Friday, December 2, 2011

He Rolled Over

Yesterday Jacob rolled over for the first time. He's getting so big! I cried the other day when I thought about the "What if Jacob was my last baby? Never again to carry a baby inside of me. Never again to experience the birth of another child.". I don't think I'm ready to be done.

However, since they do grow so very fast, I am preserving his tiny days. Lately, Jacob has begun talking and "singing". He's just so funny and animated.

Sunday, November 27, 2011

What A Great Week

We had our two Thanksgivings this week. There is so much to be thanful for. I have my amazing husband, who puts up with me, and my seven darling children.

We spent Thursday with Brent's mother, father, and grandmother. Poor Abby was not feeling well, and didn't eat more than a couple bites. Brent and I cooked the turkey, noodles, cranberry sauce, rolls, and green bean casserole. His mom made the Waldorf Salad an several pies. It was a lot of fun.

Saturday, we spent the day with my mom, dad, brother, sister, and two of my nephews. We had the same meal, except I made a chocolate cheesecake. Abby was feeling better and snacked on a roll, but Sadie was sick. Little Jacob was sick on Friday. It looks like we have a stomach bug making it's way around.

The highlight of the day had to have been with Bekah. It was really pretty gross. I pulled a chunk of ear wax out of Jacob's ear. I told Moses to put it in the trash, but he was too grossed out. Brent said to have Bekah do it. I called her over and put the dried ear wax in her hand, telling her to throw it away. She looked at it, disgusted, and tried to shake it off her hand. When it didn't come off, she ate it!!! Brent, my dad, my sister and I all yelled! We were all cracking up! I was laughing so hard I cried!!! So icky!

Saturday, November 12, 2011

The Life Of A Mother

The very moment you become a mother, your life changes forever.  After that very moment, you are a mother.  Always and Forever.  From that moment on, life is always a series of emotions.  Some happy, some sad.  Through it all, there is no money in the world that I would take to buy those memories.

Take tonight as an example.  I am in the living room with Brent, Hannah, and Jacob.  Then, Brigham walks in the room.  I look down upon his little head, and what do we all see?

A small child trying to look like he had no ideas as to why I would be asking him if he had cut his hair. 

Brigham trying to pretend he didn't cut his hair.

Then he realized he was in trouble, and led us to what he used to cut his hair.  He had snuck scissors from the kitchen, into the bathroom, and cut off his head.  He had gotten within an 1/8 of an inch.  So...  I took him outside, and shaved his head.  He was an 1/8 of an inch from being shaved completely bald. 

Brigham, after realizing he's in trouble.

After the hair cut.

The life of a mother, never ends, and neither to the memories.

Monday, November 7, 2011

Could My Journey Be Starting?

My first home birth was in 2006, with my first son Brigham.  I loved my midwife, Suzanne.  She taught me a lot about pregnancy and birth.  Brigham was my fourth child, and I had no idea how ignorant I was until I began talking with Suzanne.  That is when I decided to begin studying about pregnancy and birth.  I didn't want to be ignorant and uneducated.  I made it my personal journey to know everything I could about natural birth.  I have studied to the point that my husband had started calling me a "Birth Cultist".  Saying that all I do is study and discuss pregnancy and birth.  Somewhere inside of me, I knew what was to come.  I want, like nothing else, to become a midwife.  It is my absolute dream.  For the time being, though, I am wanting to be a doula.  It is my passion.  It is what I would love to do for the rest of my life.  I want nothing more than to help and support women with their pregnancies and births.

With all of this, I am a member of a group on Face Book called Birth Is Normal.  Today, as I've been pondering how to become a doula, they posted a new Document telling me one way to do this.  I am going to post it here, so I can later reference back to it, and maybe it will help someone else.  I found this inspiring, seeing how my path became clouded and confused after reading through the DONA site, and not finding the help that I was seeking.

Here is the document...

So you are thinking about becoming a Doula.....

Overwhelmed and confused where to go from here? Have the passion and desire to help other women through the childbearing year but don't know how to go about it? Here is a little step-by-step guide that will hopefully help you.

First contact local doulas in your area, set up a time with them face-to-face and pick their brain. Ask challenges they face as a doula in your area, how they became a doula, training program they choose and why, do they do doula mentoring, average doula rate for your area, etc. Become familiar with all the doulas within a 2hr radius.

Network with other birth professionals (doulas, midwives, childbirth educators, LC's) in your area, look for the nearest doula network, and contact Le Leache League chapter, ICAN Chapter and other birth group chapters.  Attend meetings and get to know other birth activists.

Watch the following documentaries to learn more about the current status of the maternity health care:
The Business of Being Born
Orgasmic Birth
Attending Birth
Pregnant in America

Read the following books:
Special Women: The Role of the Professional Labor Assistant by Paulina Perez
The Birth Partner by Penny Simkin
The Thinking Woman's Guide to a Better Birth by Henci Goer
Born in the USA by Marsden Wagner
Ina May's Guide to Childbirth by Ina May Gaskin

Get to know your local hospitals and birth centers. Find out if they have midwives on staff, do they offer water birth, what their c-section, induction, epidural, vbac, vaginal twin, rates are. Then find out about practices that serve each hospital and their individual rates for c-section, induction/augmentation, vbac, epidural, etc.

Research the various doula training programs. There are many to choose from! Just a few are:
Birth Arts International(BAI), Childbirth International(CBI), CAPPA, AVIVA, Birthing From Within, DONA, Birth Works, ICEA, Christian Childbirth Association, etc. Remember you can train but you do not have to certify with any organization; however if the area you live in is heavily populated with doulas and there is a lot of competition certification may be necessary.

Join the doula networking site 

Good luck on your journey to empowering women!

Sunday, November 6, 2011

Last night was very interesting.  A few minutes before 11pm, Brent and I were sitting in the living room watching TV.  All of a sudden I noticed things didn't feel right.  I was almost dizzy feeling, like I was being moved back and forth.  I looked at Brent, thinking he was shaking the couch, but he was in the chair, a couple feet away.  Then, thinking there was something wrong with me, I looked at my hands to see if I was shaking.  Very confused, I looked over at the bottle of water next to me.  The water in the bottle was sloshing about.  I looked back up at Brent, who was looking at me, and asked if he felt that.  He had.  We had just gone through our first earthquake.  In Kansas City, Missouri.  I called my mom, but she hadn't felt it.  My brother did (and another one at 1am as well). 

After we went to bed, I woke up when I felt the same feeling.  I jumped awake from my dreams of earthquakes and restless sleep.  My heart was racing, and it took me a bit to calm down.  As I was dozing off, I felt it again, which caused me to jump out of slumber again.  I had thought it was Brent rolling over in bed causing me to relive the feeling.  However, since my brother said he felt it again at 1am, I am wondering if that is what startled me awake. 

Then I had this video brought to my attention...  Saying the New Madrid fault line is showing plumes, and to expect a 5.0 in the next 2-4 weeks (posted Nov 1, 2011).

Saturday, October 29, 2011

Our Facebook Group

We now have a group on Facebook.  It is smaller, at 85 members.  It is full of wonderful women, who are very loving and helpful.  Feel free to stop by and join in our little community.  It is a closed group, so you will need to apply.  However, everything said on the group stays there.  It is not visible on your wall, or other areas of Facebook.

I hope to see you there.

Our Birth Journeys

Wednesday, October 26, 2011

Breast Milk - The Miracle Medicine

The night before last, I woke up in the middle of the night with pink eye. My left eye was burning, itching, scratchy, and partially crusted shut.  Everything I knew was pink eye. 

I was nursing Jacob, so I took some breast milk from my other breast, rubbed it across my eye, and went back to sleep. I did it again in the morning, and about three more times during the day. I did it again before bed, along with my other eye because it was starting to feel like my left eye did the night before. Just to be certain, I rubbed breast milk in both eyes during the night and when I got up this morning.

Both eyes are perfectly fine today.

I love Breast Milk!

It really is amazing all the uses breast milk has, other than feeding your baby.  Breast milk, being high in antibodies and antitoxins really is the Miracle Medicine!

What CAN you use it for?

It is great for cracked nipples.  When breast feeding, more than likely your nipples are going to get sore and possibly cracked.  Just rub a little milk on them after each feeding to help with this.  

