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Monday
Apr302012

Cesarean Scar: Tara Davis

Tara's scar was the "face" of the old CesareanScar.com site. I thank her very much for her generous gift.

Let me tell you about me. I'm a very petite woman, 4' 9" to be exact. My mother, also tiny at 5 ft tall, birthed 4 babies vaginally with no problem. One sister, just taller than me, birthed two babies vaginally and my other sister, the tallest at all of us at 5' 1" had her two daughters by c-section because she has a short torso and her babies were stuck transverse. Though I chose a traditional OB, I also had a doula and took Hypnobabies birthing classes. I wanted a natural and vaginal birth with no drugs.
 
My labor began on a Tuesday night. By morning we called my doula and we all thought I was having a baby. Nope. Contractions stopped and so doula went home and we waited. Friday morning I knew it was time. I labored at home as long as I could until something told me it was time to go. We got to the hospital, got checked in and by this time I was tired and thinking of an epidural. All of my labor was back labor.
 
When the nurse checked me I was at 8 cm and 100% effaced. Yay. I had made it at home this far and I was going to birth my baby. I did get the epidural and rapidly reached 10 cm. My doula and my husband and mother at my side. My contractions were irregular and I turned down pitocin twice. My OB came to check on me after two hours of pushing.
 
He sat down. (Read that again slowly). He sat down. He told me my options. I could keep pushing for awhile. He could use the vacuum but my child's head was farther in than he liked to use the vacuum on. Or I could opt for a c-section.
 
I looked around the room at the faces gathered there. No one was judging me, no one was arguing one way or another. Around me was an environment of support. It was my decision. Mine alone. I took a breath. I looked at my doctor. "Cut me open," I said.
 
Did I feel a little sadness, yes I did. However, my son was wedged so deeply into my pelvic girdle that my doctor (who is built like a linebacker) was leaning into my shoulder through the drape as he was pulling my son out of my body. My husband even tells me the doctor came up onto his toes he was pulling so strongly. My son was covered in meconium and had to be taken to the NICU. Luckily he was fine and so was I. I was also able to choose the music playing in the OR during my surgery. My son was born to the sound of my Hypnobabies relaxation music.
 
When I look at my scar I am still amazed that it is only 5.5" long and yet an entire person came out of there. A 7 lb 5 oz person who was 19.5" long! Isn't that just amazing? Apparently my pelvic bones did not spread enough to get my son out vaginally. He and I both tried like champions and his cone shaped head proved how hard we tried. Without a c-section he would not be here.
 
I can never touch my scar without thinking of my son. I know that I will always think of him when I touch it. My scar is right over the area when I nurtured him and felt him kick. My scar is raised and still red even 13.5 months after his birth which is when I took this picture. Hypertrophic I believe is the term. I wish it were flat and white like my appendectomy scars but that's ok. It's crooked and at first that really irritated me. Now it's just a part of the scar. I'm still numb right above the scar itself but otherwise I have all my feeling back. It does itch like the devil from time to time.
 
I really like the bumper sticker I once saw: Scars are tattoos with better stories.

Tara Davis
Nashville, TN
http://iwantthursdays.blogspot.com 

Monday
Jul182011

Hands & Knees in Labor

On my Facebook page, a woman asked: "Has anyone here spent a lot of time in hands and knees position during labor/birth? How did you cope with the pressure on your wrists in that position?" Great question! Here are the answers so far. 

C: I hated that! My joints were more flexible and as a result it put a lot of stress on my wrists!

E: I did to get my posterior baby to turn. The midwife had me lay over a birthing/exercise ball while on my knees. It kept the integrity of the position without killing my wrists.

D: Make fists, place your fists on the ground, keeps the wrists straight. Lean over the birth ball. Child's pose with a pillow under the head and chest. On the couch (or hospital bed) kneeling with your folded arms over the arm of the couch... or back of the hospital bed. Forearms on the ground instead of hands... I'm sure there are other modifications, but that's what I can come up with in 30 seconds.

A: Sling hanging from above can be leaned into/you can put it under your armpits and dangle forward if it's lowered enough for you to basically be (on) hands and knees. Alternately, your partner or a doula can hold a rebozo for you in the same position, but it can be pretty tiring for them.

M: I was "driven" to my knees at some point with all births (4). Never noticed any wrist discomfort during or after. I usually don't end up on hands & knees until I am almost done though. Oh! And a birth ball is perfect for being on hands and knees without hurting your wrists! (That's what I did earlier in labors, I almost forgot.)

