Wednesday, December 30, 2009

Natural Birth.....spelled out clearly.....

N- got that covered......(see previous post)

A is for....... Autonomy.....

T is for....... Total focus is on you

U is for....... It's all about "you"

R is for....... Realizing your inner strength

A is for....... Achieving your desires

L is for....... Letting go.....


Monday, December 28, 2009

NATURAL BIRTH- Let's spell it out-clearly

N = "no" body but me can push my baby out, "no" way am I not gonna be in charge of my body, my birth, "no" thank you, I would really not like an episiotomy, "no" please don't take my baby away from me, "no" I would rather not be drugged on narcotics- could you help me through these contractions, please?, "no" I would rather have a midwife, please, "no" really I mean really a midwife please, "no" to nothing to drink in labor, gosh but I am so thirsty, please a drink of cool water please, "no" I really would rather not have so many hospital personnel in my room, discussing last nights happenings, please honor what I am doing right birth...please, "no"I would really like to wait for my body and my baby to begin the labor process as long as all is okay, "no" to Pitocin, unless it's really baby thanks you......., "no" to anything but respect and love and gentle caring for me, please.......

Some things that should go with natural, loving birth.........tomorrow "A".....Janet

Tuesday, December 22, 2009

What Natural Birth Isn't.................

The term 'natural birth' seems to conjure up some pretty horrific pictures in the mind of many a woman who hear the suggestion to consider it for themselves. I think for some, their view of natural birth is the picture they have of themselves or their friend, under the influence of Pitocin induction of labor, strapped to the fetal monitor, stuck flat on her back in bed and left there by the Labor nurse.....writhing in pain, scared to death, miserable. Just waiting to dilate enough to get saved by the Epidural....Which is also what the Labor nurse is waiting for too. She wants you to have that dang epidural.. Makes her job easier because she has other patients out there, and it sure makes life easier when she can "nurse" you from the Nurses Station.

I am not saying that all Labor nurses are "bad" or whatever, it's just that in today's maternity world, there are way too many mommas and not enough nurses. So they can't stay in the room with you...can't treat you like you need and should be treated when you are traveling through this most amazing journey. Not their fault, they are just a product of the times.

Recently I was at our transfer hospital inducing a mom who needed to birth early at the hospital. (Thank goodness we have privileges there and can deliver our moms there when the need arises- our practice is blessed to have that option)You could hear moans and "crying out" sounds coming from one of the labor rooms. The nurses were commenting on the sound...."She wants to go "natural" with smirks all around ( as if that's a crime or a major inconvenience to them)........I asked them "Who is with her?" "Her husband," they said. I said "makes me want to go in there and help her". Really. It did. My heart ached for her.....knowing I had a skill, a god-given desire to assist, a need if you will, to help her. Her being any birthing woman.....because no woman should go through birth alone- her husband is there for support and love, but it really is his labor process too. He most likely feels (1)frightened for her, (2) inadequate in his capability to really help her (3) he just wants to have her pain go It's hard for dad's to see their woman hurting, scared, etc.

I knew I had something I could have offerred her. The midwife's skill, heart, hands, love of birth. And yet, I couldn't help. Wasn't my momma. I believe that the heart of the midwife, the skill, the caring, the truly empowering care has been for many a well-kept secret.

Well, I'm here to let that cat out of the bag...........For now, Janet

Thursday, October 22, 2009

Birth and beautiful sights.........