Eczema, acne, cuts, diaper rash, burns, bug bites... Just clean the area, then apply breast milk and air dry!

Ear infections?  Yep, it helps with that too.  Just pour or squirt some breast milk into the sore ear.

Do you have a cold?  The flu?  Pneumonia?  Stomach bug?  Drinking breast milk can help with these as well.

For a stuffy nose, you can squirt breast milk into the 

It has even been suggested that breast milk can even kill cancer cells.

Although the special substance, known as HAMLET (Human Alpha-lactalbumin Made LEthal to Tumour cells), was discovered in breast milk several years ago, it is only now that it has been possible to test it on humans. Patients with cancer of the bladder who were treated with the substance excreted dead cancer cells in their urine after each treatment, which has given rise to hopes that it can be developed into medication for cancer care in the future... ( 

According to the Iowa Extension Service, every teaspoon of breast milk has 3,000,000 germ killing cells in it; so if a baby gets even one tsp. a day, it is very valuable!
.. it has been shown in man and in several animal models that immunisation via the gut, and also the lungs, stimulates a special population of antibody-producing B lymphocytes. They appear in large numbers in special aggregations in the gut - the Peyer's patches. These lymphocytes leave the gut after having met bacteria and viruses there and move or "home" to exocrine glands such as the mammary, lacrimal and salivary glands, as well as glands in the mucosal membranes of the bronchi and the gut. As a consequence, human milk contains sIgA antibodies against all those bacteria and viruses which have been in the mother's gut. This gives the milk capacity to protect against those microorganisms to which the infant is exposed, because they are usually the same as those its mother has been in contact with.
source: L A Hanson et al. Breastfeeding protects against infections and allergy. Breastfeeding Review; Nov l988 , pp l9 - 22.

For some interesting tables and charts on breast milk, and it's antibacterial, antiviral, antimicrobial, anti parasitic factors... Go here...

Sunday, October 16, 2011

The Diaper Experiment

Well, the other day I finally got around to making my first cloth diaper for Jacob.  I started out really late, cutting the pattern out at 11:30 pm.  I wanted to make one, and cut into the fleece blanket I had bought just for this project.  I knew most of what I was doing, but still needed a little help from my mom with the elastic.  I had no idea what it was wanting me to do.  After reading the instructions multiple times, we decided to pull out a fleece diaper I had bought from someone on a Cafemom group (Cuties With Cloth Booties).  We quickly figured out what I was needing to do.  As I was finishing up the last bit of stitching, my mom mentioned it was almost 2:30 am.  Come to find out, sewing is like a time warp.  I was abducted by my sewing machine, and lost several hours of my life! 

The diaper turned out perfect, though.  I was so happy with it!  The stitching was perfect, and for a first diaper it was amazing!  I was even more shocked at how much easier the diaper was to sew than the nursing pads.  I really just hate circles.  As a beginner at sewing, circles are something I need to practice.

It's a pretty easy pattern. I was only stumped for a bit on the elastic (how to sew it in), but got it after a bit. Here's the to the pattern. Anyway, Jacob loves his new diaper.

Friday, September 16, 2011

Healthy Eating Once Again

Now that Jacob is born, I am looking to get back into my pre-pregnancy weight. My plan is to drink lots of water, like 3/4 of a gallon of water. AFTER that, I can drink milk or 100% juice. I am going to start eating healthier. Whole grains, lots of fruit and vegetables, limited white sugars/flour/sweets. I know it's not possible for me to cut out all the "bad foods" right now. There is really no point in making that part of my plan, when I know it's not going to happen. It will only make me feel like a failure, and I'll just quit.

I am also going to start exercising again. I'm going to start off with 10 push-ups (girl style), 25 reps of the kettle bell, and 25 hindu squats ( for the first week. I'm going to start tomorrow, take Sunday off, and then start up again on Monday-Friday. After those get easier, I'll add 5 per exercise. I am also planning on starting up my 30 Day Crunch video again, once I find it in my packed boxes.

What are some of your favorite foods, exercises, and ways to get your body healthy again?

Thursday, September 15, 2011

The Good, The Bad, and The Ugly

On Saturday, September 3rd, Brent, myself, Jacob, and Rebekah headed up to Gallatin to check out a storage facility that is for sale. We talked to the man about it, and are now waiting for the contract to be written up. We will be "managing to own" a storage facility. It has 31 units, all but 2 are rented out. It also has 4 store fronts, so we can do our BBQ (so excited!) because we can get one set up as a commercial kitchen! One would be for the office, and the other two are private enough that we can remodel them a little and make them into a living quarters until we get some land!

After we got back on Saturday, we prepared for Monday's "festivities". It was Labor Day, and we were spending the day at Brent's Grandmother's with his parents, and other family and friends. We had hamburgers, hot dogs, potato salad, watermelon, and I brought some dessert (brownies, pecan pie, and pumpkin pie).

Just before dinner, Bekah was getting a little grumpy. She had eaten a little breakfast, and flat out refused lunch, so I was sure she was grumpy because she was hungry. It didn't help she was getting 3 teeth all at once either (a molar, eye tooth, and front tooth). Sandy (Brent's mom) gave Bekah some watermelon, and she ate a few pieces. Then, a few minutes later, dinner was ready. I made her plate, but she refused to eat it. She just cried. I took her and put her in bed and she went to sleep. At that time I didn't think she felt hot. Sandy said earlier she had felt hot (feverish), but it seemed to have gone down.

After a while, Brent, the kids and I all went downstairs where Bekah was resting. She began getting fussy around 9, and Hannah said she felt hot again. I asked her to go get a sippy cup of ice water. When Hannah got back downstairs, she said Bekah didn't look right. They were behind Brent and I. We turned around, and Hannah was holding Bekah up, with her arms wrapped under Bekah's arms. Bekah was just dangling there (Brigham kept trying to give Bekah her sippy cup). Something was definitely not right. Bekah was in the middle of a febrile seizure (a first for us).

I will admit right now that I completely lost it. I was absolutely terrified and on the inside was having a total break down. On the outside, it wasn't much better. Brent grabbed up Bekah and held her. I called 911. That was an ordeal in itself. I dialed on Brent's grandmother's phone, and waited for what seemed like forever (probably 10 seconds), and it didn't ring. I looked at the phone and yelled at it. At that time, everyone else in the room looked at me funny. I told them Bekah was having a seizure, and they all began to move around to help. I tried dialing again, but the phone line was dead (GREAT!). I pulled my cell phone out and got through (by that time she was getting better and I didn't actually NEED to call, but I found that out later).

The police got there within minutes, followed by the fire department, then the paramedics. Come to find out, when you mention 18 month old, they all come running. Brent went with her to the hospital. I wanted to sooo bad, but I had Jacob, and there was no way they would let him in, and I didn't want him exposed to all the hospital germs. When we went outside to the ambulance, you should have seen the street. The entire street was filled with flashing lights. There was the ambulance, 2 fire responder vehicles, and around 5 police cars, all in a little culdesac. I said later that you just can't have a good holiday without the entire police force showing up at your front door.

Brent got to Children's Mercy around 10pm. Bekah was responsive, but still not feeling well. Here's a picture Brent took of her in the ER waiting room.

We were all pretty shaken up. Hannah kept saying if only she would have gotten the water to her faster (I told her that there was NOTHING she could have done to prevent it), Sadie couldn't stop crying (they have a special bond), Brigham couldn't understand why Bekah wouldn't take the cup from him. He kept saying that he tried to give it to her, but she wouldn't take it. When Sandy and Bill were telling him that Bekah went to the hospital, he responded back that the hospital is where people go to die. How sad that he thought she was going to die! We told him that she went there to get looked at and would be home soon. Abby and Moses were doing fine. Abby was skipping around (LOL), and Moses was next door with great grandma and the company talking about dinosaurs (Jurassic Park) and Ghost Busters.

Now, the delima that came to be was that Brent was at the hospital, and had no way to get home. I didn't know how to get to the hospital, and had baby man. What to do? My cousin Stephanie said she could give us a ride (so sweet of her), and took Sadie and myself to Children's Mercy. I left Jacob with my mom, thinking they would get out soon (LOL - Yeah right). After 5 hours, we FINALLY saw a doctor, who went over what we should do if it happens again.