A: Leaning over the seat of a chair/couch with pillows under the knees.

K: I was on my hands and knees in a birthing tub and the water helped remove a lot of the pressure from my wrists.

J: I tilted the bed all the way up and leaned on the head of the bed. Didn't hurt my wrists at all.

S: I have bad wrists, too, & did hands/knees leaning over the birth ball. Then the only issue was carpet burn on my knees. I'll have knee pads ready just in case I like hands & knees next time.

C: Birth ball. Then over the side of birthing tub. Dang midwives made me roll around to turn the little boy, but it worked and out he came.

L: A stack of pillows under the chest or a chair or other sturdy piece of furniture to lean against, wrap arms around, etc.

K: Nodding to the idea of the birth ball - also, in my doula bag I have those little gardening kneeling pads, specifically for this purpose.

A: I used the pillows pretty heavily so I was propped up without needing to put pressure on my wrists and leaned on my forearms a lot too. I also did what they call puppy pose with my rear up in the air and arms stretched out a lot too.

K: I used a shower chair to lean over for several variations of hands and knees/feet, and it was absolutely instrumental for my homebirth in February.

M: I did this but would often rest my forearms and even my face on the bed. I was even able to sleep in this position.

S: I had the head of the hospital bed up and leaned on my elbows instead. We were trying to turn my sunny-side-up baby!

L: I knelt by the side of the bed at home; used my husband for support (he sat against the head of the bed when they thought to lift it) at the hospital. I don't remember any wrist pain - but at the hospital - very uncomfortable (flailing feeling) for an old childhood elbow injury.

H: I would kind of rest on pillows in between contractions, and then straighten up when a contraction came. I also spent a lot of time in squat on my knees kind of thing that was kind of like hands and knees, but not quite.

K: That's how I spent my 2nd labor. I was able to stay that way because every other position was way too uncomfortable. When in labor you really don't notice those kind of aches and pains.

A: I was in a birthing pool and spent most of the time during contractions in the hands and knees position. I mostly noticed that my legs and hips hurt, not my wrists. Then, between contractions, I would sit up a little bit and lean on the side of the pool.

J: If you're in a hospital, you can lower the bottom part of the bed and put your knees there and then just rest on a few pillows stacked on the higher part.

J: I leaned on a birth ball, the couch, or the futon. I also leaned on the side of the pool... although my husband and doula said I spilled a good deal of water. I didn't notice! What hurt me was my knees. So I kept a pillow handy. I spent 12 hrs like that so the next day my hamstrings and gluts hurt something fierce! I think my legs and butt hurt worse than my (no tears either) vagina!

A: Mostly had knees on floor and upper body resting on something else, so most of my weight was supported. Sometimes knees on floor arms/head resting on couch or foot of bed or birth ball or edge of birth tub.

A: On a hospital bed: raise head of bed & put pillows on top, face the head of the bed and let your shoulders and head rest on top of the pillows.

P: I gave birth in a hospital (with a midwife and doula) and delivered on my knees. I leaned against the bed that was propped up. It was amazing and dare I say comfortable.

S: Go to forearms, or lean on dressers, bookcases.

M: I didn't read all responses but I spent most of my labor on hands/knees or modified draped over birth ball so I had same position.

C: I pushed for the last half hour in that position and managed to remain intact after a 4th degree from the previous birth. I'd definitely recommend it. I even have bad wrists. Instead of palms down, I made fists. Works to spread the force up into your arm rather than into your wrist alone.

K: It was the only way I could be in labor with my OP baby. The pain of sitting upright or standing was too much. I gave my wrists breaks by hanging over the birth ball, and then when we transferred to the hospital for complications I used the back of the hospital bed and my big body pillow the same way. I never noticed any wrist problems. 

Great topic! Any more ideas? Please share!

Wednesday
Mar162011

Guest Post: Molly Remer on Hospital Routines

What to Expect When You Go to the Hospital for a Natural Childbirth

By Molly Remer, MSW, ICCE, CCCE

There is a fairly “normal” course of events for women having a natural birth in a hospital setting. In order to be truly prepared to give birth in the hospital, it is important to be prepared for “what to expect” there and to know how to deal with hospital procedures. All hospital procedures/routines can be refused, but this requires being informed, being strong, and really paying attention to what is happening. I hope this list of “what to expect” with help you talk with your medical care provider in advance about hospital routines and your own personal choices, as well as help prevent unpleasant surprises upon actually showing up in the birthing room. This list is modified from material found in the book Woman-Centered Pregnancy and Birth. I am not saying that is how your specific hospital operates, but that many American hospitals function in this manner.

