It is a woman's crowning creative experience of a lifetime." ~ Dr. John Stevenson
"The Road Less Traveled..." of Parenthood
Following your instincts instead of the crowd
"Two roads diverged in a yellow wood...I took the one less traveled by and that has made all the difference."
Sunday, December 20, 2009
I won't deny that things can go wrong during childbirth and that hospitals have saved many lives in those situations. I'm very grateful for medical technology when it is needed. And I completely agree that women who choose homebirth need to be self-educated with correct, unbiased information, use a qualified midwife with good judgment, and know when to seek medical attention if necessary. I think I would add one more "requirement" to having a safe homebirth. That is the ability of the mom and the midwife to recognize and follow inspiration. For my part, I never would have had the courage and trust to give birth at home had I not had the divine reassurance that all would go well. It was a reassurance that I sought several times throughout the pregnancy and also once labor started because I know that things can change quickly.
With that reassurance, I felt that giving birth at home would be safer for me and my baby than giving birth in a hospital. Contrary to the opinion of many in the medical community, most, if not all, women who choose to give birth at home are making that decision because they want the best outcome for mother and baby. We do this because we have learned through personal experience and a great deal of research that many of the routine medical interventions done to women in labor actually cause the very complications that we're all afraid of. Not always, but far too often the "perfect situation goes south" because of interventions like too much pitocin too fast, induction before baby is ready, pushing a baby out in the ineffective lithotomy position, sudden drop in blood pressure at the injection of an epidural, interference in the natural flow of oxytocin and endorphins when drugs are given, etc. My emergency c-section was iatrogenic in nature (medically caused). My c-section experience is a very common one and, sadly, it's becoming more common all the time. A cesearean rate of nearly 32% is evidence of that.
My wish is that the medical community would acknowledge and recognize that many of the routine interventions done in the hospital are not in the best interests of mom and baby. In the absence of true complications, nature is much better at delivering a healthy baby than when we interfere with the process. And actually even with minor complications, nature knows how to adjust and adapt as was the case with my daughter, Talita's, birth. Unfortunately, because of a lack of experience with truly natural childbirth, this viewpoint is not shared by most ob's and L&D nurses. If the unnecessary interventions were not pushed on women in labor, I believe you would see less women choosing to birth at home. Of course, I realize it's not always that simple because of the legal/political climate in this country. I don't put the blame on OB's and L&D nurses, necessarily. I believe that most of them truly want to do what is best for mom and baby and are instead restricted by malpractice insurance regulations. I think the risk of being sued is the major cause of the misuse and overapplication of medical interventions.
I think we can learn a lot from the countries who have a more balanced approach to childbirth and obstetrics. For example, in Holland, expectant women are carefully screened and only those who are high risk see obstetricians and deliver in the hospital (as well as those women who just want to deliver in the hospital and are willing to pay extra for it.) Women who are low risk use the care of a qualified midwife and deliver at home, but are within 15 minutes of a hospital. Flexibility and careful monitoring is used should a low risk woman become high risk. The maternal and infant mortality rates are much lower there than they are here in the US. For a country where 99% of women give birth in the hospital, why are we losing so many moms and babies? We have some of the worst maternal and infant mortality rates for a developed country. Why are women so "defective" here in the US that one third of them "can't" give birth vaginally? Something to think about.
The other thing I like about the Netherlands is the respectful working relationship between lay midwives and ob's. It's pretty hostile here in the US. I believe fewer moms and midwives would wait too long to transport to the hospital when necessary if they knew they would be treated respectfully, rather than with contempt and branded with labels like stupid, reckless, selfish, etc. As women we need to seek to understand where each other is coming from rather than blindly labeling women who choose differently than we might.
I'm passionate about this issue because I've lived both sides of it. I really just want all women to have strong, healthy babies and safe, empowering birth experiences. For me and my last 3 babies, that meant giving birth at home.
It wouldn't have to be that way if we all opened our minds and took a serious look at why more and more women are choosing to give birth at home. It's not to be "trendy" like the ACOG contends. We all just really want healthy, undrugged moms and babies and quicker recovery times. A "side benefit" is the truly wonderful and spiritual experience of peacefully and gently welcoming our children into the world.