Here's Brent and Bekah waiting in the room.

Basically, Bekah has a 30% chance of another febrile seizure, she'll out grow them by 6 at the latest, if it lasts more than 5 minutes - take her in or call 911, a fever reducer wouldn't have prevented it, and her (or my other children) will probably pass it on to their children.

I learned from questioning others and my own studies that she needs a high fat diet. The brain cannot handle the fever if it doesn't have enough fat.

Overall, it was a frantic and traumatic learning experience. I don't want to go through that again, but I will be watchful during each fever we have from now on. Bekah is doing fine, and is as ornery as she always has been.

We are now preparing for our move, coming up soon! Nothing but sunny skies ahead, if I have anything to say about it.

Thank you Heavenly Father and Mother for watching over my family!

Thursday, August 11, 2011

8 Days Old - I'm Exhausted

My man is 8 days old. It has been an emotionally draining day.

First thing's first. Our little man now has a name. I would like to officially welcome Jacob Porter Hartman to the family. What a name. It fits him perfectly. Our little Jacob!

Second... Jacob had an experience of his own today. In our family, we believe in the Token Of The Covenant. On the 8th day, the boys get their circumcision with a Mohel. So, this afternoon, Jacob saw the Mohel and was circumcised. It is always, as a mother, hard to see your baby go through that. As necessary as it is for us (our beliefs), it's a moment of happiness and sadness. It was so fast (about 15 seconds start to finish). He is doing great. What a trooper. He's now sleeping in my arms.

It's been such an exhausting day. With the mixed happy and sad feelings, then, on the way home a song came on the radio. A song that played at my best friend Tara's funeral. That was really too much for me. My brain is short circuited, and I am emotionally fried.

Wednesday, August 10, 2011

7 Days Old Today

My little man! He's a week old already! It's almost sad that so much time has passed. He is such a perfect baby. He sleeps amazingly! Last night he slept so long in his bassinet that I got up to check on him, and make sure he was okay. He's so sweet and snuggly!

His little umbilical cord fell off today. It was really wanting to hang on when using the cloth diapers. Yesterday, though, I decided he needed to go to sposies to keep the cord dry. The cloth were just too damp at times to let it dry out. It worked. I kept putting the Golden Seal powder on the cord, and it dried up and fell off by today.

Tomorrow is his "big" day. At 4:15 is his appointment with the Rabi to get his circumcision. He will also get his official name. I say he's having his Naming Ceremony. I am so excited. Brent and I talked about the name today. I really liked Porter Nathanial, but we both agreed that Porter was not what we "felt" his name was. I think we've come to an agreement on his name. We just have to see our child, and feel what his real name is. This time it just took a little longer, but according to Jewish tradition (although we're not "Jewish"), the official naming is during the bris, on the 8th day. That will be his as well.

Other exciting news for the day. I entered a contest on the Cuties With Cloth Booties blog, and won a free cloth diaper for my little man!!! How very exciting! We also have a bunch of cloth, and my mom and I are going to try to make some diapers, probably next week, after we get our big "House Clean Out" finished. :)

Friday, August 5, 2011

Our Newest Little Man - Born August 4, 2011 at 39 Weeks and 3 Days

Our baby was not officially due until August 8. I was not too worried about an early delivery, since all my previous babies had been born on, or after, their guess date. Hannah being our exception, since she was induced early for no reason (my own ignorance).

Brent and I went to bed at about 11:30 pm on Wednesday night. At midnight, contractions started in. I had been having them off and on for a few weeks. Usually lasting a good 12 hours. This time, however, they were down low, in my cervix, instead of up high on the top. There was a definite difference in these contractions. There was a pressure, a pushing down. I was awake more than asleep. Going between using the bathroom, and listening to my Hypnobirthing soundtrack in my restless sleep. At about 7 am I got up and decided to take a shower. It was such a wonderful feeling. The warm water took so much of the pain away. There were still a few contractions that I had to squat through during my shower and just after as I got dressed. Then, after I got dressed, they stopped completely.

Yep. That's how things had been going for several weeks. I had just gone through another 7 hours of hard contractions, and then nothing. I was a little disappointed, but I wasn't quite ready. I looked at it as 7 hours of labour that I had gone through and was 7 hours closer to having baby. We still had some things to do in the house before I wanted baby to come. We also had some plans to visit Brent's friend a little over an hour north of us. We were going to look at some land he had for sale, and visit with him and his wife for a while.

At 10 am I had only had around 3 very mild contractions, so I told Brent that we should go and visit his friend. I could tell he was a little weary of going so far away from home, but I grabbed up my birth kit, baby clothes and extra cash. I said all else, we'll get a hotel and have the baby there. Seeing that I wasn't too concerned, and feeling pretty good, he agreed to go. It was a trip we were both wanting to take, and I think overall it was a good distraction for me.

We traveled up north to his friend's house. I had a few contractions, but nothing that really concerned me. As we were at their house, we were talking at their kitchen table, and I started getting some stronger contractions. The ones that I had to close my eyes and focus on relaxing and breathing through. They were still only about 20 minutes apart. We went out around noon, and looked at the land... Well, Brent and Jeff looked at the land. I stayed in the van and fell asleep while they tromped through the woods. I wasn't really up to ticks, poison ivy, and walking through the woods with contractions. A little later they came back and we went back to their house for lunch.

At 1 pm we ate lunch. I just opted for salad and some chicken broth. I was beginning to realize that labour was kicking in, and I was pretty sure that I was going to be having the baby that day. Knowing what I know, only 2 of my births had not included getting sick. I only wanted to eat soft, easy to throw up foods. I began to time them, and they were 10-15 minutes apart. I knew that from past experiences (except Moses's whirlwind birth) that usually gave me plenty of time, I laid down and dozed on the love seat as Brent sat on the couch and talked with Jeff about Church history. They asked several times if I was doing alright, and I said yes. A little after 4 pm, I was not feeling good anymore. Brent and I decided to go ahead and head back home around 5:30 pm. By that time, I was at about 5-7 minutes between contractions. However, as we walked out their door, they got so much worse. I had to stop in their driveway, half squat, breathe and I started crying. They had instantly gone from 5-7 minutes to 2-3 minutes apart just by walking to the van! I felt bad for Brent, because he was driving and I could just see him wondering if we were going to make it.

He was awesome. He did speed a little, but not bad (I kept teasing him about getting pulled over). He kept telling jokes and kept the mood light in the van. I'm not really sure if it was for him or me that he was doing this for. I really helped me, though. He was also starving, as we hadn't eating much that whole day, and I was feeling sick. He said a few times (jokingly) how he was going to starve, and I didn't want to stop and eat.

It was a hard trip for me, though. I felt such pressure. Most of the contractions were so hard, and I did my best to relax, and picture my cervix opening wider through each contraction. I read how this worked in a book by Ina May Gaskin. How they actually felt a mother's cervix open when she visualized it opening during a contraction. At one point, I told Brent that I changed my mind. That I loved being pregnant. That I wanted to stay pregnant forever. He laughed and said it's too late now.

When we got onto the back road leading to the house, we ended up getting stuck behind someone going 40. It was 55 on that road. There was nothing but hills, and we couldn't pass. I had to start laughing. I told Brent it was like the movies where they start yelling, "My Wife Is In Labour!". We both laughed at that.

He asked me where we wanted to go, my mom's or his Grandma's house. I really wanted to get in the tub. I knew that his Grandmother's tub was almost never used, and was very clean. At my mom's, the kids all use the tub, and I did't want to clean it to get in and labour in. I wanted it to be super clean and sterile enough for me if I happened to have the baby. We got to his Grandmother's house, and we realized that we didn't have our sterile gloves. They were at my parent's house. Brent grabbed Hannah (and I thought Sadie) our two oldest who were staying at his Grandmother's to help her out, checked on me to ask if I was okay and if there was time to go. I was sitting on the toilet trying to get through contractions. I said I thought so. He went out the door. Then 30 seconds later, Sadie pops in and asks if I'm okay. That Brent wanted her to check on me. I said yes, that I was running a bath. She went on out, and I though she left with her dad.