  • Expect to have at least some separation from the person who brought you to the hospital, whether this separation is due to filling out admission paperwork, parking the car, giving a urine sample, being examined in triage, etc.
  • Expect to remove all your clothing and put on a hospital gown that ties in the back.
  • Expect to have staff talk over you, not to you, and to have many different people walk into your room whenever they want without your permission and without introducing themselves.
  • Expect to have your cervix examined by a nurse upon admission and approximately every hour thereafter. Sometimes you may have multiple vaginal exams per hour by more than one person.
  • Expect to have an IV inserted into your arm, or at minimum a saline lock (sometimes called a Hep lock).
  • Expect to be denied food and drink (at best, expect clear liquids or ice).
  • Expect to give a urine sample and perhaps a blood sample.
  • Expect to have an ID bracelet attached to your arm.
  • Expect to have to sign a consent form for birth and for application of a fetal monitor that states that your doctor will be responsible for making the decisions about your care (not you).
  • Expect to have a fetal heart rate monitor attached around your belly—two round discs on straps that will often stay with you continuously until you give birth (or, at best, for 15 minutes out of each hour of your labor).
  • Expect to have your water manually broken at about 4 centimeters (or at least, strongly suggested that you allow it to be broken). After this point, expect to be encouraged to have an electrode screwed into the baby’s scalp to measure the heartbeat and a tube placed in your uterus to measure your contractions.
  • Expect to be offered pain medications repeatedly.
  • Expect to receive Pitocin at some point during your labor–”to speed things up.”
  • Expect to be encouraged (or even ordered) to remain in your bed through much of labor, especially pushing.
  • Expect to either have your legs put in stirrups or held at a 90 degree angle at the hips.
  • Expect to be told you are not pushing correctly.
  • Expect to hold your baby on your chest for a few minutes, before it is taken away to be dried, warmed, and checked over.
  • Expect the baby to have antibiotic eye ointment put into its eyes (without telling you first).
  • Expect to have your baby suctioned repeatedly.
  • Expect to be given a shot of Pitocin to make your uterus contract and deliver the placenta.
  • Expect not to be shown the placenta.
  • Expect your baby to be given a vitamin K injection.

I think it is important to note that what you can expect is often different than what you deserve and that what you can expect often reduces or eliminates your chances of getting what you deserve. In my classes, I’ve made a conscious decision to present what women deserve in birth and though I also talk about what they can expect and how to work with that, I think sometimes they are left surprised that what they actually experience in the hospital. At minimum, what you deserve are Six Healthy Birth Practices (as articulated by Lamaze):

  1. Let Labor Begin on Its Own
  2. Walk, Move Around, and Change Positions Throughout Labor
  3. Bring a Loved One, Friend, or Doula for Continuous Support
  4. Avoid Interventions That Are Not Medically Necessary
  5. Avoid Giving Birth on the Back and Follow the Body’s Urges to Push
  6. Keep Mother and Baby Together – It’s Best for Mother, Baby, and Breastfeeding

As an example of what I mean about what you can expect clashing with what you deserve, consider the second healthy birth practice “Walk, Move Around, and Change Positions Throughout Labor”—monitoring and IVs directly conflict with the smooth implementation of a practice based on freedom of movement throughout labor.

So, how do you work with or around these routine expectations and your desire for a natural birth?

