Tuesday, May 31, 2011

Reunion.......the meaning behind the name.

Just the other day someone asked me "why/how" we named the Birth Center "Reunion".  I really enjoy telling the story so I thought I would share it with all of you.  Janet and I met at Northeast Hospital while working as Labor and Delivery nurses MANY years ago.  We became good friend and also shared the desire to become Midwives. So for 2 years we drove down to Galveston to school together and completed the Midwifery program at UTMB.  After school our lives started to take different paths and soon we saw little of each other. If fact..... we actually lost touch for a couple of years.  Then about 6 years ago we met up again....in the dairy section of HEB (no kidding).....and "reunited".   It was after this "reunion" that we began planning to bring a birth center to the Kingwood area. We wanted to "reunite' women and families to a more natural, personalized, hands on birth experience. We wanted to "reunite" women with their natural ability and wisdom to birth their own babies without medical intervention. We wanted to "bring together" women who respect the natural birth process and give them a place that they could achieve their goal without fear or ridicule. Thus the name "REUNION" was born! Polly

Apology.....birth shouldn't be scary.

It was brought to my attention yesterday after I posted this article link on our Facebook page that the beginning paragraph was really scary to one soon to birth mother....(not a Reunion mom...). I want to apologize if I allowed something to frighten anyone. I am sorry.

My intention was honorable.  I want women to understand what really is going on in our maternity wards today. Become informed. Become aware. Know your options.

Many women who know nothing about nurse-midwives think we are unsafe, a lesser choice than an obstetrician.
I guess as  a midwife I feel that we so often have to defend our profession. We just want people to understand who we are and why we do what we do. Understand our committment. Our honor of the laboring mother.

Obstetricians are highly trained surgeons. Trained to fix problems. They are not necessarily experts in normal, natural birth. How can they be?  When was the last time your OB sat at your side while you experienced your early contractions.....encouraged you as you journeyed your way to transition........rubbed your back .........prayed with you. They unfortunately don't have the time. .....they are fixing everyone elses problems.....that's where they are truly needed. And thank God for them.  Polly and I have the most amazing collaborative Obstetricians midwives could ever hope for. We love them. Honor them. Respect them. And they do the same for us. It would be a dream for all maternity practices to have such a great collaborative team.  Midwives for normal, docs for abnormal. Less unnecessary c-sections. Less morbidity/mortality ( proven fact when you add midwives to the mix....)
Happy moms. Every one getting what their body/baby needs.

When you are at most hospital units laboring with your epidural ( or not) and with Pitocin running (or not) you are not being "watched" and comforted by loving hands, usually.  You are being monitored at the nurses station.  RN's watching the monitors for any signs of fetal distress, period.
                                  Pitocin running-Check. Epidural in- Check. Patient quiet-Check.
 I have been there, I know.  I am sure there are some wonderful hospital L and D units where the nurse sits at your bedside and charts. But not in most. And if you are going "natural" not too much help there either.  And with due respect, I know that it is not possible for  the nurse to "labor" you when she has two other patients on a busy unit.....But I ask: How safe is that, really? And some people think what we do at the birth center is "putting your baby in danger"......really.
I certainly don't think that all moms are risking their babies birthing with OBs at the hospital.  I do believe that women should do their research for their birth care just as they would if they were getting anything else done to their bodies or their children's bodies.  We seem to just take what comes with birth. And we shouldn't.
For now....Janet

Monday, May 30, 2011

Technology in Birth.......a great read.

I stumbled across this article yesterday and it really made me happy.  Happy that I am a midwife. Happy that I have the ability to birth women in the hospital when the need arises for whatever reason we need to leave the birth center and  continue the birth there. I say that because I know given the nature and philosophy of midwifery, Polly and I can so help these women achieve the birth they are meant to have. And, if you have read any of the recent posts you will know that that does not always mean a vaginal birth.....
I know that we will be there at her side....we will be the ones truly overseeing the care she receives. And believe, that is a good thing, if I do say so myself.
Case in point. Our last momma.  She pushed out a 9#10oz first baby  after one hour of pushing!!!  Now, because of some other circumstances that had nothing to do with "this might be a big baby" we transfered to the hospital for some needed power to get the birth moving along....Now this mom came to our practice late in her pregnancy because the OB she was seeing kept harping on the fact that she thought the baby was going to be too big for her and would most likely induce her early.......bad mistake. I believe had she stayed with this provider, she more than likely would have ended up in a c-section....and everyone would have said..."Thank Goodness, that baby was just way too big for you!"  Well, our motto is "Let's prove this baby is too big...." I always say that a baby that is too big for you will show itself in the nature of your labor and or pushing stage.