I moved myself slowly from the toilet to the tub. A laborious effort, considering they were only like 2 feet away from each other. I got in the tub, and it was so nice and warm. I had one really hard contraction that just about knocked me over. I got on my knees, sitting on my feet, and leaning forward on my hands. My contractions were almost nonexistent feeling because of the water. I was amazed at how much it eased the pain. Why hadn't I ever done this before?!

I reached inside of myself to see where baby was, or if I could even feel baby. I got 1/2 a finger inside of me and immediately felt something round.

"Is that the baby's head?", I immediately thought? I touched it again, and it just disintegrated at my touch. Water flowed out of me, and a tiny bit of bloody show. My bag of waters! I felt it, and then felt it release into the tub. I looked at the not quite as clean bath water, and immediately knew that baby had not passed meconium. That was good.

I was completely calm. I was both doctor and patient. I felt inside of myself again, and a full finger length up was the baby's head. I had never felt this before. I had always just let someone else take control of my births. Even with our last, our first unassisted birth, I let Brent take over and I just told him what to do. I had not wanted to move, to reach, and feel what was going on. I knew what should happen. What to look for. I could "see" it all, with my mind's eye. I felt baby's head again, and knew it felt funny. I couldn't tell what it was that I was feeling. It was a lump, a cord like feeling. I immediately wondered if that was the umbilical cord. I knew that I had to know quickly. I felt again, and kind of pinched to feel it better. It wasn't a pinch to break, but to get a better feel. That is when I could tell it wasn't the cord, but a bunch of the sack on his head from when it broke. I was calmed and knew that it was almost over. Baby was in the birth canal. All that was left was to push my little baby out. That sounds easy enough, but having done this before, I knew what it consisted of.

I waited for another contraction, but they had slowed down since getting into the water. Still on my hands and knees, I leaned back, sitting on my feet. Then got back onto my knees and leaned forward, half way stretched out. Then righted myself back to the hands and knees position. That got the contraction started. I felt inside of me and pushed hard. I felt the baby move down to the opening. I stopped and waited, again, for another contraction. After nothing happening, I again leaned back and forward to produce another contraction. I gave a hard push, and baby made it maybe 1/3 of the way out before I stopped and relaxed, feeling baby move back up inside of me. At this time, I was mentally moving back from doctor to patient. I for a second or two thought how hard this was and how it hurt. How I didn't want to go on.

I then changed back to doctor mode. I thought of when my two boys (4 and 3 years old) cry when they have a hard poop. How I tell them they just have to push it out. The longer they wait, the longer it's going to hurt, and that it HAS to come out sooner or later. I mustered up all my mental energy. When I had my next contraction, I pushed. I pushed hard, but slowly, and with complete control. I felt my baby's head stretch the skin. I held the head, and massaged the skin to help prevent tearing (not the easiest thing to do on yourself). I wanted to stop, but knew I couldn't. I kept pushing. I wanted to cry out (but was completely silent for this entire experience). It hurt. It stretched. It burned. Then, when I though for sure I couldn't do it any more, the head was out. Oh, my! What absolute relief!

Then, baby began to wiggle. Never had I experienced this! Still underwater, baby's head was moving around, like he was twirling around. He was moving his arms around inside of me, wiggling. His head was twisting and turning. I gave another great push to get him out for good. This was, strangely enough, harder than any of my other babies. Normally the body is the easy part for me, but being in this odd position (hands and knees still), I had to lean forward and push him more behind me. Then, as his body began to slowly slide out, I moved back up and guided him back toward my stomach. He was out! I had my baby, all by myself, in the water, and I caught him!

We had another little boy! I held him under the water for a few seconds. He was so calm. As I took him out, he cried. I held him to me, but didn't get the skin to skin contact I was expecting. I forgot I was wearing a shirt. It was too wet to take off, so I just held him to me.

Then, Sadie (my 13 year old daughter) knocked on the door. I didn't know she was there. She came in and helped me with baby. We looked at him, and he was perfect. She got my phone and took a picture of him in the tub.

I then told her to call Brent. She grabbed the phone and I think all she said was, "It's a boy". She went and fetched a towel I had set aside and, still in the tub, we wrapped him up in the towel. I drained some of the water, and refilled it with cleaner, warm water. I tried to nurse him, and he tried, but wasn't too interested. Sadie got my Shepherd's Purse tea (Brent had my birth kit in the van, but I remembered to grab the tea). I drank half, then tried to nurse baby again, and then drank the other half.

Brent came in, and saw that we were all doing good. He made sure I was okay, and baby was doing well. He got out his phone and took a picture of me with baby in the tub...

I then told him he hadn't seen baby's face yet! I unlatched baby and faced him toward Brent. He got another sweet picture of him...

What a sweet baby man! We waited an hour to cut the cord. We tied it, and cut it. Then Sadie got another dry towel. He got wrapped up and Sadie got to hold him. Then Brent took him out as his mom came into the house. I had Sadie shut the bathroom door, and I birthed the placenta in the emptied tub. I laughed, saying the tub looked like a murder scene. Sadie had Brent get a gallon zip lock bag for the placenta (which really grossed him out to hold the bag). I did a really good job of not letting the placenta touch him. I cleared out the room, drained the tub, and took a shower (to clean both myself and the tub).

As I was drying off, Brent and his mom were drying off baby and weighing him. He was born at 7:05 pm Thursday, August 4, 2011. He weighted 8 lbs exactly.

I came out of the bathroom and helped dress him, and then the pictures started.

He's a great baby. He doesn't cry much. He slept all night last night. I had to keep waking him up to nurse him. At about 5 am, I couldn't sleep because of after birth pains. I got up with baby, and we slept in the recliner in the living room until about 8 am.

He's doing good.

Wednesday, July 20, 2011

Lots Of Contractions Lately

So, as of Thursday of last week, I've been having lots of contractions. On Sunday, when I went to bed they were between 3 minutes apart to being on top of one another (and I had to breathe through them). I practiced my hypnobirthing, and it relaxed me enough to where after about an hour I fell asleep.

They continued throughout my restless sleep. I would dream I was in labour, wake up, and was still having the contraction from my dream. They slowed down the next morning to about every 10-20 minutes, but since we were going on our fishing trip (LOL - Yep we went), I made DH drive. I just took my birth kit. ;)

Things have slowed down a lot. I knew I wasn't in labour. I did find out that I could visuize my cervix on Sunday night and actually feel it changing and opening some. It was amazing! I found I could relax much faster by visualizing my cervix opening.

It was a really wonderful experience to work on my mental state. I hope I can keep it up when my final labour starts up.

I will admit that I was kind of hoping I was in labour. However, at 37 weeks, I want to wait a few more weeks.

Friday, July 15, 2011

Bad Day

It's just been a bad couple of days. I'm just really stressed out, and have been having a lot of contractions because of it. I've been resting a lot.

Wednesday, July 13, 2011

Checking Dilation Without A Vaginal Exam

While cruising the internet, I came across this. Although, I don't feel cervical dilation tells us anything about when baby will come, I do think this is interesting. I am not big on internal vaginal exams. I think that if you are wanting to check your cervical dilation, this would be the way to do it.

Here is the info from Anne Frye in the book Holistic Midwifery, Vol. II, p. 376.

Determine how many fingerbreadths of space are between the fundus and xiphoid process at the height of a contraction.

"...During a contraction and with mom on her back, determine how many fingerbreadths of space are between the fundus [top of the uterus] and xiphoid process [the triangular tip of the breastbone] at the height of a contraction.

5 fb = no dilation
4 fb = 2 cm
3 fb = 4 cm
2 fb = 6 cm
1 fb = 8 cm
0 fb = complete"

Here is what Anne Frye says:

As the space between the xiphoid and the fundus shortens (becomes narrower), dilation advances. This occurs, in part, because the upper segment of the uterus thickens as labor advances. The uterus also rises more as contraction intensify.

To use the fingerbreath method, it should be the height of the contraction and she should be on her back.

Another tip from Anne Frye
Many women have a bloody show as the presenting part passes through the fully dilated cervical os. This show should be quite mucilaginous and stretchy; a trickle of brighter blood near the end of dilation, accompanied by lots of suprapubic pain, can also mean a cervical lip is being pulled down with the presenting part.

I also found this information: What You Don't Know About Your Cervix Can Ruin Your Birth.