  • Go through the above list of “what to expect” and make a decision about how to handle each one on a case by case—you may choose to actively refuse something, you may be okay with accepting certain procedures or routines, and you can develop a coping plan for how specifically to work with any particular issue.
  • Take independent childbirth classes and learn a variety of techniques and pain coping practices so that your “toolbox” for working with labor is well stocked.
  • Hire a doula, or bring a knowledgeable, helpful, experienced friend with you. It can help to have a strong advocate with you (this may or may not be a role your husband or partner is willing to take on).
  • Another tactic is to “never ask permission to do what you want, but to go ahead and do it unless the hospital staff actively stops you.” (An example of this is of getting up and walking around during labor)
  • Many people, if they can find no other way to get around a dangerous or unpleasant hospital policy, unobtrusively ignore it—a good example of this is with regard to eating and drinking during labor. Restricting birthing women to ice chips or clear liquids is not evidence-based care. Bring light foods and drinks and quietly partake as you please.
  • Leave the hospital early, rather than remaining the full length of stay post-birth. This can minimize separation from baby and other routines you may wish to avoid.
  • When you get the hospital, ask to have a nurse who likes natural birth couples. My experience is that there are some nurses like this in every hospital—she’ll want you for a patient and you’ll want her, ask who she is! If possible, ask your doctor, hospital staff, or office staff who the nurses are who like natural birth—then you’ll have names to ask for in advance.
  • Put a sign at eye level on the outside of your door saying, “I would like a natural birth. Please do not offer pain medications.” (It is much easier to get on with your birth if you don’t have someone popping in to ask when you’re “ready for your epidural!” every 20 minutes.)
  • Once in labor, stay home for a long time. Do not go to the hospital too early—the more labor you work through at home, the less interference you are likely to run into. When I say “a long time,” I mean that you’ve been having contractions for several hours, that they require your full attention, that you are no longer talking and laughing in between them, that you are using “coping measures” to work with them (like rocking, or swaying, or moaning, or humming), and that you feel like “it’s time” to go in.
  • Use the hospital bed as a tool, not as a place to lie down (see my How to Use a Hospital Bed without Lying Down handout)
  • If you feel like you “need a break” in the hospital, retreat to the bathroom. People tend to leave us alone in the bathroom and if you feel like you need some time to focus and regroup, you may find it there. Also, we know how to relax our muscles when sitting on the toilet, so spending some time there can actually help baby descend.
  • Use the “broken record” technique—if asked to lie down for monitoring, say “I prefer to remain sitting” and continue to reinforce that preference without elaborating or “arguing.”
  • During monitoring DO NOT lie down! Sit on the edge of the bed, sit on a birth ball near the bed, sit in a rocking chair or regular chair near the bed, kneel on the bed and rotate your hip during the monitoring—you can still be monitored while in an upright position (as long as you are located very close to the bed).
  • Bring a birth ball with you and use it—sit near the bed if you need to (can have an IV, be monitored, etc. while still sitting upright on the ball). Birth balls have many great uses for an active, comfortable birth!
  • When any type of routine intervention is suggested (or assumed) during pregnancy or labor, remember to use your “BRAIN”—ask about the Benefits, the Risks, the Alternatives, check in with your Intuition, what would happen if you did Nothing/or Now Decide.
  • Along those same lines, if an intervention is aggressively promoted while in the birth room, but it is not an emergency (let’s say a “long labor” and augmentation with Pitocin is suggested, you and baby are fine and you feel okay with labor proceeding as it is, knowing that use of Pitocin raises your chances of having further interventions, more painful contractions, or a cesarean), you can ask “Can you guarantee that this will not harm my baby? Can I have in writing that this intervention will not hurt my baby? Please show me the evidence behind this recommendation.”

I realize that some of these strategies may seem unnecessarily “defensive” and even possibly antagonistic—I wanted to offer a “buffet” of possibilities. Take what works for you and leave the rest! Great births are definitely possible, in any setting, and there are lots of things you can do to help make a great birth a reality.

Finally, and most importantly, “birth is not a time in a woman’s life when she should have to FIGHT for anything,” so if you find that you feel you are preparing yourself for “hospital self-defense” I encourage you to explore your options in birth places and care providers, rather than preparing for a “battle” and hoping for the best. If you feel like you are going to have to fight for your rights in birth, STRONGLY consider the implications of birthing in that setting. Also, as The Pink Kit says, “hope is not a plan”—so if you find yourself saying “I hope I can get what I want” it is time to take another, serious look at your plans and choices for your baby’s birth.

 Side bar: Here are additional suggestions of actions to take prior to hospital admission….