Well, back to the article.  Marsden Wagner is a perinatologist who supports midwifery around the world and who works at making birth more safe..... He wrote an article which can be found on Midwifery  Today   www.midwiferytoday.com/articles/technologyinbirth.asp . I would wish that all women pregnant or considering pregnancy read this article.......here are a few excerpts that made me go "Yeah, Marsden!!!"

"There is not a single report in the scientfic literature that shows that obstetricians to be safer than midwives for low-risk or normal pregnancy and birth. So,if you are among the more  than 75% of all women with a normal pregnancy, the safest birth attendant f or you is not a doctor but a midwife."

"If you are considering a hospital birth with an obstetrician as your primary birth attendant, ask him or her how much time he or she will spend with you during your labor. One of the reasons a midwife is generally a better choice to attend your hospital birth than an obstetrician is because the midwife is there in the hospital with you during your labor while the obstetrician is not....

So, who you ask is mananging your labor at the hospital, all you women who have OBs as birth attendants?  The L and D nurse......how invested in your care do you think she really is?  Especially if  you "want things" like being able to get out of the bed.....try your induction without an epidural.....etc.

Please read the article, it is really interesting.  Birth center and/or home birth is certainly not for everyone......but searching for a good midwife to support your labor and birth at the hospital should be something all women check into....and that's not to mention the great one-on-one prenatal care we give.....that's fodder for another post!  For now, Janet

Sunday, May 22, 2011

What is birth anyway......?

Quite literally, birth is just the way to get your baby out. Period. I won't win any midwife essay contests or popularity contests with that bold statement.  But I do believe it. Sometimes I beleive some of us make way too much of it and put way too much weight it in. Because what do you say to the moms who relied on surgery to get their baby out. Who were perhaps unconscious when they delivered or had no or little say in the interventions posed on them.... had a horrific experience. Or what about the adoptive mom. Less a mother? Less bonded. Less loving. Babies are less happy?
I believe how a woman handles her birthing expereince and how we as providers of that care reflect our feelings is what makes the difference in how she sets out on her mothering trail.
We need to do what we can to lessen a woman's "disappointment" in her outcome when that outcome is only that she  did not get the birth she desired.  If she is holding a beautiful, healthy babies in her arms we shouyld all rejoice in her accomplishment of birthing her baby no matter how that precious one emerged.......
Now with that said, I do believe that having the privilege of accomplishing the birth of her dreams is a wonderful and blessed thing. But that doesn't happen for all women.For many times due to circumstances beyond their control.  And as midwives, if we are true to our namesake of "with woman" then we must honor all women. No matter what birth they chose or was chosen for them.
I remember once when I worked with a group of midwives. I had come from a solo practice where I felt my job was to educate  women  in their choices and then honor what they decided was best for them......The midwives and I were talking about epidurals.  And I stated that I had many women in my old practice that received epidurals because thats want they wanted. One midwife posed this question to me...(quite condescending I might say, too) "Well, why would a woman who wants an epidural come to a midwife?"  What? I thought.....????  Uh.....because of the care we give....because we as midwives should be there for them no matter what. Because, quite simply my dear fellow midwife, "It's not our birth"  It's their birth and not all women need  nor want to accomplish a completely natural drug free birth. And that's okay in my book. I really wish we could open up our practice to hospital births as well. Because I know there would be many women we could serve who want and need to be in the hospital for the birth of their babes.

Thursday, May 19, 2011

There's no do over in birth.....

