Saturday, May 1, 2010

The results are in...

and MUSIC BIRTH still ROCKS! (But you already knew that, right?)

In the past 12 months:

67% of Music Birth moms delivered without any intervention
(The national epidural rate is between 80 and 90%)
(can't seem to find any reliable data on forcep/vacuum delivery rates...)

67% of moms going for VBACS were able to have vaginal deliveries
(vs. 12% nationally)

Only 17% of Music Birth Moms received pitocin
(vs. 47% nationally)

Only 1 Music Birth mom required a cesarean delivery.
(vs. 1 out of every 3 women)

This was a first for me, and it was rough. I have had class members need cesareans, but until last month, I had never had a doula client need one. I have never seen a mom so patient, determined, and long-suffering. I was moved by her strength, and impressed with her courage.
I wish it could have ended differently for her. But after being dilated to 7 cm (yes, I said SEVEN) for 35 hours (yes , said THIRTY-FIVE), we were running out of options. Hours of peaceful laboring quickly became chaotic and stressful.

As birthers, all we can do is prepare and do everything in our power to ensure a safe and healthy delivery. When that doesn't work, we know we need the intervention. There is a peace of mind that comes from knowing you did everything you could, and you did everything right. It's ok to get an intervention if you need it. Actually, it's a really good thing. But if you don't need it, it's not worth the risk. And I am thrilled to see that my clients continue to not receive interventions that they don't need.

Sunday, April 25, 2010

How Long Will Pushing Take?

This is a question I get from ALOT of women, and of course, I don't know what the answer is. But one thing almost all women can count on is it is usually easier and faster with each subsequent child you have. So this mom (who pushed for 3 1/2 hours with baby #1!) was REALLY hoping that pushing would go by much quicker this time around!

I received a call from mom at about 4:00 Friday morning, saying she was on her way to the hospital. I asked if she wanted to me to meet her there, or if she wanted to call once she was checked etc. She said she would call once they were all set up at the hospital.

5:25 am, Dad calls and mom is already 7 cm! I get up and out of the house in a whopping SIX minutes! A personal record. :) But even with my speed, mom is complete when I arrive shortly before 6:00. I felt SO bad that I had missed the entire labor. I was with mom and dad with baby #1, and we joked that #2 would surely feel ripped off because there were no pictures of his labor. So we quickly took this picture to at least have one of the labor! :)

6:15 mom begins pushing. So of course we are all thinking things are about finished, but we were pretty wrong. Mom opted for intrathecal pain meds, with is a lot like a spinal but not as strong. It works much quicker than an epidural, but doesn't last nearly as long. Moms like pain meds for obvious reasons, but they do inhibit pushing. Combine that with a posterior baby, and this mom was gearing up for a lot of pushing.

Goal #1: Rotate Baby.
This mom is always positive and willing to try anything. She was a great sport about changing position every three contractions. She pushed in almost every possible position: each side, hands and knees, squatting etc. 1 hour and 45 minutes later, baby was in the exact same spot. UG!

Goal #2: Push baby out. :)
But as the pain meds began to wear off, not only did mom's pushing get more effective, but the baby started to rotate too! So once that happened, baby was born in about 20 minutes!

Welcome to the world, Baby Preston! Born at 8:26 am, Friday April 23rd.

A big boy: 8 pounds 14 ounces.

The birth of baby #1 was not only long, but stressful and ended with a trip to the NICU. It definitely took it's toll on dad. But this time around I don't think dad got faint or queasy at all!

There's no lack of love for this little guy. Here he is being adored by both grandmas, and mom's best friend.

So mom still spend quite a long time pushing. But she did shave off about 30% of how long it took her to push out baby #1. That is actually really good progress!

Thanks for sharing your birth! You guys did great!

Monday, April 5, 2010

Billions $ vs. Breastfeeding

I am so happy to see that people outside of the "birth world" are starting to notice the benefits of natural birth and breastfeeding! I am trying not to get ahead of myself, but I am hopeful that the pendulum is starting to head back the other direction, and that our country is headed in the right direction. Just today I was reading an article about breastfeeding; and how if more women breastfed... fewer babies would die, and it would save the US billions of dollars every year.

Breastmilk is hands down the most perfect food in the world, and is totally free! It is the most amazing natural resource, always keeps up with supply and demand, and is grossly under utilized. According to today's article, the government spends billions of dollars a year on formula. I am assuming this is due to the number of women utilizing WIC services, which provides free formula to low income families. Imagine the double bonus our country would experience if fewer babies were getting sick, and the billions of dollars going towards formula could actually go towards health issues?!

I so hope that health care reform will really focus on prevention instead of treatment. We could all benefit by starting at the beginning, instead of at the end. And it all starts with pregnancy and birth. Healthy birth is the start to a healthy life.

