurer, said its coverage of midwifery varies by locality and health plan.

Aetna Inc. said it contracts with midwives who assist deliveries in hospitals or birthing centers but does not cover planned home births, except in New York and Washington or elsewhere in the world where law mandates coverage. One of the insurer's global plans covered 80 percent of Teeple's pregnancy and birth, Teeple said.

UnitedHealth Group Inc. said it covers both hospital and home births with a licensed midwife. Benefits are generally the same for a woman who chooses a physician and hospital as for a woman who prefers a midwife and home birth.

"If you are a consumer, you need to ask if there are midwives in a given market's network," said spokesman Roger Rollman. "Some have midwives, and some do not."

In some parts of the country, access to midwife care has been hampered by the rising cost of malpractice insurance. In order to curb costs, some obstetric practices have laid off their midwives in order to save on overhead expenses.

Where midwives are available, the cost of a midwife-attended birth varies by place and practitioner.

The Albuquerque Tribune: National

technorati tags:, , ,

Wednesday, July 05, 2006

Following up on the recent c-section post

When I was a natural childbirth educator, I had students who were preparing for natural, vaginal, and sometimes home births after c-sections. They tended to have a lot of emotional trauma about their c-sections and after they achieved their natural births, felt very empowered. It's hard to put into word the difference, so I thought I'd do it with photos. (All photos from flickr.com)

Compare and contrast for baby....


and for mom...

Now ask my why I'm a passionate supporter of homebirth! :-)

Have you seen Dr. Amy's blog? Get ready to get ruffled.

So who is this "Dr. Amy" anyhow? Is she really a doctor at all?

I am inclined to believe she could be a doctor, since her opinions are quite pro-high tech and medical. But she does seem to blog and build websites quite a bit, leaving me to wonder when she has the time to practice medicine. (Maybe while her patients labor on their own with their epidurals?)

I find it interesting that for someone who is so obvioulsy against home birth, she is using the topic and her controversial posts to build traffic to her blog to (undoubtedly) make money from the ads on the site. Very odd for a doctor I think.

OK, so I'm probably not being very nice.

But... it's one thing to simply be against home birth, unfortunately plenty of people are, particularly doctors. It's another to exploit the topic. :-(

If you haven't seen it, and feel the need to raise your blood pressure, check it out at http://homebirthdebate.blogspot.com. Then post a comment here and let me know what you think she's trying to do.

Vaginal Birth after Multiple C-Sections Safe - Good News for Home Birth!

I just found this great report on KaiserNetwork.org. It is great news for vaginal birth, at a time that c-sections numbers are astonishing and horrifying. It's also great news for Natural Childbirthers and Home Birthers.

Vaginal Birth After Multiple C-Sections Safe, Study Says
[Jun 30, 2006]

Women who previously have undergone multiple caesarean sections are no more likely to experience a uterine rupture, a tear in the uterus, during vaginal delivery than women who previously have undergone one c-section, according to a study published in the journal Obstetrics & Gynecology, USA Today reports.

Mark Landon, an ob-gyn professor at Ohio State University, and colleagues studied 17,890 women who previously had c-sections and who between 1999-2002 delivered at one of 19 U.S. medical centers. The study finds that ruptures occurred in 0.9% of women who had undergone multiple c-sections and attempted a vaginal birth and 0.7% of women who had undergone one prior c-section and attempted a vaginal birth.

Researchers found that women who previously had undergone multiple c-sections were more likely to require a blood transfusion or a hysterectomy if they attempted vaginal birth than women who previously had one c-section. Of the women who had undergone multiple c-sections, 3.2% required a blood transfusion and 0.6% required hysterectomy after attempting vaginal birth, according to the study.

Landon said, "I think most practitioners have with time shied away from offering [vaginal birth after c-section delivery] to women with multiple prior [c-sections] because of a perceived risk of uterine rupture," adding that if women who have undergone multiple c-sections do have an increased risk, it is extremely small.

Gary Hankins, chair of the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists' obstetrics practice committee, said that he thinks that ACOG likely will revise its VBAC recommendations for women who previously have undergone multiple c-sections (Rubin, USA Today, 6/30).

Pregnancy & Childbirth | Vaginal Birth After Multiple C-Sections Safe, Study Says - Kaisernetwork.org

technorati tags:, ,

One Midwife's Journey of Education and Certification - What does a midwife know?