Friday, November 20, 2009
Friday, October 30, 2009
"The technical issue behind Obama's dramatic and false declaration of a national swine flu emergency was to facilitate Medicare repayments to doctors and hospitals-no big deal. But the actual intention and effect was to add another log on the fire of fear the government and media is creating to induce more people to take the Swine Flu vaccine. You can't get through a single session of the morning or evening news without being pummeled with more propaganda on the virtues of getting these shots. They are even peddling claims of a vaccine shortage to make people clamor for it. If people are this gullible, heaven help us in a real crisis. The real story is otherwise--there is no shortage because the vast majority of Americans are evading the shot. More and more Americans understand that the risk of side effects and permanent damage from the vaccine is greater than the effects of the flu. That's why the government is pumping up fear by proclaiming a flu emergency when none really exists. Sure, most people know someone with the swine flu, but it's still relatively mild and can be overcome without hospital intervention. Most people have figured out that the threat is way overblown. In fact, the CDC flu statistics being presented by government are outright deceptive. In his declaration Obama claimed, "H1N1 is more widespread now than it's ever been [so is any disease over time]. Health authorities say almost 100 children have died from the flu, and 46 states now have widespread flu activity. Worldwide, more than 5,000 people have reportedly died from swine flu since it emerged this year and developed into a global epidemic [hardly an epidemic when these figures don't even approach the usual death rate for ordinary flu and pneumonia], the World Health Organization said Friday. Since most countries have stopped counting individual swine flu cases, the figure is considered an underestimate." --Easy to say when you stop counting and never did do specific testing on the vast majority of people claimed to have the Swine flu. Dr. Joseph Mercola catalogs the contradictions: "A three-month-long investigation by CBS News, released earlier this week that included state-by-state test results, revealed some very different facts. The CBS study found that H1N1 flu cases are NOT as prevalent as feared. 'If you've been diagnosed 'probable' or 'presumed' 2009 H1N1 or 'swine flu' in recent months, you may be surprised to know this: odds are you didn't have H1N1 flu. In fact, you probably didn't have flu at all.' Obviously CBS News and the CDC are completely contradicting each other. So who is right?"CBS reports that in late July 2009 the CDC advised states to STOP testing for H1N1 flu, and they also stopped counting individual cases. Their rationale for this, according to CBS News, was that it was a waste of resources to test for H1N1 flu because it was already confirmed as an epidemic... every person who visited their physician with flu-like symptoms since late July was assumed to have H1N1, with no testing necessary because, after all, there's an epidemic."It's interesting to note that at the same time... Finnish health authorities actually downgraded the threat of swine flu... As the CDC continues to use fear to motivate and control Americans with their worst-case swine flu scenarios, they say nothing of the experience of those in the southern hemisphere, which just finished their flu season and found it was not as bad as expected."Before beginning their investigation, CBS News asked the CDC for state-by-state test results prior to their halting of testing and tracking. The CDC did not initially respond so CBS went to all 50 states directly, asking for their statistics on state lab-confirmed H1N1 prior to the halt of individual testing and counting in July. 'The results reveal a pattern that surprised a number of health care professionals we consulted. The vast majority of cases were negative for H1N1 as well as seasonal flu, despite the fact that many states were specifically testing patients deemed to be most likely to have H1N1 flu, based on symptoms and risk factors, such as travel to Mexico.' "...not only are most cases of suspected flu-like illnesses not H1N1, they're not even the flu but more likely some type of cold or upper respiratory infection! Most states show 1-2% swine flu, 5-10% regular flu and 85-90% cold, upper respiratory symptoms--NOT FLU." Some epidemic!"
Thursday, October 22, 2009
"Modern medicine" may well be defined as "the experimental study of what happens when poisonous chemicals are placed into malnourished human bodies."
I also like this quote by Roger Eichman, DDS (speaking of dental mercury, coincidentally) said, "The precautionary principle requires action once the possibility of harm exists. It does not require proof beyond a shadow of a doubt." Unfortunately, our current medical system keeps saying that until there is substantial and unequivocal proof that mercury or thimerosol harms the brain, we can keep saying that vaccines and mercury dental fillings are safe.
Along the same lines I just came across some information that says that the CDC actually has known for a long time of the damage caused by mercury, but buried the information. Because of the Freedom of Information Act, this buried study has been brought forth.
From Dr. Mercola's site:
The Age of Autism asks a very good question: If this finding is so clear, why has the CDC’s vaccine safety apparatus not found the same thing?
According to Age of Autism:
“The answer, of course, is that they have.
In their very first examination of the risk of thimerosal exposure in infants, the single most startling finding was this: infants who received the largest exposure of thimerosal in the first month of life showed the highest risk of autism and several other NDDs.
Buried deep in a pile of statistical tables that SafeMinds received under FOIA was a risk analysis conducted by CDC analyst Thomas Verstraeten, showing statistically significant risk multiples for the most exposed infants.
These ranged from 5 times the risk of unexposed infants in the case of sleep disorders to 11.5 times for autism.
What happened to the CDC findings that are now forcing us to rediscover the risk of thimerosal-containing birth doses of HBV in monkeys?
The answer is simple. The CDC team simply censored the data. Infants with the highest levels of thimerosal exposure--those who had received both the HBV and hepatitis B immune globulins--were simply removed from the study sample.” [Emphasis mine]
So according to the CDC’s own research data, the risk of autism from thimerosal-containing vaccines is even far greater than any independent studies have yet to come up with!