Baby Pains

Lately, I've noticed more and more that I almost never feel baby on my left side. Baby is always sitting and pushing way over on the right. Just below my bottom rib, and above my hip bone. My muscles on the right side are so tired and sore. Baby is always there. I try to move baby, but the only time he/she moves is when I lay flat on my left side. Even then, the movement to the left is very minimal. Last night it was like baby was laying with the body pushing into my right rib area and the legs into my left hip (diagonal). That's as much left side baby I've felt for as long as I can remember with this baby. Normally, my babes are all over both sides.

A little back story. I thought at first it might have been related, but now I don't think so.

Last year, the day after I had Bekah I began having severe pain on my right side. It was like my right ovary was stuck in a muscle, or something. I would take my fist and push on it (to the left) to try to move it. Finally, after a couple days, I pushed again with my fist, trying to move it back left, and it made a literal "pop" feeling. It was instantly better, and I was only left with my after birth pains, which I must say felt very minimal compared to what I had been feeling.

Today I tried again to push baby from the right to the left side. I really paid attention to what baby was doing. He/she did move to the left side, completely, but it was just a very dulled feeling. It was as if I there was a barrier between baby and my nerves. This made me think it might be what a few others suggested. The placenta is probably on the left side, blocking me from feeling baby.

Otherwise, everything is going great. I'm 36 weeks and 2 days along. I'm still getting things ready, but am mentally prepared. As much as I can be, anyway.

Thursday, June 9, 2011

Our Birth Journey Story

My story is about our journey into natural birth.  When I was 25, my husband and I began trying to conceive our 4th child.  We were also in the middle of a spiritual transition.  It was during that time that my husband read a quote to me from a leader in our religion.  The quote was short, but made a big impact on me.  It said, "It will be so in a little time that not a woman in all Israel will dare to have a baby unless she can have a doctor by her" (Brigham Young). 

It was then that I began reflecting upon my previous births.  Now, I will say, that they were not "bad" experiences.  However, they were not good either.  They were not something that I would look upon and say, "I would love to repeat that experience". 

About three months later, we got pregnant (March of 2006).  That was when I began seriously looking into home birth.  I had never considered birthing anywhere other than in the hospital.  Birthing at home was so foreign to me.  I seemed so "Old Fashioned".  It felt so right.  I had a deep calling within my soul that I must have this baby at home.  I had a horrible foreboding that something bad would happen if I was to birth in the hospital.  It was a feeling that I didn't understand.  Home birthing alien to me.  Why was I having these feelings?  I knew to follow those promptings, though.  I didn't want to find out if the dark feelings about the possible hospital birth was true or not.  I would not take that chance.

I began researching home birth.  I studied all day, while my husband was at work, day in and day out.  My husband is a man who listens to facts and studies.  I printed out papers on Home Birth vs Hospital Birth studies, safety statistics, midwife facts, and so on.  I wanted him to know that what I felt was right was also safe.  I approached him one day and just laid it all out.  I told him how I felt and what I wanted.  To my surprise and astonishment, all he said was that he agreed.  He was feeling the same way about the birth.

I began looking for midwives, but soon found out that in Missouri, that was not an easy task.  Missouri is not exactly a "Home Birth Midwife Friendly" state.  The closest midwives I could find were on the complete opposite end of the state.  A good 5 hour drive.  I searched for months, and began to feel like I was going to end up having an unassisted birth, which I was not ready nor comfortable with at that point in my life.  It wasn't until my 28th week of pregnancy that I found my midwife.  I stumbled across her on the internet, on a site called Birth Partners.  She was just across the river in Kansas.  I immediately sent her an email, and by the next day, she had responded and we made a time for her to visit me at my home.

When she came for my first "appointment", I loved her.  She was so different then the OB/GYNs that I was used to.  She spent a long time talking with me, explaining what she was doing, why she was doing it, and what it ment.  I was shocked at how ignorant I was about pregnancy and birth.  This was my 4th baby, and I knew nothing!  She opened my eyes to the importance of taking my pregnancy and birth into my own hands.  I was responsible for this child.  I needed to understand what was happening, instead of just "doing what I was told".  She taught me a lot.

Late, the night of December 19, 2006, my husband and I went to bed.  We had stayed up way later than we should have, but I was feeling good.  No contractions, or any sign of upcoming labour even though I was 3 days past my guess date.  As I laid down in bed, I thought how in the morning I would put that waterproof mattress pad down for just in case my water broke.  About 4 hours later, I woke to what I am sure was a popping noise and water hitting my knees.  I jumped out of bed and ran to the bathroom.  Sure enough, I was a night too late for that waterproof mattress pad.  My water had broken in bed.  I woke up my husband, telling him the good news was that I didn't wet the bed.  The bad news was we weren't getting any sleep.  We called my midwife, and a friend of mine who is a professional photographer.  She really wanted to document our birth, and took over 300 pictures of the labour and birth, put them on a CD and gave it to us. 

I laboured for 8 hours with our first son.  It was hard.  It was painful.  It was amazing!  When he was born, I had never experienced anything like it with any of my previous births.  It was truely the most memorable thing I had every been through.  I had done it!  I had birthed my baby at home, completely naturally!

That birth completely transformed my idea of what birth was.  We went on to have another baby, assisted by our friend, in 2008.  Then again, our 3rd home birth in 2010.  That time, after years of study, and preparing myself mentally, physically, and spiritually, our 6th child and 4th daughter was born assisted only by my husband and my 11 year old daughter.  Our first Unassisted Birth! 

Now, a year and a half later, we are expecting our 7th baby.  Our 4th home birth.  Our 2nd planned Unassisted Birth.  As I write this, I am 31 weeks along in the pregnancy.  I continue to study, prepare, and practice my Hypnobirthing.  We are hoping for a water birth (our first).  Only God knows what will happen, and I pray daily for thanks that we are, once again, blessed with this opportunity to welcome another blessed spirit into our family.

If you would like to read the birth stories, and view the pictures.  You can see them at Our Pioneer Life (for the first 4 - including my 1st home birth), and Our Birth Journeys - baby Moses and Our Birth Journeys - baby Rebekah (for the last 2). 

Amanda Hartman

Wednesday, June 8, 2011

31 weeks 2 days

Things are still going great. As of now, I'm still showing a weight gain of only 10 pounds. However, I had some "extra weight" that has been burning off while baby weight has been adding on. I've been eating healthier, although the last few days I've nit been doing so well at keeping away from soda. :( I'm cutting myself off. The only other issue is acid reflux. Ugh! I hate it! LOL! It's strong all the time. The papaya tablets aren't working quite as well, so I'm going to look into Heartburn Soother tea and KYOGREEN--it is a wheat and barley powder mix that you mix with water. Hopefully one will help.

I'm getting excited as the day gets closer. The awful thing is that the birth is righ in the middle of our Kettle Corn season. It's going to cause issues, but there is nothing that can be done about it. :)

Anyway, baby's growing and I'm really feeling good overall.

Tuesday, May 3, 2011

26 Weeks 1 Day

Wow! Time sure has passed by on this one. We are doing great. My tummy has popped. I've gained about 7 pounds so far. Baby is moving all the time. I've been keeping my records together, and everything is great. I just need to try to motivate myself to exercise.

I've got some of my birth kit together, but not all of it. Still a few odds and ends to gather up.

I don't have any recent pictures, or any "good" pictures. Here's one I took myself 2 weeks ago at "24 Weeks".

Wednesday, March 9, 2011

A Little Update On The Midwifery Bill

Here is an e-mail I got from FOMM.

From Friends of Missouri Midwives [FoMM]

Have you all sent your emails to the Committee members, opposing Talboy's "Regulate Midwives Out of Existence Bill" (House Bill 301)? Or the latest assignment - the emails to House Leadership and a "thank you" to our new bill sponsor, Thomas Long?
Perhaps it seems as though your little emails can't make much of a difference. If you're like me, you may sit at the computer, staring at the screen for a long time, trying to figure out WHAT to say. You backspace your email six times, thinking it doesn't communicate what you want to say about why you love and respect midwives. And then you go to bed in frustration, wondering if anyone else did the assignment and sent the emails...