Tuesday, March 30, 2010

Lullaby of Love

Writing lullabies is a highlight of my career, and hopefully a highlight to the couples who take my class. I recently had an article published in International Doula, a journal run by Doulas Of North America (DONA). Click here to read my article, The Lullaby of Love.

Wednesday, February 24, 2010

A Daily Miracle

At 9:45 Tuesday morning I received a "heads-up" call from my clients, saying they thought mom was in early labor. I waited all day to be called to the birth, and finally almost 22 hours later we met at the hospital. They definitely get the award for giving me the most amount of time to get ready. :) They also get a patience award... not only was mom in early labor for an entire day, she was also several days past her due date. What a trooper.

In the early evening she wondered if her water had broken, and the car ride to the hospital confirmed that it had. But at 7:30 pm, she was still only dilated 2 cm. When I arrived shortly after midnight I found mom and dad laboring perfectly together. Meditation music was playing, and mom was using the birth ball to ease her discomfort. During contractions mom felt most of her pain in her back, and we suspected a posterior baby. The nurse checked her cervix at 1:45 am, and she was now dilated to a 4, and did indeed have a posterior situation.

Mom continued to really pump out the contractions, and spent her time walking the halls and leaning on the birth ball. She started to feel her baby moving, and suddenly most of the pain from her back was now on her right hip, meaning her baby was starting to find a better position. Her contractions were intensifying quickly, and at 2:50 am she was dilated to a 5 and headed to the jacuzzi. That water provided some much needed relief and rest until an overwhelming urge to push came over her during contractions. This is a wonderful sign of progress, but can make things pretty difficult for mom. After being in the tub for only an hour she was now dilated to 8!

Mom headed to the bed to prepare for delivery, and get through her final contractions. Like her entire labor, mom combined her knowledge with her instincts, and the result was a mom who labored like a pro! She was so in control and focused, and totally blew her husband away. At 4:20 am the doctor told her she could start pushing, and all mom could say was "really?".

Then just 35 minutes later, at 4:55 am on February 24th,
Mya (sp?) was born (without any intervention).
Isn't she a beauty?!

Baby girl appeared to be so content and
happy to be in her mommy's arms.

Weighing in at 7 pounds, 4 1/2 ounces.

And just like the lyrics to one of the songs we listened to during labor:
"It's just another, ordinary, miracle today."

While birth may be an everyday occurrence,
it truly is always a miracle.

Friday, February 5, 2010

2nd VBAC, for 1/3 of the time!

Two years ago I attended the longest birth of my doula career. We were together for a whopping 21 hours, and after the baby was finally born, the first thing the mom said to me was "we're done having kids because there isn't any good way to get them out of me". And you know what, I believed her! Her first child was born via emergency cesarean, and her second child was vacuum delivered after an entire day of labor. So when she told me baby #3 was on the way I was pretty surprised, and very hopeful for a shorter delivery this time.

Mom had her membranes stripped on Thursday morning, and I got a call at 2:00 am Friday morning. Mom and dad were planning on a long, leisurely early labor like last time; and I was going to meet them at their home. But by 3:00 am they had changed their minds and were heading to the hospital where we all gathered by about 3:20. Mom was dilated 4 1/2 cm, and things were rolling. She vocalized low tones during her contractions, and was dilated to almost a 6 by 5:00 am. After enduring the never ending questions and monitoring, mom eagerly headed to the jacuzzi. She continued to labor amazingly well. Listening to music, vocalizing, and staying perfectly relaxed.

Around 7:00 the contractions had sadly slowed down, and it was time to get out of the water and start walking the halls to get things moving again. Mom was tired, but was a good sport. Once the contractions were strong again, and to avoid the chaos of shift change, we made our way back into the delivery room and mom labored on the birth ball. Dad was a great support, offering a hand to hold, and shoulder to lean on, words of encouragement, water, and anything else she asked for. :)
By 9:00 mom was complete, and pushing began. And at 9:21, a beautiful baby girl was born! It was quite the relief since mom pushed for over two hours to deliver baby #2. Here they are just seconds after delivery.... The moment that makes everything worth it! And thankfully this time around, not a single intervention was used.

Is anything sweeter than the first time your baby holds on to your finger?

Weighing in at 7 pounds, 6 oz; and 19 1/4 inches long.

Before I left, we sang through the lullaby my recent class wrote, and here are the lyrics:

Baby Mine, so excited to meet you
I will cherish you.
I can't wait to spend my life with you,
no matter what we go through.
Time to dream of your perfect day,
full of laughter and play.
I'll love you til the end of time,
Beautiful Baby of Mine.

Baby girl looks soooo cute in this picture, I just had to include it.
Mom kept commenting on her perfect, tiny nose. What a doll!

Thank you for sharing your birth, and for choosing MUSIC BIRTH.