Nature, it's beautiful. Being witness to amazing sights makes you glad to be alive.
Birth, it's beautiful........nature's work of art.
While on my way to the birth center for birth I was blessed to witness this most beautiful of skies.....and it reminded me of the beauty in nature and the beauty in birth.
Women are at their most beautiful when in the throws of active labor when the end is almost here and she rests between her powerful rushes just before her baby emerges........stunning, awesome, rosy-cheeked and full of life's power. Women, we are the lucky souls chosen by God with His infinite wisdom to be in this partnership with Him as he grants life to our little ones. Beautiful.....beautiful nature and God. For now.........Janet

Tuesday, September 29, 2009

A Birth Room .....of sorts

I was out shooting some photos playing with my husbands camera and I came upon this birds nest in an old bird feeder on my fence......and I thought " a birth room" of sorts!
Like all birthing "moms" even birds understand the inherent need for quiet, privacy and safety.
Nestled in the dark safe place of her nest, she feels courage to go about her task. Most likely, she labors in the evening hours when the day is winding down and things that she may fear are quiet and still.
For now.....Janet

Wednesday, September 23, 2009


We are entering our third year here at REUNION! We have been blessed with so many wonderful moms, dads and BABIES. I remember each and every labor and hope that all our moms know that I am in awe of thier strength, power, love and courage. REUNION moms ROCK! Janet and I love to reflect on all our labors and births.................some short, some loooooong (you know who you are :), the music that was played, verbal and nonverbal exchanges between mom and dad (some we can't publish!!!), the look of sheer joy when the little one arrives....WOW! All GREAT memories!!! And many, many more to come.....Polly

Friday, September 18, 2009


How relaxed and wonderful do you think this little guy is, just moments after his momma pushed him out into the world? Floating in warm water being supported by his momma and midwife. GENTLE, SAFE, LOVING.........
Doesn't this look so much more peaceful than what most moms experience in the majority of our cities hospitals? So many strangers rubbing them and sticking a bulb syringe in their mouth and nose ........did God really intend for it to be THAT way? I think not.
I believe birth was meant to be honored and revered....birthing women RESPECTED for their strength and loveliness. don't get to rewind the footage and start over, you don't get a second chance for a better experience....please women-research your options...know what is best for you-only you know that-gather information-think about what is important to you and your partner. Do you want to be the ones who care for that baby from the moment it arrives, all shiny and new- smelling so sweet and looking so innocent? We know babies don't come with an instruction booklet....but I am here to tell you that when babies are perfectly healthy coming from a perfectly healthy momma, having a perfectly healthy labor and birth, you don't need anything but the innate love and protectiveness you posess the instant your baby emerges from your body. You know how to care for this your body and trust yourself. End of story. For now......Janet

Monday, September 7, 2009

Laboring........on Labor Day.

On this day, we celebrate "laborers" who work diligently to produce a product, provide a service to help make the world a better place.

One of the most "awesome" laborer is the laboring mother.......she needs no tools, punches no clock, takes no breaks, has no boss. Her body, mind and spirit work together to produce one of the most precious commodities.......her baby.

Today at Reunion we have a first-time mom, doing the job of birth. We watch as she goes about her task with ease and grace. We offer words of encouragement, guidance, suggestions. She is a fearless, tireless, hardworker. She is here to complete a job God has assigned her.

We wait, we anticipate...............we'll write an update.

For now.....Janet & Polly

Thursday, September 3, 2009

BIRTH. the play.....

BIRTH is a play by Karen Brody. It is the true stories of eight powerful women giving birth today. It is amazingly wonderful! You will cry, laugh and be inspired! All women, regardless of age or how they became mothers should see this play. Please see the link for BOLD website. This play is done throughout the world in many different cultures during Labor Day......(get it "labor" day---------BIRTH on Labor day!)

This play will be shown in Houston at the Barnevelder Movement/Art Complex at 2201 Preston Street ( near Minute Maid ) on September 11, 12th and 13th. You can go to for more info or call us! 281-359-2229.

I have seen this play twice and I cannot wait to see it again! Grab a friend and come have a great time! For now......Janet

Friday, August 28, 2009

Mama Lions........