I spent several long days at the Capitol last week and was pleased to stop by a committee members office and hear the assistant tell me, "We've received more emails on this midwifery thing than any other issue this year, by a LONG shot!"
I asked her if they were for or against Talboy's bad bill.
She said, "Well, at first it was just moms and midwives emailing us, but now we're hearing from the doctors, too, so it's kind of a mix these days. Both sides are being pretty vocal." I pressed her for more details, and she finally said, "Well, the moms and midwives are definitely still ahead of the doctors on the emailing! It's obvious that a LOT of people in Missouri are worried about us taking away their midwives!" I had to smile to myself that YOUR emails are making a difference. That you've made midwifery the BIGGEST POLITICAL ISSUE that over a dozen representatives have heard about all year!! Let's keep it that way! If you haven't taken the time to sit down and send your emails, please do it today! And then have your mother, and your husband and your neighbor and your friend at MOPs send them emails, too!

Lastly, the cherry on top was a snippet from the Missouri State Medical Association's newsletter that a "little bird" forwarded to us:
"...It has come to our attention that since the hearing, committee
members have been bombarded with emails and phone calls from midwifery
supporters from all across the country. The midwife lobby is clever and
slicker than snot on a doorknob. We are clearly getting out-spammed and
our message is getting drowned out."

Way to go, Friends of Missouri Midwives! We're ahead! Keep up the good work!

Monday, February 28, 2011

The Truth About Home Birth And Hospital Birth

By Sheila Stubbs ©2005

Home birth should never be recommended to anyone who is afraid of having the baby at home. If a woman feels safer in the hospital, she will labor better in the hospital.

In spite of all the childbirth education available today, it seems that women fear childbirth as much as they ever did – and perhaps even more so. Thanks to the media, childbirth is perceived as a risky event. The hospital is considered to be the safest place for both mother and child because of its modern technological equipment.

What do the Statistics Say?

Did you know that no study has ever proven that hospital birth is safer?

When hospital birth has been defended as safer than home births, all out-of-hospital births were used in the statistical data, including births that occurred in taxi cabs and newborns found in trash cans.i That is not a realistic representation! A well-informed, healthy, couple planning a homebirth should not be compared to a fifteen-year-old drug addict who gives birth in a toilet at the mall! A reliable comparison between home and hospital births would have to include parents who were matched, couple by couple, for age, number of pregnancies, education, socioeconomic status, and risk factors.

Such a study was actually done in California by Dr. Lewis Mehl, MD, and included over 1000 couples.

· A bottle of champagne and a cake for the party afterward!
· Birth Day Party gifts for other children, wrapped and ready. (Some find a video is a good gift, using it for mom/baby rest time.) Surprise your helper with a gift for her too.

Other Things Some Couples Like to Have
· a large mirror - to watch the birth
· hot water bottle or heating pad
· talc or lotion for back massage
· bendable drinking straws, ice chips
· rocking chair
· your favorite laboring music.
· disposable diapers
· petroleum jelly – helps clean off those first black baby poops.

Other preparations
· Be prepared to meet with negative reactions. Some people may think you have just taken a terrible risk!
· Be prepared to prove the baby is legally yours! A camera that stamps the date might be a good idea.
· Be prepared to limit visitors. They may forget that just like hospital patients, you still need your rest.
· Be prepared to accept help. If someone offers, they will be happy to know exactly what they can do. “How nice of you to offer! There’s a load of laundry in the dryer that needs folded, and could you sweep the kitchen floor please?”

This study, outlined below, clearly shows that planned home birth by informed, healthy couples had superior outcomes to hospital birth. ii

Hospital Birth Home Birth
1st Stage of Labour 8 hours average 12 hours average
2nd Stage of Labour 42 minutes avg. 72 min. average
3rd Stage of Labour 5 minutes avg. 22 min. average
birth injuries 30 0
elective induction 22 0
amniotomy 56 6
episiotomy 87.4% 9.8%
pain medication 75% 5%
oxytocin - 3rd stage 95% 24%
forceps 35% 1.6%
oxygen required 8.9% 1.2%
Cesarean required 8.2% 2.7%

You will notice that all stages of labour all are accomplished in less time in the hospital than at home. This seems to be a benefit. However, it is the increased use of interventions - the amniotomy, episiotomy, oxytocin and forceps – that shorten labor. And note that those long labors at home required little pain medication.

When this study was done in 1976 the cesarean rate in the hospital was only 8.2%. As you are probably aware, it’s now over 20%, even 30% or more in some hospitals. But even that low rate of C-Sections is three times higher for couples who planned their births in the hospital, than for couples who planned their births at home.

The study also found that in the hospital births,

Resuscitation was required 3.7 times more than home births
Newborn infection occurred 4 times more than home births
Meconium aspiration pneumonia 2.5 times more than home births
Newborn respiratory distress 17 times more than home births
Fetal distress occurred 6 times more than home births
Meconium staining occurred 3.5 times more than home births
Shoulder dystocia occurred 8 times more than home births
Maternal high blood pressure 5 times more than home births
Maternal hemorrhage 3 times more than home births
3rd degree tears 5.5 times more than home births
4th degree tears (into the rectum) 14.6 times more than home births

Why would there be more cases of shoulder dystocia in the hospital? Why would there be a greater risk of maternal hemorrhage where there is more technology ensuring your safety? Why should there be a greater likelihood of 3rd - and 4th degree tears dependent upon the location where a woman chooses to give birth? Does this make sense?

Or, is there something about being in the hospital that actually makes birth riskier?

Things Your Obstetrician Doesn’t Want You To Know

§ Doctors are only human. They have made mistakes about birth and continue to make mistakes.
§ Most of the maternal deaths in the 1800’s were a result of childbed fever, an infection which was caused by the doctors themselves, spreading infection from patient to patient.
§ The obstetrical practice of shaving the woman’s vulva to prevent infection caused more infection than it prevented.
§ Doctors believed modern formulas were an improvement upon Nature and discouraged mothers from breastfeeding in the last century.
§ Many of the ‘things that can go wrong’ during birth go wrong because of unnecessary risks taken in the hospital.
§ All interventions carry risks.
§ Interventions are often used in the best interest of doctors, not patients. Why? A hospital is a place of business. Interventions speed and control unpredictable labors to make their business run more efficiently.
§ In a court of law, the use of interventions helps the doctor’s case by proving he used all the available technology to ensure a safe birth.

How Routine Interventions Can Cause Problems

We will look at typical interventions used during a normal labor and how they can turn a normal birth into a surgical procedure.

1. You arrive at the hospital late one evening. The doctor orders a sedative.

Reason given: To help you sleep through those early contractions so you (and the doctor) will be well-rested for the birth.
Risks: - Your baby may be affected by the drug.
- It might slow his heart rate to the extent that he shows signs of distress, necessitating cesarean.
- The baby could require resuscitation.
- Sedatives would not be prescribed during pregnancy because of the risks to the baby, but doctors deem them safe as a labor drug.

2. The hospital policy requires Electronic Fetal Monitoring.
Reason given: “It lets us check on how the baby is doing”
Risks: - Whenever a hospital starts using fetal monitors, their cesarean rates increase.
- There has been an increase in the rate of cesareans being done since routine fetal monitoring began, but this has not resulted in any improvement in mortality and morbidity rates.iii

3. Bed rest for labor.
Reason given: Get as much rest as possible. Avoid infection.
Risks: - The weight of the baby presses on your back when in bed, causing pain, increasing the need for medication.iv
- Labor is slowed down increasing need for augmentation
- When mother can’t move about freely, baby may become wedged into an awkward position increasing the need for forceps delivery.

4. Rupturing Membranes (Breaking your water)
Reason Given: This will “help speed things up a bit.”
Risks: - Increase your infection risk.
- The cord may prolapse making a cesarean necessary.
- Your contractions will become more intense and painful.

5. Augmentation: The use of artificial hormones to stimulate labor
Reason given: This will increase and/or regulate contractions.
Risks: - Can cause uterine contractions so strong that it increases the risk of uterine rupture
- Substantially more painful than natural contractions.
- More likely to need pain medication.
- Abnormally strong contractions can cause fetal distress.

6. Pain Medication
Reason given: Pain Relief
Risks: - Could adversely affect your baby, causing respiratory difficulties.
- Your baby may be lethargic and have more trouble breastfeeding.
- Some drugs have been known to have an adverse affect on intellectual and motor development of the childv
- Can make the mother feel lightheaded and not in control

7. Epidural

Reason given: The epidural will allow you to be awake and alert for the birth, but feel no pain.

