I laughed until I cried!

A Man’s Guide to HomeBirth on Dr. Momma [Update: it was removed from Dr. Momma, but here it is in full.]

This is hilarious! Simply hilarious. I’ll give you a taste, but you must read the whole thing:

These are the items that men need to assist in a homebirth (not in order of use by the way): a black-light, princess wand (any type of wand toy will do,) fun-house mirror, catchers mitt/fishing net/soccer gloves, pocket watch, thesaurus, gum, woman who has witnessed a live birth, six pack of beer (or favorite alcohol), shovel, bucket, 1 dozen eggs, shredded mozzarella cheese, shower shoes, swimming shorts, push-up/pull-up bars or a wheelbarrow, old table covers (plastic holiday ones are best,) 1 big steak (or other red meat,) and 1 big cliche. Most of these items are for preparing for the birth, while a few are for the actual birthing….

So when I came down the stairs and was informed that she was in labor at 9am-ish, I felt ready this time since I just slept for 10 friggin hours. Alas, after hanging around downstairs for about ten minutes, my eyes rolled into the back of my head and I went and took a nap. On a side note, this is where the doula’s biggest strength lies – they are highly trained to withstand the Hypno-Fog. It was after that nap during the Hypno-Fog stage that I discovered that women who are about to go into labor cast this area-of-effect spell that can drop a man to the floor in a matter of minutes….

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Cesarean Scar Website

Barb from Navelgazing Midwife has launched a new website dedicated to the “story” your Cesarean scar tells. From the “About” page on the website:

Something told me the cesarean scar needed a place to speak.

As this site was being born, I asked three things:

-1. Take a picture of your scar.

-2. What does your scar say when you look at it?

-3. What does your scar say when you touch it?

What followed was a steady trickle of photos and stories… tender, painful, wonderful, awful stories.

Here, I humbly offer space for the stories to find their way to light.

I’ve read a few of the stories, and already there is a wide range of emotions: “I hate my scar,” “My scar mocks me,” “I’m now at peace with my scar,” “I love my scar because that means my child(ren) are alive,” etc. Everyone has a story to tell…

Vita Mutari

Thanks to Diana, I have come across a new blog that I am sure I will love. In this post, Vita Mutari, which translated from Latin means “life transformation,” she discusses the difficulty that sometimes arises with terms surrounding labor and birth:

So I was asked today again about the pain of childbirth…and again I expressed my frustration that what we feel in labor with our babies is “intense”, “incredibly huge”, etc…but that I don’t believe that there is a word in the English language to express what it feels like, as it’s totally unique to anything else you will ever feel in your life. It demands full attention of your body, your mind, your soul….it is one of the few experiences we have that transcends the physical and is all encompassing, taking everything you have and everything that you are….only to have you emerge on the other side transformed, changed permanently – you will never be the same.  Sometimes you have a really difficult experience and you come out the other side feeling beaten down, feeling weak and dealing with the consequences of the negativity for the rest of your life. Other times you will emerge with an entirely new respect for yourself, your body, your strength…you will suddenly see yourself as the amazing person that you are!

VITA MUTARI

Which (finally) brings me to these two words…my new favorite words.  I think I will start using these words from now on when someone asks about what labor feels like or the pain of giving birth…. VITA MUTARI!!  Labor feels like “mutari”….the contractions will grow and you will feel Vita Mutari …the vita mutari will grow in intensity….as the mutari increases, you may vocalize or call out…

Oh, yes! I like this!! And along those lines, this birth story and this “Sour Grapes” post are fitting.

Updated to add…

This from the Irish Times: Pain relief “doesn’t lead to more satisfying births”:

“Research on women’s satisfaction with labour has found that the one-on-one support they got from the midwife was a much more important part of the actual experience than the experience of pain. Paradoxically, a lot of women talk about a high level satisfaction along with a high level of pain.” – Midwife and professor Denis Walsh

While there are certainly times when labor pain is “pain” and an epidural can “transform what is a miserable experience into one they actually enjoy because they are not suffering the awful pain,” [quote from a doctor in the article], oftentimes a doula or a midwife or some other support person can likewise transform “pain” into “mutari”.

Midwife Kitty Ernst — Neat story!

I might entitle this “the making of a midwife” — the story of Kitty Ernst who from a young age wanted to be a nurse, and during her obstetrics rotation as a student nurse “vowed never to do obstetrics nursing,” but found out about Mary Breckinridge of Frontier Midwifery Service, and wanted to become a midwife. The remainder of the story is her witnessing her first out-of-hospital birth. Very neat.

h/t Pinky

Twin Home Birth Story

Click here to read Robin Elise Weiss’s story of the home-birth of her 5th and 6th children — identical twin girls. A lovely story!

Tangled in the Safety Net

One of the blogs most recently added to my blogroll is “Birth Sense,” previously, “The Midwife Next Door,” and I’m glad I’ve found it. In a recent post, she details a birth story, illustrating that the “safety net” of a hospital may not always function like it should.

In most hospitals today, you will see a central monitoring station with nurses clustered around it, eyes fixated on the monitor screen.  Rather than spending this time in one-to-one assessment of their patient, observing the whole picture of how things are going, they focus on one element of the labor–the fetal heart rate.  Where is the physician?  At the office, or elsewhere, while the nurse is expected to monitor and identify problems with the labor and notify the physician if problems arise.

This is one common misunderstanding regarding home vs. hospital birth.  Many women feel safer in the hospital because they have emergency services immediately available.  But if you have an emergency and your physician is not at your bedside, who is going to perform emergency surgery?  The nurse? The anesthesiologist?  No, you will have to wait until your physician is summoned and arrives at the hospital, assesses you, and makes the decision to perform a c-section…..

I paged the chief again.  I called my supervisor again.  No other doctors were  on the floor, or I would have begged one of them to help.  No one was answering my calls.  I finally called Brianna’s physician again and told her that I had notified the OB chief  and the nursing supervisor that she was refusing to come in.  Very angry now, she hung up on me.  A few minutes later she walked into Brianna’s labor room.  I still had not heard back from the OB chief, and the nursing supervisor was also trying to reach him….

Click here to read the rest of the story.

Planned C-section turned unplanned HBA3C (home-birth after 3 Cesareans)

How’s that for a story? Oh, and it happened only about an hour away from where I live! Here’s the article, from the Memphis Commercial Appeal. She was supposed to show up for her fourth C-section on Dec. 6. Instead, she started having contractions on Friday the 13th. (Actually, she says in retrospect, she had started labor in the night, but they were so mild, she didn’t recognize them as true contractions.) Then her water broke, and in a couple of minutes, the baby came out, “caught” by her two-year-old son! [The three-year-old was a little freaked out. {Shrug}]

One odd thing, is that she related that the contractions for this labor were not as strong as those with her other children… but if they were all born by C-section, I’m wondering why. I can see her having a normal labor for the first one (most likely induced and/or augmented with Pitocin), and ending in an unplanned C-section. And I can see them allowing her to attempt a VBAC with the second, but usually not with the third — although it’s possible she showed up in labor and was given a C-section. Oh, the details these stories written for the general public leave out!

Another woman proves her body works, and her vagina is actually useful in birth. 🙂

h/t Birth Activist