Mark Blaxill (the Editor-at-Large for Age of Autism and a Director of Safeminds) summarized the data obtained from the CDC through the Freedom of Information Act (FOIA), which you can find at this link.
FYI: Even though most childhood vaccines no longer contain thimerosol, the multi-dose flu shots still do, including the swine flu vaccine.
Wednesday, October 21, 2009
Friday, October 16, 2009
First, let me say that my first 3 children were fully vaccinated up through elementary school. My 4th was partially vaccinated, and my last three have received no vaccines at all.
Over several years now I have read countless books and web pages on the vaccine issue. I’ve found that those who are pro-vaccine have not read anything (or very little) about the history of vaccines and the standard ingredients in them (mercury, aluminum, formaldehyde, foreign proteins from diseased monkey kidneys, aborted human fetal tissue, etc).
Instead they’ve relied on their doctors for vaccine information. (Which, by the way, is like asking a used car salesman if he ever sells bad cars.) By contrast, those people I’ve met and talked to who have chosen not to vaccinate have read and researched extensively on the vaccine issue.
My plea is this: please educate yourself about vaccines. Especially this most recent, fast-tracked, very little tested swine flu vaccine. Pay attention to the source of the information. Do they have a monetary or power stake in the issue? Is their medical or authoritative reputation on the line? For example, did you know that all of the recent "studies" showing no link between autism and vaccines were either performed or funded by the vaccine manufacturers? Or that the studies showing significant correlation were all independent studies?
Did you know that the CDC’s own data show that all diseases for which we have vaccines for were already in significant decline before the vaccines were introduced? We have improved sanitation, nutrition, etc. to credit for the eradication of these diseases, not toxic serums that have produced billions of dollars for the pharmaceutical industry.
Did you know that there was a swine flu "scare" in 1976 and the government heavily promoted the vaccine only to have many people suffer neurological damage and some even die as a result of the vaccine? Back then, the families who were able to sue were awarded millions of dollars for their injuries. Now, because of The Biodefense and Pandemic Act of 2006, Americans have lost the right to a jury trial if harmed by an experimental drug or vaccine during a declared pandemic. Ever wonder why they were so quick to declare a pandemic last spring when the swine flu seemed so mild?
Did you know that the first vaccine manufacturer to patent the H1N1 swine flu vaccine did so before the swine flu outbreak in Mexico? This is very interesting considering that swine and bird flus don’t genetically mix on their own.
Did you know that in recommending that pregnant women receive 2 doses of the seasonal flu shot and 2 doses of the swine flu shot, the CDC is going against stated FDA and manufacturer warnings? Or that the amount of mercury (thimersol) in one flu shot is 25 times the EPA's safe level?
I could go on and on, but I won’t. Instead I’ll give you some links to get you started on your vaccine education. These are reputable sites, many of them by doctors who have decided to open their minds and do a little research rather than relying on the drug company representatives for their information. Other sites were started by parents of vaccine-damaged children. Most, if not all, are non-profit organizations. They are not trying to make any money. They just want to warn and educate other parents so they don’t have to endure the heartbreak of seeing their children go from healthy to autistic shortly after receiving a vaccine, or at the very least, contract the very illness they are vaccinated against.
Please keep an open mind, and whatever you do, don’t go line up for a flu shot before reading some of this information and then praying about it. Yes, the swine flu is real and it’s not fun, but it’s nothing compared to lifelong neurological damage and/or autoimmune diseases. And there are natural ways to overcome the swine flu more quickly than just suffering through it (we got over it in 2 days) or taking Tamiflu (a drug that was taken off the market in Japan because of its dangerous side effects.)
If, after educating yourself and praying about it, (if you're religious) you decide to vaccinate, fine. That’s your choice. The decision to vaccinate or not is one I would never want to take away from anyone. I, however, will be able to sleep at night, knowing I at least said something to get you thinking and questioning.
Here are the links:
http://www.vaccinationdebate.com/ This one answers a lot of questions.
http://www.tennantinstitute.com/TIIM_MAC/Newsletters.html (Click on the link to the newsletter titled "Vaccines, Will They Harm You?" It’s very thorough and well-referenced.)
Tuesday, October 13, 2009
I'm happy and sad today. Happy that my niece gave birth to a healthy baby, but sad that I procrastinated on my intentions to encourage and educate her on how to have a natural birth (well, at least a vaginal delivery.) I don't know all the details but I'm pretty certain she ended up scheduling an elective c-section. Her first baby was a necessary c-section (placental deterioration at 37 or so weeks). My mom had told me that she was trying for a "natural" delivery. After seeing the documentary "Pregnant in America" I knew that "natural" to many people just means not a c-section. Anyway, when I heard that she wanted to try for a natural birth, I wanted to give her some encouragement and tips on how to avoid a repeat c-section. Such as, let labor start on its own, don't go to the hospital til labor is well established so they can't push pitocin, avoid an epidural if possible, push in upright positions, etc.