Risks: The epidural has been related to an increase in neonatal jaundice.
- Some women experience a backache that might last up to several months.
- Occasionally the numbing effect of the drug accidentally goes up instead of down, causing the woman breathing difficulty.
- Slows down labor, increasing the need for further augmentation.
- You can’t feel the pushing urge.
- Forceps delivery is more likely, because your ability to push is affected.
- Adversely affects the hormonal surge following birth that aids bonding

8. Lithotomy or semi-sitting position
When it is time to deliver, you will usually be positioned on your back or semisitting.
Reason given: Allows the doctor better access to deliver the baby
Risks: - Lying on your back makes your uterus work harder.
- Increases the need for forceps.
- Increases the risk of tearing as it puts the most pressure on the perineal tissues.
- The weight of the uterus rests on your major blood vessels, possibly making you lightheaded and also...
- Reduces the oxygen supply to the baby, causing fetal distress.
- The main reason for you to be in that position is so the doctor can do an episiotomy, but the main reason you need the episiotomy is because he has you in this position!

9. The Episiotomy
Reason given: to enlarge the vaginal opening and make it easier for the baby to come out, and to prevent a tear that would be difficult to repair.
Risks: - Studies have shown there is a higher risk of second- and third-degree tears with an episiotomy, than without one.
- Increases the risk of acquiring an infection.
- It will be painful to sit on those stitches for days, at best, weeks sometimes, and that some women have painful intercourse for months after an episiotomy.
- The birth may occur a few minutes sooner but repairing the incision takes up to an hour.

What about the Baby’s Safety?

- Both you and your baby have a much higher risk of picking up a dangerous infection in the hospital.

- You are immune to the germs in your own home.

- A cord around the baby’s neck is not uncommon, occurring in about 30% of births, and is not inherently dangerous.

- What about cutting the cord? Within a few minutes the cord goes cold and white. Tie string around it so it won’t leak, and cut it.

- The common practice of putting alcohol on the cord to help it heal was proven in one study to be useless.

- Hospital nurseries were necessary when babies were adversely affected by amnesic drugs given to the mother. Healthy mothers can look after their own babies.

- The nursery undermines a woman’s confidence in her ability to care for her child. Mothers feel inadequate compared to the medical experts who keep her baby under observation in the nursery.

- When nurses ignore babies’ fussing as insignificant, mothers assume that as the “experts” they must be right.

- Separating mom and baby interrupts an important learning period in which mother learns to interpret baby’s signals. This can affect breastfeeding success.

- Babies should be welcomed to the world with love, not kept in a nursery with strangers!

The Move to the Hospital
There is a common misconception that women stopped giving birth at home because hospital birth was safer. The truth is that from the early 1900’s and continuing to today, studies have shown that mortality rates were higher in doctor-attended births than midwife-attended births, and highest in

Why do they continue to use hospital s if home birth is safer?
1. Convenience. It was easier for the doctor to have the patient come to him, than for him to have to travel to the patient. Thus, while the woman was laboring in the hospital under the watchful eyes of the nurses, the doctor could continue to see other patients. This brings us to the second reason:
2. Money. The doctor could earn more money if his patients came to one central location, where he could manage several patients at once.
3. Power and control. In the hospital, the doctor was in his own domain. He had authority, could dictate how things were run and refuse admittance to outsiders. At homebirths, doctor was not the leader, but the helpful guest.

Home Birth: Not only safe, but fun!
§ You don’t have to worry about going anywhere. Your doctor or midwife comes to you instead.

§ There is little to do in the hospital but focus on having the baby, and time can drag in the hospital (making augmentation more appealing). At home, you can move about freely, doing what you might normally do.
§ Preparing your home for the baby – “Feathering your nest” – is an emotionally satisfying way to pass the time.
§ No coping with admission procedures and paperwork.
§ No asking permission or arguing policy. Eat what you want, go where you wish. Cry, scream, dance, or talk on the phone. No rules to follow.
§ You can have whoever you want at the birth, as many people as you want. You can be all alone if you prefer.
§ Your privacy is respected. You don’t have to worry about staff walking in at any time.
§ You can do whatever you feel like doing with that privacy. Kissing and lovemaking, by stimulating the right hormones, can actually help your labour along!

What should you do if “Something goes wrong”?
· If something goes wrong, go to the hospital of course!
· Most problems can be detected well in advance of disaster.
· If the umbilical cord has prolapsed into the birth canal, call the hospital to prepare for an emergency C-Section. Kneel on the back seat of the car with your head down and bottom up to protect the cord from getting compressed. Being in the hospital would not have avoided this complication.
· Some blood is normal in labor, but too much would be worrisome. Go to the hospital to be checked out.
· Hemorrhage after the birth. (3x more likely in hospital) Nursing the baby and massaging your belly will help your uterus to contract. Go to the hospital if the bleeding is profuse.
· A cord around the baby’s neck: The cord can usually be slipped over the baby’s head. If it can’t be slipped off, tie it and cut it and deliver the baby as quickly as possible.
· Shoulder dystocia (baby’s shoulders get stuck) occurs eight times more often in hospital. Usually a change of position will help: standing up, or on all fours, or squatting. A midwife or other attendant can reach in a finger and gently pull one shoulder from under the pubic bone. If not, call 911.
· Baby doesn’t breathe: (Seventeen times more likely in the hospital!) Do infant CPR as described in any First Aid Book.
· If a long, difficult labor is exhausting you, you can always go to the hospital for relief.

· If you simply have a “gut feeling” that something is just not right, trust your instincts.

Handling the Pain
§ Pain is usually easier to handle in your own home as you know when you feel ill at work. You want to go home where you’re able to cope better.
§ At home you don’t have to wear the same image you wear in public. Hospitals are public place. At home you “let loose,” and that relaxation leads to a faster, easier, less painful labor.
§ Often when you feel like you can’t handle the pain it’s because you are only a few contractions away from pushing your baby out.
§ Pain is worse when accompanied by fear. At home, the fear of the unknown is reduced because of your familiar surroundings.

Birth Attendants
You will likely have two midwives at the home birth, so there one pair of hands for mom and one for baby. You might want another attendant to help out as well. There are several things to consider when you decide who you would like at the birth.
· A “doula” is a woman you can hire who has training in labour support. Or you could just ask a caring, supportive neighbor to be your doula.
· How many people? Some like having the support of many close friends. Others like to keep it private and intimate.
· What do you want them to do? Housecleaning? Childcare? Backrubs? It’s nice to have someone do cleanup while you enjoy the new baby. Pick someone who won’t mind doing a little housework.
· With other children, you may wish to have a person who knows your other children well can take them out to play if you request it, or can reassure them if they watch the birth.
· Don’t make the mistake of inviting someone to your birth because it would be a good experience for her. This is your day, and you have enough to do without performing the perfect birth for someone else’s benefit.
· It must be someone who is supportive. If your best friend thinks you are taking a terrible risk, you don’t need her there.
· Have a few back-up persons lined up in case your first choice of helper is not available, or you need more help than you expected, or in case you have to go to the hospital. Ask them ahead of time.

Preparations for the Home Birth

Stuff You Probably Have Already

· Lots of food stored away - so your birth attendant(s) can have something to eat, and so you have plenty for yourself after the baby is born.
· A firm bed, if bed is where you want to give birth.
· Some like to sit on an exercise ball during labor. Or soak in the bath.
· Plastic sheet - to protect the mattress (or carpet) from wetness. An old shower curtain or vinyl tablecloth will do.
· Old sheets and towels - to put over the plastic sheets and absorb fluids.
· Newspapers - also to protect floor if amniotic fluid is leaking.
· Tea Kettle - to make some raspberry-leaf tea, an herb which is known to help labour, childbirth, morning sickness, menstrual cramps, and mood swings. Boiling water is also for sterilizing the scissors and shoelace for the cord, and to have warm compresses for the perineum.
· Sharp scissors for cutting the cord.
· A dresser or table cleared off for doctor or midwife use.
· Large bowl or dishpan or ice cream tub for the placenta. You can line it with a plastic bag if you like. Or use newspaper.
· A roll of paper towels. Handy for any kind of messes.
· Large garbage bags to contain those messes.
· A shovel. Traditionally, Dad buries the placenta ceremoniously in the backyard, planting a tree over it.
· Camera, camcorder, or tape recorder for those who want to record the event.
· Heavy-flow menstrual pads. You’ll need them the first day or so.
· Clothes, washed and clean for the baby; clothes for mom to wear after the birth, too. Something with easy access for breastfeeding.
· Thermometer - a good idea to check mom’s temp daily - a rise in temperature could indicate an infection.
· A list of emergency phone numbers, posted by the phone.
· Olive oil - often used for perineal massage. You can put it in a squirt bottle from the dollar store for better aim. Warm it in hot water.
· Soft washcloths or old diapers - for hot compresses.
· Flashlight - in case of a power failure.