Today I was reminded that we women all have a "Mama Lion" in us. And "she" emerges as our precious little babe is first placed in our arms. Instinctively, we become the protector....and Daddy the Great Protector.....the strong "Papa Lion".
God has blessed us with our child and also, along with that blessing comes the ever-present responsibility of being the guardian, the watcher-over, the "Mama Lion". As our birthing mom said today, "As soon as my first little baby was placed in my arms, I remember thinking.....I could kill with my bare hands to protect her......". And we would. Or die trying.
Love, it's a great thing. Enormous Mama Love. Mama Lions proclaim! "This is my child, I will protect what God has so graciously given me....." For now.......Janet

Tuesday, August 18, 2009

Cesarean Sections......

This week we have had some trying times.......and have had two necessary c-sections. Really. With all the hype about the high rate of c-sections in our country, I must say that when you have a mom (or two) who really need to have that intervention to allow for the birth (safely, I might add) of their baby, you become grateful for a skilled surgeon, and a great anesthesiologist!

We were waiting for both of these first time moms to go into labor! Day after day, we all waited... we knew that there would be "the day" when either we would have to start the process or the baby would start the process. But it seemed for these moms endless waiting was in their future! We kept a close eye <;> on these babes and waited. they both were about 42 weeks.....yikes and no closer to birthing than when they were 38wks! Well, eventually both moms went into labor, ( one with a little help from us...) and neither were destined to birth from "below".

Our first mom labored so well at the birth center....she swayed, rocked her hips, breathed and did a great job....her baby just would not "come down" well enough to push hard on that cervix to dilate it fully. And she got's hard work that labor business. So off we went to Kingwood hospital for some needed pain relief and to try alittle more power with Pitocin....we were really

committed to helping her get a vaginal birth. But after many hours it was evident that this little babe was not positioned right, she persisted and stayed "OP" and off to the OR mom went. Her prise came in the gift of a 7# 15 oz baby girl! Mom and baby are great and mom said to me "I would do it 10 times over to have this precious girl!" No bad outcome in my book.

Our other mom tried her best too, needed the power of pitocin to accomplish bringing down her baby and laboring that cervix open. However, after over 3 hours of hard baby, no descent, no birth. One thing I will never do is "force" a baby out that is trying to tell us "No can do"... you might get the head out, but where's the rest of the body....Shoulder dystocia is not a thing to laugh at.......Well, off to the OR we went and out came a strapping healthy screaming bulldog of a baby boy! 9#10 oz !!!! Mom and baby are doing well!!

So, yes sometimes c-sections are necessary, and they are not the evil worse thing in the world. I always say that as a midwife you have to "listen to your baby". They may not speak words that we can hear, but from their comfy, warm little space inside your belly they do and can communicate. You just have to be open to listening.....

So, for Polly and I this was our week of c-sections. But one thing we experienced, was the way the system worked for us all. Having privileges at the hospital helped everyone. We could be in "charge" of our moms and the transition from the birth center to the Labor unit was smooth and easy, with a bed waiting for our moms. And we get to see that we are not "in charge". sometimes fate and a higher plan is in order. We just have to try our very best, stay focused and maintain the highest of clinincal standards and always, I mean always keep our eyes on the "True North" above all else and healthy mom, healthy baby, and beyond that there are no "Bad Outcomes". When mom is holding her precious little one, then we know we have done well and our job is done.

For now......Janet

Sunday, August 2, 2009

Help, just when you need it.....

Have you ever had things happen that seem so perfect and really needed at the time? This week was an exceptionally hard week for Polly and I .....we love what we do but the trials of owning your own "new" business are really stressful and there are many times when I think, wow, Janet, how old will you be by the time the business is "successful"-translation- when we relax a bit and know the families are coming and we don't have to worry about it so.

Well, on Wed. am, we got an interesting proposal which may help the business this next year and behold, at lunchtime, a colleague and fellow birth center owner just happened to stop by.....exactly what we needed! She grabbed a chair and part of our lunch and proceeded to bring light to our rather dark week!