  • Choose your doctor carefully—don’t wait for “the next birth” to find a compatible caregiver. Don’t dismiss uneasiness with your present care provider. As Pam England says, “ask questions before your chile is roasted.” A key point is to pick a provider whose words and actions match (i.e. You ask, “how often do you do episiotomies?” The response, “only when necessary”—if “necessary” actually means 90% of the time, it is time to find a different doctor!). Also, if you don’t want surgery, don’t go to a surgeon (that perhaps means finding a family physician who attends births, rather than an OB, or, an OB with a low cesarean rate).
  • If there are multiple hospitals in your area, choose the one with the lowest cesarean rate (not the one with the nicest wallpaper or nicest postpartum meal). Hospitals—even those in the same town—vary widely on their policies and the things they “allow” (i.e. amount of separation of mother and baby following birth, guidelines on eating during labor, etc.)
  • Work on clear and assertive communication with your doctor and reinforce your preferences often—don’t just mention something once and assume s/he will remember. If you create a birth plan, have the doctor sign it and put it in your chart (then it is more like “doctor’s orders” than “wishes”). Do be aware that needing to do this indicates a certain lack of trust that may mean you are birthing in the wrong setting for you! Birth is not a time in a woman’s life when she should have to fight for anything! You deserve quality care that is based on your unique needs, your unique birthing, and your unique baby! Do not let a birth plan be a substitute for good communication.
  • Discuss in advance the type of nursing care you would like and request that your doctor put any modifications to the normal routines in your chart as “Doctor’s Orders” (if your doctor is unwilling to do so, seek a new medical care provider!)
  • Cultivate a climate of confidence in your life.
  • Use affirmations to help cultivate a positive, joyful, welcoming attitude.
  • Read good books and cultivate confidence and trust in your body, your baby, your inherent birth wisdom.
  • Take a good independent birth class (not a hospital based class).
  • Have your partner read a book like The Birth Partner, or Fathers at Birth, and practice the things in the book together. I frequently remind couples in my classes that “coping skills work best when they are integrated into your daily lives, not ‘dusted off’ for use during labor.”
  • Practice prenatal yoga—I love the Lamaze “Yoga for Your Pregnancy” DVD—specifically the short, 5-minute, “birthing room yoga” segment. I teach it to all of my birth class participants.
  • Learn relaxation techniques that you can use no matter what. I have a preference for active birth and movement based coping strategies, but relaxation and breath-based strategies cannot be taken away from you no matter what happens. The book Birthing from Within has lots of great breath-awareness strategies. I also have several good relaxation handouts and practice exercises that I am happy to email to people who would like them.
  • Before birth, research and ask questions when things are suggested to you (an example, having an NST [non-stress test] or gestational diabetes testing). A good place to review the evidence behind common forms of care during pregnancy, labor, and birth is at Childbirth Connection, where they have the full text of the book A Guide to Effective Care in Pregnancy and Childbirth available for free download (this contains a summary of all the research behind common forms of care during pregnancy, labor, and birth and whether the evidence supports or does not support those forms of care).
  • Ask for the blanket consent forms in advance and modify/initial them as needed—this way you are truly giving “informed consent,” not hurriedly signing anything and everything that is put in front of you because you are focused on birthing instead of signing.
  • If all your friends have to share is horror stories about how terrible birth was, don’t do what they did.
  • Look at ways in which you might be sabotaging yourself—ask yourself hard and honest questions (i.e. if you greatest fear is having a cesarean, why are you going to a doctor with a 50% cesarean rate? “Can’t switch doctors, etc.” are often excuses or easy ways out if you start to dig below the surface of your own beliefs. A great book to help you explore these kinds of beliefs and questions is Mother’s Intention: How Belief Shapes Birth by Kim Wildner. You might not always want to hear the answers, but it is a good idea to ask yourself difficult questions!
  • Believe you can do it and believe that you and your baby both deserve a beautiful, empowering, positive birth! 

Molly Remer, MSW, ICCE, CCCE is a certified birth educator, writer, and activist. She is a professor of Human Services, an LLL Leader, and editor of the Friends of Missouri Midwives newsletter. She has two wonderful sons, Lann (7) and Zander (4) and Alaina (2 months). She blogs about birth at Talk Birth, midwifery at Citizens for Midwifery, and miscarriage at Footprints on My Heart.

Saturday
Jan012011

Midwife to Monitrice

Today begins a new chapter in my life.

For those that know me, that is hardly unusual; I almost thrive on new beginnings! I’ve started and stopped several adventures since I’ve been back in San Diego these last eleven years. I thought about making a list, but simply reading through my blog, you can recount many of them for yourselves. laughingwink

But this new start is more profound; doesn’t include learning additional skills or investing in a start-up kit. Instead, this undertaking capitalizes on the very best of who I am –as a woman and as a midwife.

Today, I’m setting aside my homebirth midwifery career. In this moment, it seems long-term, maybe forever, but, as a woman and as Barbara E. Herrera, LM, CPM, I reserve the right to change my mind.

While my homebirth practice is being set aside, my midwifery licenses, knowledge and passion for birth remains intact.

I’ve been attending births for 28 years now (the anniversary is in two days) and over that time, I’ve been able to observe myself in a variety of childbirth settings and roles… from hospitals, birth centers and home… to doula then midwife. I’ll be fifty years old in two months, twenty-eight days; I know myself pretty well by now and it’s time I utilize my strongest attributes.