Things You Might Not Have and Might Want to Get
· A shoelace for tying the cord. Shoelaces are soft and pliable like babies, unlike the hard plastic clamps used in maternity wards.
· Germ-killing soap like Betadine or Phisoderm for hand-washing.
· Infant Ear syringe - to suction mucous if necessary.
· Baby Scale – you can borrow one. Many midwives use a simple fish scale. Babies don’t cry when weighed this way (suspended from the scale in a cloth sling) like they do when laid out naked on a metal scale.

“What about The Mess?”

When you prepare the birth bed, make the bed with clean sheets, twice. On top of the clean sheets, put a plastic sheet, and then another set of clean sheets. After the birth, your helper simply strips the top layer off. Wash out blood in cold water, not hot, or it will stain. If you use old towels and newspapers, you could simply stuff everything — even the placenta — into a large trash bag.

In some places the placenta must be buried by law, as it is human tissue. In winter, wrap it up and put in the freezer until the ground thaws. Label it to avoid surprises!


i Ontario Ministry of Health, p. 109.

ii Lewis E. Mehl, MD., “Statistical Outcomes of Homebirths in the US: Current Status,” in Safe Alternatives in Childbirth, ed. by David & Lee Stewart, (N.A.P.S.A.C. [National Association of Parents and Professionals for Safe Alternatives in Childbirth,] 1976) p.81.

iii Nancy W. Cohen and Lois J. Estner, Silent Knife, (Bergin & Garvey 1983), p. 180.

iv Robert S. Mendelsohn, MD, Confessions of a Medical Heretic , (Warner, 1979), p.155.

v ibid. page 168-70.

vi ibid. p. 35 footnote.

© Sheila Stubbs 2005
Sheila Stubbs is a nurse, doula, childbirth educator, breastfeeding counselor, mother of six, and author of Birthing the Easy Way. Her first child was born by cesarean section due to a condition she calls “Physician Distress.” The rest of her children were born without medical intervention, four of them at home.

Wednesday, February 23, 2011

Missouri Legislature Targets Midwives

The Missouri legislature is going to vote, possibly as early as this week, about midwifery in Missouri.

"Four years ago, the Missouri Legislature decriminalized midwifery -- making it legal for a woman who's certified by one of two national midwives' organizations to deliver babies here.

But the state's physicians don't like the competition. They sued, unsuccessfully, to stop the legalization in 2007. And now they're pushing a bill to require midwives to be licensed by the state, on top of national certification, and meet a host requirements so onerous that midwives say they could be forced right out of business.

The Columbia Missourian reported last week that a lobbyist for the the Missouri Medical Association -- the powerful physicians' lobbying group in Jefferson City -- actually helped write House Bill 301.

In addition to requiring state certification, the bill would force midwives to carry at least $500,000 in malpractice insurance, pay a licensing fee and perform at least 30 hours of continuing education every two years. It would also require them to notify the state in writing every time they get a new client -- and only allow them to work "in collaborative agreement with a licensed physician" who has privileges at a nearby hospital.

Not surprisingly in light of its origin, the bill carves out special exemptions for physicians, even while cracking down on midwives. According to the bill's official summary, it "exempts certain emergency medical providers from civil liability when treating a woman or infant during childbirth as a consequence of care received from a licensed midwife."

According to the Missourian, a lobbyist for the physicians' group testified that the current system was like "invit(ing) your neighbor over to help you deliver your baby" -- an analogy that might make a bit more sense if midwives weren't required to do extensive training first.

But if money talks at the Capitol, the midwives might be in trouble.

A Daily RFT analysis of reports filed with the Missouri Ethics Commission shows that the physicians' political action committee, MO Medical PAC, donated $199,349 to various legislators in the 2010 cycle. That includes $500 to Representative Mike Talboy, the Democrat who serves as the bill's primary sponsor, and another $500 to Talboy's co-sponsor, Republican Ryan Silvey.

MO Medical PAC also donated $1,000 to the new Speaker of the House, Republican Steve Tilley, according to ethics commission records.

The House Professional Registration and Licensing Committee could vote on the bill as early as this week. "

A woman here in Missouri got many of us women together to send a letter as to why we decided to have a home birth, and some nice pictures if we had them.

Amanda Hartman Home Birth Story for Missouri Legislature

Thursday, February 10, 2011

Happy Birthday My Little Rebekah

Last year, on this day, my family was snowed into our little cabin. At 11:15am, my husband (Brent) and 11 year old daughter (Sadie) assisted the birth of our baby girl, Rebekah! Oh, how time flies. She is now, officially, 1 year old. It really does seem like just the other day she was a tiny newborn. Now she has her two front teeth, is walking, and just getting into everything in general.

Happy Birthday my beautiful Rebekah. You are my joy! You bring such happiness and laughter to our family every day!

Rebekah about an hour after birth (2-10-10)

Rebekah March 2010

Bekah in April 2010

Today, on her 1st birthday.

Monday, February 7, 2011

One Born Every Minute...

So, I finally got to watch episode 1 today. I must say, I was sorely disappointed, but not really all that surprised. I was extremely saddened by the second woman who ended up with a cesarean. When she said she had lots of pressure. The nurse said it was because baby was coming and she was almost fully dilated (she was at a 9 1/2). Then, when she hit transition (you could tell), they called emergency c-section for "failure to progress". I was like WTH!!!! She's at a 9 1/2! Baby is pushing it's way down! I was so ticked!!! DH thought it was complete crap!

**Here is the link to the video.

Fast forward to 27:45. She says that there is a lot of pressure. The nurse says "That is the baby. You are almost fully dilated." Then at 28:07 they call "Failure to Progress" for the reason of the cesarean! NOTHING about baby having ANY problems.**

I've also been hearing all about how the "crunchy" family was so rude and obnoxious. How the nurse (Pam) was also rude and obnoxious. How they should have had a birth in a birthing center if they wanted to go natural. So on, and so on.

I think that the nurse, was a bit rude with her overall attitude about their labour and birth wishes. She needed to step back, and let them labour. Really, just leave them alone. They didn't want all the interventions. After hours of hard labour, I can tell you that I am much meaner than they were. DH is also very protective of my wishes. Neither on of us would have been so nice, and probably would have just asked for a different nurse. The couple most likely would have LOVED to go to a birthing center, but they couldn't. Why? Here is what the mother had to say:

"First of all, there are no birth centers in Columbus, and several homebirth midwives, but only one homebirth midwife practice that has a physician ‘back-up’ (which just felt responsible to me). But, NO insurance locally covers homebirthing, so at first, it was an economical decision. Later in my pregnancy, after we began taking NCB classes, we decided that our next baby would be at home, but there was also a measure of comfort in doing the first at the hospital, since I had no idea what to expect."

I was disappointed when they finally pressured her into Pitocin. :( At 21 hours of labour (which is normal), she was tired and (IMO) they took advantage of that.

Overall, I really think that the show put the hospital and staff in a negative light. The nurses spent a lot of time rolling their eyes when the woman was moaning through her labour pains. They always had snide little looks on their faces. They were always pushing interventions. Which I understand. It is there job to sell the drugs and procedures. The more they sell, the more the hospital makes.

It was actually really sad to watch. However, on the plus side. This show did remind me why I enjoyed birthing my last 3 babies at home so much. It was a little more painful, but so much easier, happier, more comfortable, and much less stressful.

I think that the first episode is all I care to watch. I think I'll throw it in the "A Baby Story" trash bin. It's too bad, because the previews really made it look like it was going to be interesting.