First, this person, I'll call her Kathy, was a true breath of fresh air and perspective! Tell it like it is, Kathy! It was good for me to see that a smart, funny, hardworking woman at 63 can keep the fire in the belly and keep helping women push their babies out! (I am only,....I've got some great years ahead of me!) Plus it so was nice to witness her great attitude....

You know, it's just like pregnancy and preparing for your birth....most midwives have an emotionally, as well as physically, demanding job ( ever bent over our tub...? Yikes, my back!) We must be good to ourselves and make sure we work on our stamina and our emotional health...cause we can't help you if we don't help ourselves first.

I love flowers, they make me happy....I took these flower shots many years ago when I was chilling at a beautiful hotel in Arizona.....I added a shot of the hotel too....Someday I will go back....they had the best restaurant......yummy delicious food and wine.
For now, Janet

Friday, July 31, 2009

Newest REUNION boy......aahhhhh

We are very proud to announce the newest Reunion baby boy! And thanks to JeniHendricksPhotography we had some very wonderful early moments of his life with his mommy and daddy caught on film.

I would wish for all families to have someone there to capture these precious moments.....they touch your heart like no other thing. The photo of the dad hands cradling his newborn if to say I will protect you, can count on me. I got it all under control. Wow.

I don't even remember when the dad did that, but our great photographer captured it. Beautiful....irreplaceable......priceless. LOVE.

For now, Janet

Sunday, July 26, 2009

No Distractions........In Labor....

When I look at this picture I am reminded of the feelings one gets when you stand high on a mountain and gaze out.....calm, peaceful, serene, small, gladness at being alive and a tiny part of this world.

To really achieve a true calm, almost hypnotic state during labor a woman must have an environment that feeds that state. People bustling in and out, a muriad of questions regarding such unimportant things as "When did you last take your prenatal vitamin?" are stealers of this calm. I believe that in the right environment any woman can achieve an almost hypnotic state during labor. I have seen it many times.....I have seen women doze off for a quick 2 minute snore during contractions at 7, 8, 9 centimeters dilated. Especially when relaxing in the tub of warm water. It is truly amazing to witness.

Our bodies work under the direct control of many hormones.......not just the "hormones" that most people think of....estrogen, testosterone.....ya know the "sex" hormones. We have a glorious array of hormones that when allowed to be released really can put moms in a relaxed state which helps her body open up and lets the baby "flow" out. Really. I'm serious. These hormones are hendered when stress and tension are highest......when we're scared, when we don't feel safe, loved or cared for. Ina May Gaskin, the mother of midwifery states that when a woman feels cared for and is able to feel a sense of gratefulness to her caregivers that her body benefits in labor because of that. Imagine that, all the technology we have, all the drugs, all the bells and whistles, and all we really need is love, attention, gentleness and guideness from a competent, compassionate soul.

Recently, I was admitting a mom into the birth center in labor. I had checked her cervix as soon as she arrived because this was her second baby and she was pretty "vocal" in the car when she arrived. I needed to make sure this babe was not about to pop out before I was ready for her....Well she was about 4 cm and hurting with these contractions. Her bag of water had already released at home....As I was getting a few things together she was on all fours really moaning with the contractions. I got up next to her and started rubbing her back as she breathed through the next contraction, she immediately said...."Oh, that makes such a difference..." You see, to have the loving touch of her midwife was like a drug, but better. It says what no drug says to moms...

1. You are loved

2. You are not alone

3. I am here for you

4. Let me help

5. You are doing so well

6. I understand

7. You will be so glad you did this

8. Keep going

9. You are strong

10. We are here for you as you are about to do this most amazing thing ever.....

No drug can relay this to you, none that I have ever seen......

The touch of another human whom you feel completely comfortable with and who you know cares about you and your babyand is there to help you push your baby out......Priceless.

For now, Janet

Saturday, July 25, 2009

The Joy and Triumph!..........

I "stole" this photo from the internet...not one of our moms...but she could be and her smile and joy represents the sheer empowerment and feelings of pushing your baby out all under your body's own power and beauty........

