Archive for February, 2009

My current hospital-based childbirth series has been a lot of fun. The 10 couples in the class are engaged, 296660035_5caa6cc01d4participatory and very funny. I am enjoying this group! Wednesday, I was teaching and before we started talking about pain medications, I asked the class if they thought childbirth “had to hurt?” One guy raised his hand and said, “Of course it hurts, there is a baby ripping and tearing through your vagina!”
The class collectively inhaled sharply, and there was silence. “What???,” he inquired, “I thought it was okay to say vagina in this class?” I held in my laugh, and politely informed him, “It was the ripping and tearing part that got us!” We went on to have a great talk about the power and purpose of pain! I love my job!


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Yesterday I had a reunion celebrating the births of a recent childbirth class series. This group of parents was a totally fun group to have in class, engaged, asking questions, having lively discussions and forming a community amongst themselves as the weeks progressed. Sometimes I think the most important thing I can offer expectant families is this sense of community! They formed a google group at the end of class, shared birth stories and pictures, made some pizza dates and met for coffee, before and after the babies arrived! By the time I met all the babies at the reunion, they had gotten together several times and shared advice and wisdom as they learned along with their newborns.

Could these little babes be any cuter?

Could these little babes be any cuter?

I was so happy to hear the birth stories (these women are strong!) and was so proud at how confidently they moved in the world of the new parent, and so willingly shared their tips and tricks with each other.

It takes a village, and these families were creating it right in front of my eyes! Plans are underway for more meetings in the future, and a slew of emails went back and forth today with more things to share.

Events like this remind me how much I love my job!

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The Power of a Word!

I read an absolutely fantastic post from one of my favorite bloggers, and I believe she has hit the nail right on the head! The loss of VBAC options for women changed significantly in 1999 when ACOG issued a new guideline stating that a surgeon and anesthesiologist both needed to be IMMEDIATELY available in hospital, if a woman was to “safely” VBAC. Since then, our options are shrinking, hospitals are banning VBACs with increasing frequency, OB practices are refusing to accept VBAC patients and women are being herded down a one-way street, with tall barriers on both sides, right into the OR for their scheduled repeat cesarean.

I encourage you to hustle over right now to The Well-Rounded Mama and read this post. I could not have said it better myself! Thank you Well-Rounded Mama, for being so thorough!

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As you and your partner get ready to have your VBAC with this baby, think how better prepared you will be with a wonderful, experiential refresher especially designed for VBAC mamas! Spend just one day focusing on this baby and connecting with your partner, in the company of other families having the same experience. Remind yourself about the stages and phases of labor, tips on preparing the sibling(s) at home for a new baby, things you can do in labor to help with back pain and the OP baby, including prenatal positions and exercises to get the little one lined up correctly before labor starts, local hospital protocols for VBAC women, choices and options that can help you succeed, and current research about the safety of VBAC births. Get a chance to experience a labor simulation, where you try a variety of coping skills and techniques, identifying what might work for you on the big day!

Falling in love after a fantastic VBAC!

Falling in love after a fantastic VBAC!

You will leave class at the end of the day confident and assured that you are strong, you are capable, your body and your baby know what to do and you can succeed!

The day is full of useful information, lively discussion and practical tips all intended to prepare you for a successful vaginal birth after a cesarean.

Check out the VBAC page on my website for more information and 2009 class dates, comments from prior students and shoot me an email if you are interested. Next class is March 21st! Space is limited. I look forward to having you in class.

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VBAC Bans across the USA

As a follow up to yesterday’s post on the TIME magazine article The Trouble with Repeat Cesareans, here is a link to the data collected from ICAN on VBAC bans across the country.

ICAN’s 2009 Survey on VBAC Bans

I noticed that one of our local hospitals contained incorrect data (Swedish Medical Center stated allowed, but there are two campuses, and VBACs are not allowed at Ballard) and have emailed ICAN, who will be making the correction shortly.

And, should you be denied a VBAC at your hospital of choice, here is some more information about what you can do!

What to do if you are denied a VBAC chance

Thanks to Birth Activist blogger Robin Weiss, for these two links!

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Time Magazine came out with a great article “The Trouble With Repeat Cesareans” today online, and this is scheduled to be available in the newsstand issue tomorrow! (Does anyone buy magazines anymore???)

The International Cesarean Awareness Network helped greatly with this article, providing data on VBAC bans state by state, and I was shocked at the numbers for WA state: Out of 69 hospitals, 27 banned VBACs totally, and there are 13 “de facto” bans, where there is no outright policy against them, but just try to find a provider willing to work with VBAC’ing women! Ouch!
As a co-leader of ICAN Seattle, I speak with, meet and hear the stories of women every day, who can’t find a provider willing to support her VBAC birth. Really support! Not like, “Well, you can try, but we will schedule your repeat Cesarean for 40 weeks if you haven’t had your baby yet! Courageous women are making choices beyond what any woman should have to do, in order to birth a baby out her vagina after a Cesarean! There are local women choosing to bring in traveling midwives to attend them, Women going to a different state to have their VBAC baby, and a few wonderul WA midwives who believe in choice and safe birth, willing to work with VBAC women to have a home birth, with very little community support from hospital based providers!

And, as the number of Cesareans go up every year, the number of women who want to have a VBAC will only grow. And unfortunately, I fear the choices will become increasingly limited.

Now, I am all for Cesareans when necessary, but honestly, can almost a third of the women in the US not birth a baby vaginally???? The World Health Organization (WHO) states that a Cesarean rate in developed countries of 10-15% rreflects surgery when truly necessary, and anything higher is actually doing more harm than good. More harm to moms and more harm to babies!

Go read the TIME article and let me know what you think. Or tell me about your own VBAC journey here! And if you need help finding resources, selecting a provider, or want to connect with other women with similar experiences, find your local ICAN chapter from the ICAN link above! Click here for Seattle ICAN Chapter info. Finally, as a doula, I love supporting VBACing women and I teach a VBAC class in Seattle for women looking to birth their next baby vaginally! More info on this at my website New Moon Birth

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A day just full of birth, from morning to night! First off, a postpartum visit with a mama and four day old little girl! It is so nice to help get breastfeeding off to a good start and reassure the new parents that things are going well, even if they feel all topsy-turvey, which is so normal.

Then, a PALS Doulas board meeting, with lots of exciting plans and ideas for this wonderful Seattle based doula organization, the oldest doula organization in the country!

Later this evening, it is time for ICAN Seattle to meet, and we are having a local Certified Nurse Midwife come and share some of the current issues for VBAC women that she sees in her practice and at the hospital where she works! I am a co-leader of this group, and am enjoying it very much. ICAN has a wonderful video on women who have gone on to have vaginal births after cesareans (VBAC) after they were told they had CPD (Cephalo-pelvic Disproportion), meaning no baby would fit through their vaginas. I find it so inspirational, and you should check it out!

The day is full of good things, good people and birth! What could be better!

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