A midwife and "Birthing From Within" mentor, I am passionate about informed decision making and helping moms and partners birth in awareness. My blog chronicles my journey from cesarean to vaginal birth after cesarean and my quest for information to help families have EMPOWERING births.
Hello everyone, please take a moment to sign this petition and preserve the option of professional, certified, apprentice trained midwives, not because I am studying to be one but because the evidence shows that the Portfolio Evaluation Process (PEP), which apprentice trained midwives follow, is safe. Please check out and pass along this new page on the North American Registry of Midwives site, 10 Things You Should Know About PEP. And if you would like more information on how to become a CPM (including the PEP process) click here.
A recently revised Position Statement from the American College of Nurse Midwives (ACNM) seeks to limit recognition of midwifery providers to those who have received their training through government accredited programs. The North American Registry of Midwives (NARM) oversees the credentialing of midwives who have received their training through time honored and evidenced based systems that emphasize clinical competency over all other criteria (Certified Professional Midwives-CPMs).
NARM has posted an online petition in an effort to organize our voices and convince the ACNM to reconsider its position on apprentice trained midwives. This letter seeks to unite US Midwifery under the common goal of providing women with access to the provider and setting of their choice for birth.
There are many great opportunities mounting to move midwifery forward on both the state and national level. We must stand together as a community of midwives if we are going to have a real voice for change in maternity care. Whether you are a CPM, CNM, a midwifery consumer, advocate, or none of the above, please go to : http://www.thepetitionsite.com/1/support-evidenced-based-midwifery-education to read more details about this issue and sign the petition to make your voice heard.
Early this morning, before breakfast we wandered outside and dug a hole, (navigating around the maple tree's roots) about two feet deep. I carefully separated Nettie's frozen placenta from the plastic bag that carried it from our house on the Hill to our friend's basement, to our new home. The placenta was at the top of my list of things to keep track of as we negotiated the double move. As my hands slipped over the frozen shiny red surface, I sensed a sigh of peace. Nettie was very happy and grabbed at the placenta's bag while I removed it. We covered the placenta with dirt, added some acid-soil loving mix for the blueberry bush, and then planted our blueberry bush. A happy placenta.
Placentas are wondrous things. For more information on placentas, from encapsulation to postpartum recovery, please visit http://placentabenefits.info/.
Last night as I was finishing my bath, Khady (my first born) came over and pointed to my vagina and said, that is where I came out, right? We have talked about this many times, Khady knows her story, and yet she still wonders why she was not born at home. I showed her my cesarean scar, slowly tracing the faint line with my finger and once again answered her questions.
Khady: "Why didn't you have me at home?"
Me: "When I was pregnant with you, everyone I knew had babies in the hospital. My mom had me in a hospital and so I thought it was easy to walk into a hospital and have a baby." (Matt adds that when you do something for the first time, like learning to read, it is hard and you aren't always sure what to do).
Khady: "But why didn't I come out of your vagina?"
Me: (This is harder to explain to a five, almost six year old, and there is no way of knowing what really happened. My charts state the reason for cesarean was CPD or cephalopelvic disproportion, i.e. the baby's head or body is too big to fit through the mom's pelvis. But who knows what might have happened if I had had a doula with me, had been allowed to eat/drink in labor, had had a different doctor on call etc. etc.)
"The doctor didn't think you would come out and was not willing to let me wait and see if you might. It was my first time and I didn't understand what was happening and I didn't have a doula with me who could help me understand what was happening."
Khady: "But daddy was there, right?"
Me: "But it was daddy's first time too, and he didn't know much about birth and definitely didn't know anything about hospital birth."
Khady's other repeating concern is that she was away from me for too long. She has seen pictures and most likely noted that she was in Trina's arms or daddy's arms, not mine.
Khady: "Did the doctor take me away from you?"
Me: "Hospital staff moved you to another room to weigh you and make sure you were ok, the doctor was busy sewing me up. I could hear you." (I also often tell her the story of how they brought her over to me for the first time and placed her head next to mine and for the first time, she stopped screaming as I talked to her.) "You weren't away from me very long, my midwife made sure you stayed from me during my recovery (while they were waiting for me to regain feeling in my legs, it took a long time) and helped you nurse for the first time."
I also tell Khady that she pushed me to learn to trust birth and that I am very grateful for that experience.
I am grateful for my cesarean because I was not ready to walk the path of home birth when I had Khady. Empowerment is a journey, there are many steps along the way towards truly taking charge of your body and your birth. If I had not had a cesarean, I probably would never have had a home birth and therefore never entered midwifery. But I must admit that I am nothing less then a bit giddy whenever I hear of a first time mom who decides to have a home birth. I can't help but think that there is a mom who will not (I HOPE!) have to fight to have the birth she desires and there is a baby who will most likely have a gentle birth. Please don't end up wishing you had learned more about cesareans as you are signing the release form in the hospital. Learn about cesareans now. Visit the International Cesarean Awareness Network (ICAN) online or go to an ICAN meeting. Read read read! Start with this great ICAN Fact Sheet. Follow a VBAC blog or a blog that supports normal birth (some ideas are to the left, if you think a blog should be on my list please let me know!). Hang out with moms who have had successful and empowering VBACs (vaginal birth after cesarean) and with people who trust birth!
I recently learned that a neighbor is a craniosacral therapist (click here for a good article on craniosacral therapy and the midwifery model of care) and works with children. I feel that Khady's questioning signals that she is seeking closure and healing and feel craniosacral therapy would help her. I will let you know how it goes. For those of you for whom a cesarean is necessary, I think it would be helpful to explore ways of healing, like craniosacral therapy, beforehand (I wish I had!).
A mom just sent me the link to a new nursing blog. I especially love this post,"Don't let this happen to you, #25, Sarah and John's Unnecessary Induction." Don't forget to read both parts 1 and 2! The sad thing about Sarah and John's story is that this story is repeated over and over and over again and too often the couple doesn't realize how unnecessary the induction/intervention is and how ridiculously hard the labor and delivery nurse or doula has to work to bring some sense of normalcy to the birth process. Birth SHOULDN'T be a battle that must be fought every step of the way. Labor and delivery nurses and doulas should not have to double as soldiers in a war for normal birth and yet this is often a requirement if the couple they support intends to have a vaginal birth.
For me the moral to Sarah and John's story is that if you can, it is better to birth at home or in a birth center then to risk the chance that you will end up with a doctor on call who does not support your birth plan and a labor and delivery nurse (unlike the author of the blog Nursing Birth) who does not support normal birth. Sarah and John's story, without the incredible support of their fantastic labor and delivery nurse, would have been vastly different and not at all empowering. Do you really want your birth story to hinge on who is on call?
I look forward to reading the "Injustice in Maternity Care" series. Thanks for a great new blog!
Thank you Jennifer Block for telling it like it is, Extreme Birth, Indeed. The word is getting out! It seems like only a year or two ago that it was almost a heresy to suggest the OB recommending induction (or a cesarean) for a big baby might just be wrong. The word is getting out, thanks to folks like Jennifer Block (and a million others, just had to point out this latest article by Block).