In fact, yesterday morning I kept thinking about her and that I really needed to write to her but I had so much to do that I told myself I'd write to her before going to bed that night. Well, it didn't happen (I can't stay up all night doing things.) This morning the urgency in contacting her was gone. I thought maybe it's too late. Then, no, I'm just making that up. Well, I finally allowed myself to get on my computer this evening and check Facebook. She had a chubby 8 1/2 pound baby boy this morning. Yesterday she had posted that she was going to have her baby the next morning. To me that says scheduled c-section. If it was just a labor induction, she wouldn't have said morning. I'm truly happy for her that she had a healthy baby, but I can't help feeling like I failed her in her original desire to have a natural birth. She may not have listened to me anyway (my family thinks I'm a nutcase when it comes to birth, especially her mom.) But I would have at least felt like I tried.
I get so mad when I think about our screwed up obstetric profession and the lies/exaggerations they must have told her to convince her an elective c-section was for the best. Such as, c-sections are so safe nowadays, your baby is getting too big, your cervix won't dilate on its own, since you've had a previous c-section you are at risk for uterine rupture, etc, etc, ad nauseum.
What makes it worse is that exactly one year ago to the day (Oct. 13, 2008) my neighbor and friend gave birth to her second boy by scheduled c-section. I had also procrastinated talking to her even though I felt prompted to because I was afraid of offending her or having her feel like I was butting into her life uninvited. When I learned she had an elective c-section I had felt sick about that (especially since she had breastfeeding problems and weaned early) and vowed to not ignore promptings like that again. I obviously haven't learned that lesson yet. =(
Sunday, September 13, 2009
Saturday, September 5, 2009
Then I began to realize how evil it is to tell a woman who’s experienced a physically or emotionally traumatic birth that she should be grateful because when you say that, she hears that she isn’t grateful enough for the precious baby she’s been given. And that cuts to the quick. She may already be wondering what was wrong with her that she couldn’t have a normal birth and now you’ve told her that she doesn’t love her child enough. It is evil to say "all that matters is a healthy baby" because you are saying that her pain, her damage doesn’t matter. You are telling her that not only is her body broken, but so is her mind. That if she is physically healthy, that’s all that matters, and to be concerned with anything else is somehow wrong. That the means to the end doesn’t matter, she is expendable.
I was never able to put that feeling into words, but Gretchen has done a wonderful job of articulating these feelings that all of us mothers who have had tramautic births have felt but not been able to put into words. Be sure to read the whole essay.
Wednesday, August 26, 2009
Sunday, July 12, 2009
They've all been fun to watch, but this one is so well done. I just loved it!
Thursday, June 25, 2009
Sunday, June 21, 2009
"I’ve been planning a few Q&A posts to answer questions I am frequently asked. This first post will examine two questions that tend to come together. How did you decide to have your babies at home? What if something happens?
The answer to the first is fairly short, but needs some explaining. I decided to have my babies at home because statistically, it is the safest place to give birth. Though I enjoy stories, opinions and philosophies of childbirth, I’m more of a numbers person when it comes to making decisions that impact my health or that of my children. I’ve spent a fair amount of time looking at research on childbirth statistics and outcomes. Interestingly, every study out there shows that midwife-attended homebirths have better outcomes compared to hospital births.
Better outcomes outside of the hospital? How could that be? What if something goes wrong? It is true, there are risks involved with homebirth, but there are also risks involved with hospital birth. The most recent and largest (to date) study examining the two was published by the British Medical Journal (BMJ) in 2005. The conclusion? Planned home birth for low risk women using Certified Professional Midwives was associated with lower rates of medical intervention and no higher likelihood of death than that of low risk hospital births in the United States." This was an important piece of research because it is the largest homebirth study that also matched women for risk (meaning the hospital births were of low-risk women who would have qualified for birth at home).
This may not make sense at first, especially with all of those emergency cesarean stories we've all heard. With so many emergencies, how could it be safer to birth outside of a hospital? Pay attention, the next time you hear one of those stories, chances are, the emergency was preceded by an intervention of some sort. Common examples: Labor wasn't going quickly enough so we started pitocin and then the baby crashed and we needed and emergency cesarean. After they did several internal exams and broke my water (both increase the likelihood of infection), the mother got a fever and the baby's heart rate sky-rocketed so we needed an emergency cesarean. She got an epidural and the baby’s heart rate dropped. They put on an oxygen mask, gave her a shot of something and had her rolling from side to side, but the baby didn't recover and we needed an emergency cesarean. Hearing story after story like that, hospital birth does sound dangerous.