Don't ever let anyone tell you midwifery is an easy job. Don't let anyone tell you that midwifery and the art of caring for women during their journey through their prenatal course and their birth is something that you can learn in a year or two of reading and watching.
Maintaining safety while helping a mom achieve her strongest desire is more than difficult and trying sometimes....you might even lose sleep over it some nights. Sometimes there are extremely hard judgment calls to make. And sometimes a midwife has to make a call that may not be so popular. But a good midwife who's worked hard to learn her art and has learned to trust her gut instinct knows that when she fails to listen to it she can loose more than sleep.
Also, I've always had two mottos. There is never a crystal ball which you can rely on to lead you to the "right" decision. And, unfortunately, there are no "do overs" in midwifery. Plain and simple. Oh yeah, there's a third. When natural labor ( and the prep before labor....you know the cervical ripening, the descent of the baby, ensuing labor, etc.) and birth works...it's like a well-oiled machine. CLick, click, click. Tick-tock, tick-tock, tick-tock. Working like God planned. Like a rose unveiling it's beauty. Like the tide rolling in and then returning back to the sea. A simply beautiful thing.Those labors and birth make midwifey seem like an easy job. Sit back, take it all in, watch and wait.
It's the labor that won't come, the baby that won't descend and the abnormal things that present themselves, some so very subtle, that drives even the most calm midwife to lose a few hairs to the color grey. FOr now....Janet

Wednesday, May 18, 2011

What makes a woman fear birth?

What makes a woman fear birth? And does that fear and resulting anxiety play any part in hendering her in attaining a vaginal birth? Especially a vaginal birth that is "natural". By that I mean truly her own body's power........and it takes alot of that to complete the birth of her babe.

I asked this after reading an article about a birthing center in Pennsylvania that serves primarily Amish women. These women have virtually no access to the internet or TV. However, they have an over 95% success rate in completing their vaginal births at the birth center. In many aspects I believe that is a good thing when it comes to anticipating the birth of your baby. All too often women will find things written on the net that may not necessarily ring true when considering the variable nature of pregnancy, end of pregnancy, labor and the birth process. Sometimes I believe these things can lead to further anxiety and less trust of her own body and baby to do this task.

If a woman has a caring, truthful, competent provider who she has entrusted to guide her through this process....that should be all she needs. Trust her. Believe her. Know that she has your best interest at stake. Always. Women, we know that God gave us a great wonderful gift in our "intuition" or gut feeling.........if something ever does not ring true in your gut.....especially with your care provider, that is the time to research. Ask yourself. Trust yourself. Not necessarily the best time to listen to all the birth stories ( sometimes horrific...) that are out there....you know what your body needs if you just listen... I am trying to convey something that may not be quite clear.....having a hard time getting this message out....hope you can hear what I am saying.....For now...Janet

Tuesday, May 10, 2011

Labor ....

Some labors are just really nice and calm and wonderful.....and some women just really luck out and are so blessed....It doesn't happen for all women. But I sure wish it did. Our momma today had such a wonderfully peaceful early and active labor that it was hard to believe she was actually laboring. Went out to get sandwichs with her husband at 6cm.....and brought them back to the birth center to eat...( however she didn't feel like eating much when she got back), but she did sit with us at the table while we all talked about birth and her husband finished his lunch. I just kept saying "This is amazing and wonderful.....can't hardly tell you are laboring today"
First baby too, ladies! She did amazing and pushed out a beautiful pink 8 lb baby girl about 4 and one half hours after her "lunch". Sure the end was tough, as it is for all. But what a nice day of easy laboring.......I really wish that for all women. How wonderful that would be.
For now....Janet

Saturday, May 7, 2011

A mother is a mother is a mother........

Almost 17 years ago, I had the best day of my life. I brought my sweet, joyful, precious, loving baby girl home. No, I did not deliver her from my womb, grow her tiny sweet being under my heart or get to "know" her tiny sweet movements and track her growth just by seeing the swelling of my belly each day.
I am a mother through the grace of God and the loving gesture of one true Mother.....my daughter's birth mom. She's my ultimate hero, the most courageous of women, ever. You see, she did something not too many of us would have the courage or the faith to do. And, at such a young age of 17 herself....my respect, my love , my honor is hers now and always.
I know she loved this child she nutured with her body. And her heart. That love shows in my daughter every day I look at her. She is one of the most grounded girls I have ever seen.....and that's not just me talking as a mom!
There is something so special about her. And how great life is for me that I get to raise her and love her and cherish her and know her.
I do have a birth story to tell.....all moms, no matter how we became a mom have a story to tell. We may not be able to talk about labor pains or "pressure" or water breaking or breasts swelling ........but we do experience pain, joy, tears, unpredictable times and pride.
So for you preggos out there.....please always remember this: Yes, you have a plan for your "birth day"....and hopefully all goes as planned. But, if we reach a snag and have to change our course.....it's ok. No matter how you get your baby here safely in your arms....the real test, the true mettle of a mother is all that comes after that time. That is your true joy.........For now...Janet