What is so amazing about pushing your baby out at a birth center or home is the wonderful way you feel so shortly after giving birth. You are energized, joyful, relieved ( your work of labor is done), hungry, proud, tired all at once and life is good!

I wish more women would take the time to really explore all their options. I wish that the thought that crosses peoples minds when they think of "natural birth" would not be the short time that women had to labor in the bed at the hospital before they received their epidural.......

Beautiful, wonderful women.....that is not "natural birth". Yes, birth is painful. Yes, birth is scary. Yes, birth is the hardest, most challenging event in a woman's glorious life.

But, believe me when I say...."natural birth" in the right environment, surrounded by your most treasured loved ones, guided by someone whose passion and committment not only to birthing women but to your safety and security is above reproach can be the most amazing, empowering, life-changing, fun, tender, miraculous time. The pain of labor is tempered by your body's amazing hormones that are designed to calm you, make your uterine muscle work like a well-oiled machine that, together with your baby performs a beautiful "dance" with slow twists and turns and ends in the finale, you and you alone finishing the job by pusing your baby out into the world and smack-dab into your arms!

It's so is what women had been doing for years and years many years ago. Your'e born to birth....God designed this like nothing else. When your body is allowed to take control and do what it instinctively knows how to do, it's like magic! I have witnessed so many completely amazing births and women! What a blessing it is to be there, sometimes silently standing by while the woman and her man work together....loving this baby out.
That will be in another topic soon, how dads are marginalized in the hospitalized room, religated to standing at the head of the bed.....usually feeling helpless and vunerable.)

Birth, it's natural.........For now, Janet

Saturday, July 18, 2009

The Waiting.......

The Waiting can be unbearable for some mommies to be.......particularly in our times of inductions of labor on due dates or before. Most women don't have a real reference point to relate to because all their friends are done before this time.....many begin to think that "something is wrong with them" "Due date" should actually be a "due range" with the emphasis on a "end of pregnancy time", not just one particular day.....we get so wrapped up in that that when moms go beyond it seems to be so discouraging....even tho' we speak to them about going beyond and that most moms, especially first-timers, go past this date.

If we can get moms to change the angle from which they are viewing this time and see it differently....not only will their dissapointment lessen, they will be so surprised the day the baby comes.......!
Maybe this part of the big plan....I mean God has created so many wonderful and perfectly perfect things that maybe his intention of the "tension" of waiting for baby day is to instill in moms the deep desire and need to meet this babe and give love that the pain and power of birth is tempered some. Does that make sense? (The hardest part about blogging is to have an idea in your heart and head, but putting in clearly for all to read....):)
I initially placed this beautiful sunset pic on this blog because I was practicing adding an image and on my new laptop it is a stock pic and all I have so far. But, when I started thinking about it I thought, ya know, we have to wait in anticipation of all great things in life. Our first love,
growing up, Christmas, summer vacation, from a bud to a rose, the cookies to bake, spectacular sunsets. And we wait for that beautiful delicious baby to come.......
So, mommies, this time of waiting is the time to take good care of yourself, unselfishly.
1. Soak your feet,
2. Eat a bowl of ice cream ( really, it's okay :),
3. Watch great movies,
4. Put your (probably swollen) feet up,
5. Try a new, delicious/easy recipe preferably with cheese or chocolate in it...
6. Put some great music on (UP LOUD) and rejoice,
7. Sip tea,
8. Take your dog for a walk,
9. If your neighbors might object to the loud music, put your Ipod on,
10. Massage your dog, or cat (it will lower your blood pressure...),
11. Sleep, nap,
12. Soak in the tub,
13. Float in the will feel weightless.....
14. Dance ( with the music up LOUD),

An know you are not alone, somewhere on this earth there is another woman, surely, who is waiting......
For now, Janet

Thursday, July 9, 2009

we had another wonderful birth early Wednesday morning..........a beautiful baby boy! 7#120z.....mama did amazing job.