But sudden reactions to medications and invasive procedures don't exist at home because the medication and procedures that cause them are not used in the first place. In the absence of medical intervention, the majority of complications in childbirth arise slowly with plenty of time to notice them and seek medical care, if necessary. Common examples: The baby gradually becomes less tolerant of labor. Labor is prolonged and the mother begins to wear out. When non-emergent complications do arise at a homebirth, a skilled midwife can help resolve them through a variety of non-medical techniques; she can also provide some medical treatments like, oxygen for neo-natal resuscitation or drugs to manage hemorrhage. In the rare event that a complication cannot be handled at home, she has a transport plan and will recommend transfer to a hospital (in the BMJ study 12.1% of the homebirth group transferred to the hospital, but less than half of a percentage of women had urgent transfers).
Looking at the BMJ study, the effectiveness of this gentle approach to complications was clear:Induction or Augmentation of labor (with pitocin or prostaglandins) 4.8% vs. 39.9%Episiotomy 2.1% vs. 33.0%Cesarean Section 3.7% vs. 19.0% (it is worth mentioning that the national cesarean rate is now over 30%)
With so many risky interventions at hospitals and no improvement in outcomes, many women planning hospital births also like to "stay home as long as possible" to reduce the likelihood of unnecessary intervention. I guess my preference is to stay home as long as possible too. I just prefer to do it with a skilled attendant present to catch any signs of trouble. If my midwife recommends transferring or I just feel I would rather be at a hospital, I can always go. But if not, staying home as long as possible turns into just staying home.
As I ponder homebirth, privacy, comfort, support, convenience and a positive birth experience have been nice perks, but they are not the reason I stay home. I stay home because I know the risk of death is the same in or out of the hospital, but the risk of injury, infection and intervention are significantly lower at home. I prefer my body and my baby to be uninjured, uninfected and left alone and that is why Johannes and Willem were born at home.
You can learn more about midwives and homebirth here. Full results of the BMJ study."
Wednesday, June 17, 2009
Here's the conclusion of the study: "Significance for Normal Birth: Epidural use increases the risk of instrumental (forceps or vacuum) delivery in first-time mothers. Experts have proposed various reasons for this association, including diminished urge to push and changes in the tone of the pelvic floor muscles that inhibit proper rotation of the fetal head. Letting the epidural "wear off" has been thought to increase the likelihood of unassisted vaginal birth, however, this systematic review calls into question that common practice.
In normal birth, there are complex hormonal shifts that help labor progress and facilitate delivery. The laboring woman produces natural endorphins that help her manage the pain of labor. Her ability to move freely and assume a variety of positions while pushing work in concert with these hormonal changes. Epidural analgesia numbs the sensations of birth, and the production of natural endorphins ceases as a result of the disruption of the hormonal feedback system. When the epidural is discontinued, the woman's pain returns but her natural endorphins may remain diminished and therefore her pain may be greater than if the epidural had not been given in the first place. Furthermore, when an epidural is administered, the woman is usually confined to bed and attached to fetal monitors and an intravenous line. The woman and provider may become accustomed to laboring in the bed attached to machines. When the epidural is discontinued the restrictions! on her movement may persist. Under these conditions, it is likely that the impact of an epidural on normal birth may outlast the epidural itself."
Two of my own conclusions: First, given that most women giving birth in the hospital receive epidural anesthesia, it makes sense to me that this could be one very common reason so many women are having malpositioned babies that result in "failure to progress" and the subsequent c-section.
Second, every pregnant woman needs to learn during her pregnancy how to encourage her baby to be in the optimal position through proper nutrition, exercise, and posture. It's really sad that not only do most OB's never discuss this with their patients, they probably wouldn't even know what to tell their patients if they wanted to, as this woman learned when she researched what OB's learn at medical school in relation to OFP. (Another plug for Hypnobabies: the classses and the homestudy manual go in depth on how to encourage OFP. ) Check out Doula Mamma's post to learn more. It's very informative.
Thursday, June 11, 2009
Tuesday, June 9, 2009
In another recent post he writes about the homebirth debate. My favorite part is where he discusses the ridiculousness of the current obstetric system in the US where healthy, low-risk women see specialists (obstetricians) for pregnancy and birth. Here's a great quote:
" It seems inefficient to train physicians for years to achieve a high level of emergency obstetric skill, in order to attend births which generally don't require any of those skills. I think this artificially raises the intervention rate on normal births (as a doc said the other day at work, when all you have is a hammer, everything looks like a nail), as well as ill side effects of those interventions. Not only would it lower the intervention rate and probably make birth safer if we handed normal births over to midwives, but it would be a better division of labor and resources. Critical care physicians don't spent 95% of their time seeing healthy adult patients in a family practice clinic. Medicine has already divided critical care from family practice in order to become more efficient and provide more appropriate care. So I don't see why critically-skilled obstetricians devote their time to the 95% of births which are normal and uncomplicated. And no insurance company would pay for you to go see an intensivist if you're healthy and just have the common cold. If insurance companies weren't paying all women to get high-tech obstetric care, my insurance premiums would probably be lower.