Today, I offer myself as a Monitrice and Doula to women birthing in the hospital. 97% - 99% of women have their babies in hospitals and, as most of us know, that can mean traversing a maze of technical and mechanical obstacles if one desires a more peaceful, physiologic birth experience. Even while choosing to (or having to) have their babies within the confines of a medical institution, I believe women have a right to autonomy and a peaceful, enlightened and empowered birth. I will not be conferring peace, enlightenment or empowerment, but I want to be a font of knowledge and skill from which a woman is able to drink.

It’s been interesting, this mental shift from midwife to monitrice/doula. I’ve wrestled with not seeing what I’m doing as a step backward, but a step sideways. A wise woman pointed out that I surely felt as if I was going backwards because so many of us in birth see being a monitrice and doula as a stepping stone to midwifery. But, perhaps the phrase, when asked if she’s a midwife, a woman says “I’m just a doula” needs to be abolished. What if we were able to say, “I’m a doula,” “I’m a monitrice” or “I’m a midwife” with equal pride and delight in our voices. (Hear me talking to myself?)

As a monitrice, I will be hired to help a woman who’ll be having her baby in the hospital, but who wants to stay home in early-to-mid labor safely. She’ll begin contractions (or her membranes will spontaneously rupture) and then call me. Once she’s begun her labor in earnest, I’ll go to her home and, for all intents and purposes, I’ll be her midwife as long as we’re there. I will keep a chart on the mom, monitor fetal heart tones, the mom’s vital signs and if she desires, check cervical dilation periodically. Then, when mom says, “It’s time to go in,” or if I say, “It’s time to go in” (either because birth is becoming imminent or there is a concern for either mom’s or baby’s safety), we’ll head into the hospital and there, I will become her doula, attending to a woman in all the wonderful ways a doula takes care of her client.

When a mom hires me as a doula, I will meet her once she’s in the hospital and laboring actively. As with the most doulas (who’re worth their salt), I will not interfere with the medical aspects of her labor, but will be the emotional and physical support she needs and wants. The benefit of having a midwife-as-doula is I recognize and understand the plethora of technical and medical lingo as well as the actions that go along with them. If a mom’s able to maneuver within the medical constraints, keeping the baby and herself safe, I’m utilized at my highest abilities. I know how to work those monitors, keeping them on mom and baby, holding the transducer on the baby’s heartbeat if I need to. The technology in the hospital doesn’t intimidate or scare me; I know it all well. (And, I know! I should have been a certified nurse midwife! Alas, in another life.) I know how to support the nurses so they’re better able to attend to my client. I’m comfortable seeing myself as an ally with the medical staff as opposed to an enemy, as someone hired to protect a woman as if I were a castle wall. I know, because I’ve seen it, that kindness and understanding between doula and nurse helps a laboring mom far, far more than antagonism and distrust. I’ve listened to doula after doula tell me how they despise hospital births, how they’re burnt out from watching birth violence and being so helpless to do anything about it. I’ve watched as doulas fall by the wayside of hospital births, some even saying they will now only doula with certain hospitals, doctors or even only for women who’re having homebirths. My heart asks, “Who helps the others? Are those that might need a doula most be left wanting… nay, needing… someone to, at the very least, bear witness to the assault upon their bodies and hearts?” I have a knack for helping women process difficult births; maybe I’m supposed to be one of those that replaces an overwhelmed, traumatized doula.

I believe in the benefits of birthing in a hospital. While I absolutely believe many, if not most, women can birth safely in the home, the reality is that isn’t happening –and doesn’t seem to be happening anytime soon. Hospitals, to me, are not The Enemy, but can be vital links to connect a family to their newborn. I believe the System as it stands now can totally use some re-vamping, some areas even in very dramatic ways, but unless someone (many someones!) stands within and humbly (or even arrogantly!) offers solutions, nothing will change. I don’t know if I’m that person and, honestly, it isn’t remotely on my agenda as I step into my new roles, but who knows what affect any of us has on another person… or institution… unless we do something.

I wrote “When You Buy the Hospital Ticket, You Go for the Hospital Ride” years ago. Sadly, it’s still a common refrain for most women to endure. I am only one woman… one old-ish, fat, loving, smart birth-loving woman… but, even I want to make my mark in the world. Imagine the stories I’ll now be able to tell! It doesn’t seem that homebirth midwifery was my (only) path. I’m setting out on another and from what I can see from here, the ways seems brightly colored, flower scent-filled and gloriously luminous. 

Once again, here I go.