We are always so blessed when we can help moms achieve the birth they desire. Especially when their past birth experience was either traumatic or just plain lousy......:( We always work hard to assure a "better birth" at Reunion, but when we are armed with the knowledge that a mom had a bad experience in the past, we really feel the need to help her experience be one that will make us all feel good....

I am always amazed at the strength and calm of women. Kind of sounds like those two words wouldnt work so well together....sometimes we think "STRENGTH" is hard, loud, intrusive, overbearing, etc. But birthing women, especially those whose strength is encouraged to shine, have such a beautiful inner strength which flows from them and blankets all who are around. Their strength encourages my strength. Energy abounds in that birthing room. Between the rush of contractions moms can become so calm and serene...and absolutely stunningly beautiful. Polly and I are always commenting to each other and of course to our moms how beautiful they look. It must have something to do with the power and energy and love and ...can't forget those "love hormones" Dr. Odent speaks about that are free to flow during the natural birth process!

It must be something like falling in love....ya know ladies how radiant we look and feel. How everything in the universe is so "right". It must be similar when your body and mind iare locked into the job of know something great is about to happen...the anticipation, the excitement and the LOVE. Powerful, fearless love. What a gift we have been given in the body of our child.

I would wish for all women that they could experience this "birth". Also, to expereince the reverance and the respect for what they are doing....sometimes women are robbed us this and their "love hormones" take the toll.

Tuesday, June 30, 2009

Praying for rain is like praying for labor to start.......when will we get that beautiful sound of raindrops? Polly and I were sitting here in the birth center, just finished a tour and we actually heard THUNDER! We were like, music to our ears! But, alas, we sit...dry, hot...waiting.

We had a meeting today with a mom who really wanted to birth here when we were in the"building" stages....she nad her baby at Nativiti, and now is "preggo" again and is so excited to come to us! It is neat that just two years later, we all meet again and we can fulfill her desire!

We have three mommies due the month of July and four in August...should be nice! We love all our moms and anticipate with wonder their upcoming labors...I really look forward to posting about our time at the birth center and also to give you all some insight about what Polly and I do....maybe you will laugh, cry or yawn in boredom!

I am having trouble adding photos to the text....they want to appear on the side of the blog...anyone out there might want to let me know the trick? For now, Janet

Sunday, June 28, 2009

A labor story...

A Labor Story........

I want to share a scene I was blessed to witness once. Years ago I took care of a very strong, determined young woman, planning her third birth. She had birth her first babies all natural ( no epdirual, narcotic or induction) and of course, was planning that for this baby as well. In those days I was "birthing babies" in our community hospital. I was fornunate then the nursing staff was kind and supportive of me and my birthing moms...

Well, as is true for birth, my mom was in hard labor and resting on her side, entering that stage we not so fonding call "transition". However, from a midwives perspective it is a truly beautiful time, especially when there is vocal accompaniment! The mother call, I like to say...You know that baby's coming! ( we're almost done!). Anyway, she was THERE!

Alongside her was her husband, sister-in-law and granny. As she moaned and rocked both those women leaned in and massaged and consoled, whispering their love and guidance. Instinctively they knew exactly what she needed, because they had walked in her shoes...

I knew they knew exactly what she was experiencing and in that moment I felt like I had been witness to the true essence of what women are capable of and how, as we love each other, our own strength is fortified....NO woman should ever be left alone, feel alone or afraid in the moment that is one of the most powerful, fearful, loving and courageous.

Our very first post!

Well, so far so good....I have managed to sign on, grab a free template, attach one of my favorite prints of all time and now I am actually writing. All you blog experts, bear with me. I quess one of our main intentions with this blog is sharing of information, emotions and most of all our committment to who we have come to know as beautiful birthing women! I pray for wisdom and courage to write what moves me, and what I believe.......For now, Janet