Dividing labor (pun intended) between emergency/high-risk obstetrics and midwifery would also produce a better integration between the two, which would be better for those of us (like my wife) who do home birth. There's no reason on earth why most women can't birth at home. There's also no reason why women who choose to birth at home should be treated like second-class patients if they do require emergency obstetric skill. I'm sure if I ever have to transport my wife, even if it's to a hospital I work at, we'll be treated like we have three heads. It's a shame. But I don't think good, patient-friendly integration will ever happen if obstetricians (and their hospitals) are fighting with midwives for the same market. "
Very good points indeed!
Thursday, May 28, 2009
Tuesday, May 26, 2009
Thursday, May 21, 2009
I've wanted to make this for a long time, and I'm so happy to finally get it done! I had to crop the song, so the ending kind of sounds unfinished, but it would take way too many hours to try to get just the right end chord added to the song. Anyway, hope you like it. When I finally viewed the finished product, it brought tears to my eyes! (But when it's my kids, that's not hard to do.)
Thursday, May 14, 2009
The other thing about this story that I love is how a pampered, complaining, unwed, pregnant teenager transforms into an educated, determined, assertive, powerful young mother who falls totally and completely in love with her newborn baby. Is there any doubt that she will do everything in her power to protect and raise that child the very best she can?
If all women were allowed and encouraged to make such a journey, what a different world we would have!
Saturday, May 9, 2009
And then I dreamed Scott and I were talking to someone about the joys of pregnancy, homebirth and babies. I remember saying enthusiastically "That's why we had EIGHT children!" I immediately woke up and thought "WHAAAAT! Where did that come from?" Was this inspiration or my heart not wanting to give up on the idea of doing it one more time? That day I concluded it was just my own thinking, and that the dream had no real significance, but as time has gone by I've wondered if the Spirit was trying to say "Wait a minute--don't be so sure you're done." However I didn't allow myself to seriously consider that possibility until I had the second dream.
In the second dream I dreamed that Talita had a twin sister but that we were so enamored with Talita we forgot all about her sister. When I remembered I felt horrible and ran to this other baby girl. But when I found her, she had no name, and even her face seemed to be a blank. I woke up right then and Scott told me that he had been lying there trying to come up with a spiritual thought for his stake presidency meeting. For some reson he started thinking about how much I have grown to love the experience of pregnancy and birth. However he feels overwhelmed at times with the work involved with taking care of the kids we have already. I sometimes do too but know that it's temporary.
Since it took place at exactly the same time, I wondered if my second dream was influenced by Scott's musings (if that's even possible?) Or was the dream just a manifestation of my own desires and fears? OR is there another little girl for us that we just didn't realize because we have been so focused on getting Talita here? Scott and my logical brain shout "NO, NO, NO!" But my mommyheart says a great big warm and fuzzy "YES!"
Monday, April 27, 2009
"Spontaneous labour in a normal woman is an event marked by a number of processes so complicated and so perfectly attuned to each other that any interference will only detract from the optimal character. The only thing required from the bystanders is that they show respect for this awe-inspiring process by complying with the first rule of medicine--nil nocere [Do no harm]."
Tuesday, April 7, 2009
"I have been a Hypnobabies instructor for a year now and would like to share some of my experiences. I have taught three classes (actually in the middle of one). I am a home birth midwife and all of my Hypnobabies students have been my clients, except for one couple planning a hospital birth.
One hospital couple, the other two couples were my clients, planning a home birth. All of them were first time mothers,and all of them had good experiences using Hypnobabies. The hospital couple used their hypnosis and avoided all medications.
One of the home birth mothers used hypnosis during 24 hours of pre-birthing waves. By the time she was 3 centimeters, she was well rested and nourished. That was at 10 pm. When a mother is 3 centimeters, I ask them to get some sleep if they can. I remind them to put their Hypnobabies CD on, and this is what this mother did. During the night, I got up a few times to check the baby’s heart tones. The mother was resting well. She got up at 9 am the next morning, and when I checked her she was 8 centimeters. She had her baby two hours later.