I found this wonderful post on a CPM (Certified Professional Midwife) blog. It talks about her journey and training. I think most people have no understanding how LM (Lay Midwives) and CPMs are trained, and therefore they think that they aren't. My midwife was excellent and had more direct training and experience than the OB that caught my son had with BIRTH. Certainly, my midwife couldn't perform surgery and such, but that's not what I needed! But as far a BIRTH, midwives are awesome!! Enjoy...

by Navelgaving Midwife at observantmidwife.blogspot.com.


What Do I Know, Anyway?

The education of LMs and CPMs is often called into question. So, what do we know about pregnancy, birth and postpartum?

Certified Professional Midwives have a fairly rigorous educational process that can be read here. Not all states use the CPM test to certify midwives, but many do, even as they have additional strictures required. California is one of those states. While it does use the NARM exam (North American Registry of Midwives), they also require their own standards above and beyond what NARM requires to sit for the CPM exam.

A note of importance: In California, midwives are licensed by the Medical Board of California - the very same board that licenses physicians. Despite all the rantings and ramblings of others about the professionalism or knowledge LMs and CPMs hold, I can hardly imagine the MBC continuing to license incompetent and unsafe women. I'm sure it can happen, just the same as unsafe doctors have licenses, but the great majority are competent and skilled.

Schooling is rigorous - two examples of curricula can be seen here and here. On top of this, we also precept with a mentor midwife for at least a couple of years. Most of us have doula experience under our belts as well, so have seen more than just lovely homebirths.

Before I became a midwife I'd seen a maternal death by amniotic embolism, babies die from congenital issues, shoulder dystocias, cesareans, and more - all in the hospital. I'd worked for 10 years in hospitals before working towards a midwifery degree. I bounced back and forth between being ready for a midwifery practice and being too scared to take that much responsibility in my hands.

I kept attending hospital and birth center births, taking more and more responsibility as I was able to and entrusted with. Wonderful doctors, nurses and Certified Nurse-Midwives taught me volumes about normal and abnormal birth. I am ever grateful for those that took me under their wings. (Two of my favorite, an OB and a CNM, read my blog, as a matter of fact, and would be amused to hear how ignorant I am considering the level of knowledge I've accumulated in their stead.)

Moving into the birth center setting, I worked with those undernourished migrant women that blinder-wearing doctor believes I have never seen. I've easily attended over 450 births of said migrants and assisted at an amazing array of complications and poverty-driven problems or concerns.

It took a great deal of emotional and spiritual maturity before I could plow forth and finish getting my licenses and practice independently. I'm glad I waited. I've now been working in the birth realm for over 23 years.

Sure, not everyone has as much background as I was privileged to experience. But there are minimum standards for the states that have legalized midwifery. We aren't barefoot illiterate women with dirt under our fingernails carrying black bags with sage and dead chickens inside - oh, and knives to put under the beds to cut the pain. We are educated, mature, skilled and responsible women who cherish our roles and love our clients, their babies and their families more than words can say.

We are not selfishly keeping women from an epidural or having a hospital birth. We are providing an option - a LEGAL option - to women who are disgusted with a system that views birth as a series of medical crisises that must be controlled at every turn.

If we were so dangerous and homebirth was so incredibly dangerous to babies, why would midwifery still be accepted and "allowed" to continue legally?

Some people's view of who we are and what we have accomplished to get where we are is darkened by prejudice and ignorance of their own kind. Where is the open mind? Where is the ability to see something different than what they learned? I could never speak about medical care providers as a group in the derisive tones midwives are often spoken about.

We are individuals - and so should be seen as such.

technorati tags:, , , , ,

Tuesday, July 04, 2006

Wow! Beautiful Home Birth Photo!

You have to see this beautiful homebirth photo! It is AWESOME! Wow.

There's also links to many other home birth pictures there.

http://www.flickr.com/photos/bellabluebell/106564100/

My Home Birth Story!



The Story of Sophia's Birth...

PREFACE

Having gone into labor a week early with Josh, I was hoping for the same this time around. Two and a half weeks before my January 21st due date, I started have spells of contractions and lots of signs that labor might be near. But every morning I woke up... still pregnant... so by the time I got past 39 weeks I had finally accepted the fact that only this baby knew when it'd be born. I say "it" because we'd had no ultrasound and therefore didn't know if the baby was a boy or girl.

On Saturday the 19th, I was just flat miserable and sick to death of being pregnant. Many women experience a burst of energy just prior to labor... I had a burst of angst and misery. It rained like a monsoon and I had taken Josh to the mall where Duane worked at the time to have lunch with him. I got drenched and by the time I got back home, Josh was asleep in the car and I just sat in the car in my driveway complaining to my mom on the cellphone.

That evening after Josh went to bed, Duane went to bed early, and I sat up working at the computer until around 10:30. I shut off the computer and had a late dinner of Cracker Barrell leftovers, brewed a cup of Chamomile tea, and called it an early night at 11:10...

IN THE BEGINNING, THERE WAS WATER

I had just gotten all the pillows right, glanced at the clock on my nightstand - 11:15 - and started to drift off to sleep when I felt the pop. Gush. No doubt that my water had just broken. I jumped up and ran to the bathroom trying my best not to leak all over the place.

Wow. So this was it. I'd soon meet this kid. And get the chance for the homebirth I wanted so much. A do-over for all the crap that I'd had to deal with the first time around with Josh's birth.

I pulled on a Depends and called Debbie, my midwife. No contractions yet, but I knew she'd still be up and wanted to give her a heads up. We chatted for about 20 minutes, and I had two contractions - braxton-hicks really - I talked right through them. She said just give her a call back when I was ready for her to come. After we got off the phone, I called my mom. No telling when things would get going, but I had felt for awhile that I'd have a fast labor, and wanted to make sure that my mom had plenty of notice to get dressed and drive the 60 miles from her house. I decided to not wake Duane, but try to go back to bed and get some sleep before the show got started.

AND THEN THERE WAS PAIN

Around 11:50 I had the first real contraction. Quite strong, enough that I decided to go ahead and start getting stuff ready. Duane was sleeping on the sofa bed as me and my pillows took up the better part of our king size bed. I was taking mental inventory of what would need to be done when another contraction made me realize it was already time to wake Duane.

He got the bed linens that I'd prepared three weeks before and sealed up, and brought them into our room. I started to strip off the linens that were already on the bed, and only got to one corner. Nothing was ready, but I was suddenly useless in the task of preparing the house. I crept into the living room, told him to call our friends to come get Josh, and that he'd have to finish the preparations.

As he made the bed, the phone calls, and started filling the labor pool, I tried every position known to womankind. Nothing was really working... laying down, sitting, hands and knees, swaying... the contractions were close together and felt like stabbing pains deep and in front. I was reminding myself of all the things I teach couples in my Bradley® classes, but couldn't find my groove. I laid down on the couch, and after the next contraction felt terror. This was so different from my labor with Josh! I'd only just gotten started and felt this way? There's no way I can do this.

Huh? Man, I knew I was going to go fast with thoughts like this at 12:30. I told Duane to call Debbie NOW. And call my mom back and tell her to get moving. And call Laura, who was coming to photograph the event. And HURRY for God's sake and get the water in the pool.

At 1 am, our friends came to get Josh to spend the night with them.

ODE TO THE PORCELAIN GOD

Having given up on finding respite in the living room, I moved on the the bathroom. Aaaahhh, the toilet was my new best friend. Sitting there made it bearable. Not good, but bearable. But my foot kept going to sleep and ruining my peace.

Duane finally comes to the door of the bathroom and says that he's got everything done and the pool is filling up. I notice he's wearing his tennis shoes. Not laced. We never wear shoes in the house and he'd not gone outside. I never did figure out why he had his shoes on!

THE CALVARY ARRIVES

My newfound respite had left, and I was struggling again to try and relax. Duane, who had gone through Bradley® classes with me when we had Josh three years ago, seemed to have forgotten everything he learned there, and I was in no shape to reeducate him.

The doorbell rings... Debbie's here. Duane lets her in and come back to the doorway to the bathroom where I was still sitting. She followed him, and I looked up at her and muttered a feeble "help." She told Duane to go over and rub my arms. Oh my! What a difference! OK, I can live through this. He got into it, remembering what he'd learned in Bradley® classes and what we'd been practicing. Still hurt, but I could handle it. We never timed the contractions, but they were close and hard.

MORE WATER, AND WATER IS G-O-O-D!

The pool is ready! Not quite full, not quite as warm as I'd prefer, but enough to get in...
Hallelujah!!!!!!!! I can't even describe how wonderful it felt to sit down in that pool! Duane and Debbie were bringing in boiling water from pots on the stove and microwave to speed the process, and it was chilly enough that I'd shiver ever so often, but even still... WOW! The contractions were definitely doable. But now I wanted my Mommy.

Not hardly five minutes after saying I wished she'd get here already, Mom arrived. It was around 2 am. I think she thought it was pretty funny to get to our homebirth and see water boiling!

Soon, the water heater was ready again, and with the hose back on the pool got nice and perfectly warm quickly. Now I was in heaven. The contractions were still very hard, but spaced out much more. Debbie timed them. Seven minutes apart now, but one and a half to two minutes long.

I remember thinking about my Grandmother, my Mom's mom. She had all six of hers at her home. Thinking about her laboring in her bedroom in her house somehow connected me to all the women across different cultures from the dawn of time who had labored and worked and had their babies just the way I was doing it. I can do it.

OH NO! ANYTHING BUT THAT!

After awhile like that, Debbie told me that although she was glad my contractions were less erratic and I was feeling better, she thought maybe I should get out of the water because she'd like the contractions to get closer together again.

WHAT! I begged and pleaded to stay right where I was. Finally she said OK, I could stay there for a few more minutes, but then I'd have to get out... at least to go pee.

She left the room and my mom and Duane took turns rubbing my head and giving me sports bottles full of sweet tea and water. I tried not to think about having to get out of the pool, and noticed that the contractions seemed closer together now. Easier though. Well, I figured I'd count the contractions until Debbie came back so that I could prove to her they were closer. I'd leave out the part about them getting easier. Hey, I deserved a little break!

At one point, I asked Duane to take the lid off of the trash can that was set up to be the diaper pail. I felt a twinge of nausea every now and then. Hum, I know that's a sign of transition... Nah, this is easier than it just was a few minutes ago.... it must be the chicken friend chicken and biscuits.

ALL GOOD THINGS MUST COME TO AN END

Debbie comes back in and tells me it's time to get out and go to the bathroom. I know I have to get out of the pool, but tell her how many contractions I've had... they're close! I need to get back in after peeing. She said we'll just wait and see.

After the next contraction, Duane and Debbie help me out and Duane walks with me to the bathroom. Whew! I had drank a LOT!

Aaaaaaahhhhhhhhhh..............

WHAM!!!!!!!!!!

Before I knew what was happening, I was bearing down with every ounce of strength in my body! As soon as it was over, I panicked. There's NO WAY I'm ready to push, something's wrong! Another contraction, and the tension in my body makes it unbearable. I screamed loud enough... I'm surprised I didn't wake the neighbors!

Debbie had heard the major grunting with the push and come into the bathroom. I was freaking and saying that something's wrong!! She said "let's just see, probably everything's fine." She checked me (the first and only time during the whole pregnancy and labor) and said she felt head. What?!? WOW, that was EASY! (Boy does your perception change fast!)

"So I can get back in the water now?" was my response.

MEANWHILE, BACK IN THE POOL

I was excited again, and resting up. I got about 20 - 30 minutes of little contractions that I could ignore or grunt through, and took advantage of them to relax and regroup. Wow! Soon we'll meet this kiddo and finally find out if it's a boy or girl!

Soon the pushing urge got overwhelmingly strong and it was back to work. It was hard, and tons of pressure, and I was back to not having too much fun. I didn't think it would ever end. Each contraction everyone would get ready, and then no baby. It felt like forever, and then finally....

HERE'S A HEAD!

Stretch... push... burn... push... head! Oh, my! I could see the finish line!

Vicky, the midwife apprentice commented on how the baby's hair was waving in the water.

I felt the baby moving it's head around... wow! It's body still inside me, and wriggling it's head around!

After a minute or so, I looked at Debbie and since another contraction didn't seem to be coming on, and the baby's head was underwater, she said to try and push anyway. "Oh, yeah, one more good push and we get to see the goodies!" I said, and went to work.

Swish... and there's a baby! A girl! And bliss!

3:31 am - Welcome, Sophia Grace! 8 pounds, 14 ounces, and I did it!

Welcome to Home Birth Mama

I'm excited to start this blog and share my experiences, offer advise and encouragement, and discuss news about home birth.

I had my son and daughter by natural childbirth, my son was born in a hospital with an OBGYN in attendance. My daughter, now 4 years old, was born at home with a CPM (certified professional midwife).

What a difference!! My home birth experience was awesome, and I definately encourage everyone to become educated about home birth and explore this as an option for childbirth.

Please use the comments to share your home birth stories (I'll post mine very soon!), your home birth opinions, and any news or interesting stuff about home birth!