The second home birth mother was also able to rest through the night using Hypnobabies. In fact, I missed the birth. She had called me at 1:00 am with pressure wasves every 10 minutes lasting 30 seconds. I reminded her to listen to her CD, use her hypnosis and get some rest. She was asked to call me as soon as things changed. Her husband called me at 6:30 am and told me the pressure waves just started to be 5 minutes apart, lasting 60 seconds. I was on my way when he called back 25 minutes later and said he saw the bag of waters bulging. I then heard the mother pushing. Five minutes later, she pushed her baby out. She pushed for a total of five minutes. When I arrived, I asked her if she used Hypnobabies during the night. She said, “Oh yes. It helpd me rest and relax really well. I even slept.”
Second class: Three couples, all home birth.
The first mother didn’t practice her hypnosis much, so she did not use it during her birth. Though, she did fine (VBAC).
The second mother practiced a lot (first time mother), and she used it through 24 hours of pre-birthing waves to help her rest, relax and sleep. By the time I saw her, she was 3 centimeters. She went from 3 centimeters to 8 centimeters in 20 minutes, and had her baby soon after that. She felt that Hypnobabies helped her tremendously through the prebirthing waves.
The third mother (third vaginal birth), who just gave birth today, used her hypnosis throughout her birthing time. She relaxed beautifully.
I have 5 couples in the third class, an we are half way through. They are all first time mothers. I can’t wait to see how they do.
I have been a home birth midwife for over 25 years now. Hypnobabies is amazing for these women! The big difference between teaching home birth couples versus hospital couples is that home birthers already feel empowered, educated and well informed. They don’t have to fight the system. Also, they don’t seem to like the bubble of peace very much. When people approach them with negativity about home birth horror stories, they WANT to say something. And, they do. They feel empowered doing so.
It is such a blessing to be involved with strong, powerful women!"
Wednesday, April 1, 2009
The VBAC issue hits very close to home for me--my 3rd child was born by cesearean section because of an artificial pitocin induction at 38.5 weeks. It changed my future options for all subsequent births and was the catalyst for my research into homebirth. Very important reading for anyone of childbearing age!!!!
Wednesday, March 11, 2009
I finally accepted that Charles' birth video footage was lost forever. =( But I was able to still put this together. It's not ideal, but I'm happy with it. The music is a little different for a birth slide show, but it fits with this pregnancy. We celebrated our 20th anniversary during Charles' pregnancy--never dreaming when we got married that we would be pregnant with our 6th 20 years later. We spent our anniversary at a lovely little bed & breakfast called Somewhere in Time. One of the movies we watched was Father of the Bride part II. The main song of the soundtrack is "Give Me the Simple Life." To me this song epitomizes the simple peace and joy we felt at that time as we were once again adding another precious child to our family. It was a good place to be. =)
Tuesday, March 10, 2009
Friday, February 27, 2009
About a couple months after Tyler passed away, Scott had a dream where we were both laying in bed asleep. He awoke to see a little girl, with curly blond hair standing by our bedside. She looked over me to Scott and said excitedly, "I can’t wait!" Then the dream ended. A few weeks later we were at my mom’s house and Scott was listening to a cd by Daniel Rona about places in the Holy Land and the events that occurred there. He spoke about the daughter of Jairus being raised from the dead by the Savior as it is written in the book of Mark, chapter 5. He explained that when the Savior said to the young girl, "Talitha, cumi." he was not just saying, "Maiden, arise." The word Talitha in Hebrew means female lamb. It was often used as a nickname for little girls with curly hair. Daniel Rona believes that the daughter of Jairus was no stranger to the Savior since he spent over a year living in the area where she lived. He believes, rather that the Savior called her Talitha as an endearing nickname to someone he knew well. As Scott was listening to this story, his eyes filled with tears and he knew the name of the little girl with curly blond hair who was to come to our family.
Among all the philosophies one could choose to follow in life, the choice between two basic but opposing approaches——faith versus fear——influences our lives more markedly than any other."
At that time in my life I was having to choose every day which emotion I would live by: faith or fear. I was so impressed with Joshua’s faith and knew Heavenly Father wanted me to exercise faith like he had. I knew if the Lord blessed us with another boy I would name him Joshua.
Through some miraculous tender mercies we were blessed to find the absolute right people to help us deal with the DCFS and the charges were dropped 9 months after Tyler’s death. Amazingly enough I conceived the night after the whole DCFS nightmare ended. It was as if Heavenly Father was just waiting for the stress of that period to end before sending us the next precious spirit to enter our family.
I had a wonderful pregnancy, healthy and joyous. I also went on an amazing journey of discovering natural childbirth and homebirth. I felt like the Lord was guiding me every step of the way. Joshua’s birth was absolutely the best of all my children’s births. The memory of his birth carried me through moments of postpartum sadness and breastfeeding difficulties. I was then, and still am, filled with gratitude to the Lord for helping me have such an empowering, sacred birth experience. Now, at the age of eight, Joshua has taught me much about faith and unconditional love as he has struggled with some Aspergers tendencies. He is sweet, innocent, and loving, and I have no doubt that he was sent here for me to learn much from.
Nineteen months after Joshua was born we learned we were expecting again. We thought, surely this is our little girl, then we can be done having kids! An ultrasound at twenty weeks revealed another boy. Okay, I thought, were we wrong? Was the dream just a wish? I knew I should be grateful for any baby–boy or girl, but I couldn’t help grieving for the little girl I had thought we would never have. After all I was 40 years old at the time and six kids was a lot! The Lord blessed me, however, to know we weren’t done having kids. A couple weeks after the ultrasound I dozed off while reading my scriptures. As I started waking up I realized I had been dreaming. In the dream I was arguing with someone. The person was saying, "seven kids." And I was saying, "No, six." They kept saying, "No, seven." I wondered who I had been talking to. I picked up in the scriptures where I had fallen asleep and read, "Wherefore, brethren, seek not to counsel the Lord, but to take counsel from his hand. . ." (Jacob 4:10) I felt in my heart that it was not a coincidence. I had to take a walk to think it through and to talk to Heavenly Father about it. By the time I came home, I felt like I really could do it again--if the Lord would help me to be healthy and in shape so the pregnancy would not be too difficult and that it could even be joyful like Joshua’s had been.
The day after his birth , (another incredible homebirth) while talking to a really good friend about the birth and his name, she said, "You have to read about Charles Wesley." I was amazed she thought of him because I had noticed one Sunday during the pregnancy that my favorite Easter Hymn, "Christ the Lord is Risen Today" and my favorite Christmas Hymn "Hark the Herald Angels" were written by Charles Wesley. Was it a coincidence that this baby was conceived at Easter time and would be born at Christmas time? After talking to my friend I asked my daughter, Ali, to look up some information on Charles Wesley on the internet. I was struck with the knowledge that Charles Wesley was born on my birthday, March 29th, (which also happened to be 2 days after Easter that year) and that he died on December 18th. December 18 was Charles’ due date. Coincidence? Who knows. But I have to think that it all ties together somehow. To me it all points back to the Savior and His life and mission.
"I believe you want to be named Talita to remind me and your dad and everyone you meet in mortality to have faith and hope in Christ, His atonement and resurrection. Joseph Brickey’s painting of the daughter of Jarius depicts it well. Though we all have moments of grief and sorrow, the Savior stands at the door. When we’re ready, the door is opened, the light comes pouring in and life is restored, joy and reunion take place, and our mortal moment of suffering is ended. Because of our Lord and Savior, we can have joy forever. This is what you want me to focus on–not the aching loss–but the hope of eternal life and the joyous reunion with loved ones, all made possible because of our beloved Savior. From now on, when I say or think your name I will focus on the Savior standing in a light-filled doorway, just waiting to bring life and joy to my life and our family’s life."
On another day I wrote: "Talita means hope, it means joy, it means Jesus wants to answer our prayers, bring back that which was lost or taken away. He wants to dry our tears, fill us with joy, happiness, and peace. We just have to trust Him that those things will happen at the right time for us. The daughter of Jairus wasn't healed immediately when he asked. Jairus had to wait for the right moment--when he and his wife had suffered just enough, when the doubters and naysayers were gone and they could be alone with the Savior. We will have to wait for the millennium for Tyler's spirit to re-enter his body, to be reunited with him, to be able to embrace him and rejoice together. But it will be the right time then. It will be the right time."
Talita’s labor and birth unfolded much differently than I had expected but was nonetheless amazing and spiritual. The day she chose to come earthside was September 11, 2008. I don’t believe the day was coincidental either. As I have reflected on it over the past three years I believe that she chose that day as another reminder to us to focus not on the sorrow and grief of death, but rather to focus on the One who claimed victory over death, to find peace, joy, and healing in His incredible gifts of life to us.
Although my labor with Talita was long—over 30 hours—it was exactly as it needed to be. Her cord was extremely short and the labor and birth needed to be slow and gentle for a safe birth. She was born at home into the loving hands of my caring, experienced midwives. My husband was behind me holding me and supporting me. When my midwife turned her over on my lap both my husband and I exclaimed with joy “It’s a girl!” Over the next few hours as we said her name, she would turn her head to the sound. It was as if she knew and recognized her name. Her hair was dark and more plentiful than any of my other babies. I wondered if she really would have curly blond hair like in my husband’s dream. It didn’t take long before her hair lightened, and as it got longer beautiful little curls began to take shape. Now at the age of 3 her hair is honey blonde and has beautiful waves and gentle curls to it. She is the only one of our seven kids to have curly hair and I am loving it. As fun as that is, however, it is her sweet, feminine, loving spirit that is an absolute joy to have in our home. At the end of her birth video I put these words: