Knowing Birth Series: Tara H (5)

knowing birth

WHAT IS KNOWING BIRTH?

Here is the link to the original Knowing Birth post.

There are so many books and studies claiming to know the truth about birth, but what I’ve found in my conversations with mothers and birth professionals are so many unique experiences surrounding each birth. A book or study can’t possibly take into account the actual voices of individuals. So what better way to find out than to simply ask.

That led me to what I call Knowing Birth interviews. I have come up with a handful of questions that, moms, dads and care providers will answer. I’ll then take their answers and put them directly on this blog.

The only requirement is honesty and openness, and maybe a few pictures too. If you would like to share your experience and answers to the following questions, please email me at doulamegan@gmail.com and I will get the questionnaire to you directly. Anyone can participate and there’s no judgment from me about your answers. I promise to keep a close eye on the comments and keep ‘em clean.

THIS WEEKS INTERVIEW IS THANKS TO…

Tara and her beautiful family. The photos Tara sent me are so amazing and a tribute to the  beauty of birth. All photos were taken by their doula Kyndal May.

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Where did you choose to have your birth and why? What are your feelings about that choice now?

I chose to give birth to both of my children at The Baby Place (now New Beginnings) Birth Center. I honestly feel that it was one of the very best choices I have ever made in my entire life.

How did you prepare for your birth?

While pregnant with my first baby, I did A LOT of research comparing hospital birth versus out-of-hospital birth, and natural birth versus medicated birth. My husband and I also planned to meet the midwives and tour the center then do the same at a hospital with a doctor. However, once we met our midwives, asked several questions, and toured the birth center, we both had an overwhelming feeling that this was where we wanted our baby to be born. The midwives offered exactly what I wanted for my labor/birth experience; they were extremely knowledgeable and made me feel very comfortable asking any and all questions we had.  We also took Kyndal May’s Confident Childbirth class and hired her as our doula (for both births actually). I highly recommend every parent to take her class and hire a doula! I just can’t say enough at how the positive view (one that says childbirth is a natural process and not a problem that needs fixed), was the most encouraging way to birth my babies.

Who was invited and present at your birth?

For my son’s birth (my first) we had a bit of an audience. Other than my midwives, doula and husband, we had my mom, his mom and his sister. I was happy to have them present towards the end of my labor and while pushing. They were all very encouraging to me and it’s so fun to talk about the moments during that time.

For my daughter’s birth (my second), we had planned to have the same family present, however, she came very fast and was born about ten minutes after arriving to the birth center. It ended up just being my midwife, doula and husband and everyone else arrived just seconds after she was born.

Looking back, I know it was intended to be that way. It is so cool to have each kind of experience; one with family and one with just us and our birth team.

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If it was not your first birth, please compare/contrast your experiences.

Although both babies were born at the same birth center, even in the same room (not even by choice as my daughter was so fast that we stopped where we landed), my experiences were slightly different. My midwives were different; however, they were equally wonderful, compassionate, and trustworthy. My labors were also very different, and it was so fulfilling to have a doula and husband that knew how to comfort me during my hard moments of each labor.

What qualifications do you look for in a midwife/OB/primary care provider?

My biggest qualifications are knowledge and trust. I need someone who has knowledge about every aspect of pregnancy/labor/birth and is able to educate and encourage me along the way. I need somebody who trusts the process and who I can trust to handle the process. It is mine and my babies’ lives on the line! I feel blessed that I found these qualifications in all of my midwives.

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What is your ideal relationship with a birth attendant?

My ideal relationship with my midwives is one that is comfortable and caring. I was never treated as a “patient” and I always felt comfortable asking even the silly question I had along the way. They were professional while also making me feel like a friend and they never rushed my appointments. They really made me feel important like mine and my baby’s needs were at the top of their list.

If you have received maternity care from both the medical and midwifery models of care, what are the biggest differences? Pros/cons of each?

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Did you feel adequately informed of your options?

I felt very informed about my options. I knew exactly what I wanted or didn’t want in a care provider as well as my birth. My midwives were always very up front with their statistics as well as their plan if transfer if I needed it. I felt completely safe in their care and knew they always had me and my baby’s best interest in mind. I wish all care providers, doctors to be exact, had to provide their statistics, as well.

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Describe your ideal birth environment at this point in time.

The birth center is my ideal birth environment. It is so peaceful and calm and provides all of the comfort measures I could desire.

How do you feel about the safety of birth in a hospital vs outside of a hospital?

I know for a fact that I received the safest and most personal care available for my family. I find it funny when people question out of hospital birth for safety reasons. I think many people have a very medical mindset when it comes to the natural/normal process. The interventions that occur at a hospital (some that uneducated women wouldn’t even think of as an intervention) change the whole process of labor and significantly increase the risk of needing more interventions and a lot of the time, cesarean sections.

When labor is able to take its natural path, no hospital or medical intervention is needed. I feel that a midwife is a better candidate to trust the process and let your body do what it knows to do instead of intervening and viewing it as a medical problem that need “fixed”.

However, I know my midwives are also highly trained to know when labor is becoming a medical emergency and will get you to a hospital if you need to be there. I think most people would be surprised at how often they don’t need medical help to do something their body was made to do. I feel that if more people completely educated themselves with unbiased information, more people would choose out of hospital birth. Women, who fully understand and trust the process, don’t fear birth.

Is there anything you would change about public policy relating to birth/maternity care? Why/how?

Yes. I think insurance companies should provide coverage for birth center and home births. We paid out of pocket for both of our births, and I would do it again in a heartbeat as they are worth EVERY penny (and then some), but I do think it’s ridiculous for insurance companies to not accept them as caregivers. Un-medicated, out of hospital births are much more cost effective and would save SO much money. With this being said, I don’t think women should only choose out of hospital births just because of money either, so we should also be encouraging and educating about midwifery and the natural process of birth.

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What do you feel were the most influential factors surrounding your birth? Why?

I honestly had no clue what I wanted in a birth until I became pregnant. I had a friend who had her babies at the birth center as well as many of her family members. They all talked so highly of their experiences that I knew I needed to check it out. Between doing that and spending hours reading birth stories, researching, and taking childbirth classes, I knew the birth center was the best place to give birth. I also knew that even if I opted for a natural birth at a hospital, it wouldn’t be joyous and peaceful because I would refusing things and fighting for what I wanted and didn’t want instead of being praised and encouraged through the wonderful, amazing process.

Who owns birth?

Mothers and babies own birth. Moms deserve to have the experience they want to have while doing the most important, most rewarding thing they will ever do. They should be respected, encouraged and honored. They should be able to birth where and how they choose and be supported in doing so. Babies own birth because this is their big day and they come when they are ready to. They should be given the time to make their grand arrival without being forced to.

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HOW TO JOIN THE KNOWING BIRTH SERIES

Email me at doulamegan@gmail.com and I’ll send you the questionnaire directly. There are no requirements, only that you have a voice about birth and want to share it openly and honestly.

THANKS FOR FOLLOWING AND BE WELL!

 

Knowing Birth Series: Jenny of Heavenly Treasure (4)

knowing birth

WHAT IS KNOWING BIRTH?

Here is the link to the original Knowing Birth post.

There are so many books and studies claiming to know the truth about birth, but what I’ve found in my conversations with mothers and birth professionals are so many unique experiences surrounding each birth. A book or study can’t possibly take into account the actual voices of individuals. So what better way to find out than to simply ask.

That led me to what I call Knowing Birth interviews. I have come up with a handful of questions that, moms, dads and care providers will answer. I’ll then take their answers and put them directly on this blog.

The only requirement is honesty and openness, and maybe a few pictures too. If you would like to share your experience and answers to the following questions, please email me at doulamegan@gmail.com and I will get the questionnaire to you directly. Anyone can participate and there’s no judgment from me about your answers. I promise to keep a close eye on the comments and keep ‘em clean.

THIS WEEKS INTERVIEW IS THANKS TO…

Jenny, from the blog Heavenly Treasure. Jenny shares her family’s joyful walk in the Christian faith, recipes and beautiful family stories. To read her birth story (an amazingly quick surprise unassisted birth) you can visit Jasmin’s Birth Story.

Family Photo, baby Jasmin 2.5 months
Family Photo, baby Jasmin 2.5 months

 

Where did you choose to have your birth and why? What are your feelings about that choice now?

We chose to have our birth at home. My husband was acquainted with a midwife and it just felt natural to do it at home. I didn’t have much knowledge of homebirths but I was getting into a more natural lifestyle so it just fit. Now im soooo glad we went that route!

How did you prepare for your birth?

4 Days Before Birth
4 Days Before Birth

Much prayer! Definitely got much of my strength from God’s word. We watched many videos on youtube of women giving birth. I read Birthing from Within and took the classes, though we didn’t make it to the last class! We also came across Angela Stokes-Monarch having a conscious parenting summit. Through this we found out about unassisted childbirths and put it into prayer though we kept seeing the midwife, but mentally preparing for an unassisted birth.  We also had chiropractic care twice a week, took prenatals, did some yoga, and walking. We also had a lotus birth so we got things ready for that as well.

Who was invited and present at your birth?

At first I wanted everyone to be there! I don’t know why. As it got closer I just wanted my husband and only wanted our midwife to be there when necessary. It just ended up being my husband and I!

If it was not your first birth, please compare/contrast your experiences.

This was our first birth and I hope the next will be exactly the same or better!

What qualifications do you look for in a midwife/OB/primary care provider?

It was definitely a relief that our midwife didn’t push anything on us, listened and respected our wishes. We don’t expect everyone to have our same mentality but at least have an open mind and respect.

What is your ideal relationship with a birth attendant?

jenny 3Ideally just my husband! I’m glad our midwife is awesome and has become a friend. I don’t think I would feel comfortable with anyone else. I did consider having at least my mom there.

If you have received maternity care from both the medical and midwifery models of care, what are the biggest differences? Pros/cons of each?

Do ultrasounds count as medical care? Hahaha if so then I only had one ultrasound and only because the baby was breech for a while and wanted to make sure she had surely turned.

Did you feel adequately informed of your options?

Yes, I feel like we both looked deep enough into every option and possibility, thank God we came across free birthing!

Describe your ideal birth environment at this point in time.

I do kind of wish we would have had the birthing pool, but maybe not because I was having bowel movements the whole time.

How do you feel about the safety of birth in a hospital vs outside of a hospital?

An hour or so, still slimy!
An hour or so, still slimy!

Each has its place. If there’s a need then of course go to the hospital…when necessary. Other than that, outside of the hospital, wherever you’re most comfortable and have everything you need, is the safest.

Is there anything you would change about public policy relating to birth/maternity care? Why/how?

Oh wow! make birth centers, doulas, midwives, etc. the primary care. Publicize home births and midwifery as safest best option for mamas and babies. basically, spread the truth!

What do you feel were the most influential factors surrounding your birth? Why?

God Almighty. He provides all. He guided me on my maternity path perfectly and lovingly. He led me to every single video, book, website, person, that influenced my heart and mind to KNOW that I CAN DO THIS!

Who owns birth?

God Almighty! He gives all mamas the body and power to do this! We own birth! We are fearfully and wonderfully made to be fruitful and multiply. Our Father knows what He’s doing, and He is Faithful to answer our cries, especially while giving birth!

Happy baby! 4 months
Happy baby! 4 months

Want to know more about Jenny?

Check out her blog Heavenly Treasure at heavenlytreasure.net to learn more about Christianity, her family and baby Jasmin’s birth story. Thanks Jenny!

How To Join The Knowing Birth Series

Email me at doulamegan@gmail.com and I’ll send you the questionnaire directly. There are no requirements, only that you have a voice about birth and want to share it openly and honestly.

THANKS FOR FOLLOWING AND BE WELL!

Knowing Birth Series: Dawn of Small Footprint Family (2)

knowing birth

What is knowing birth?

Here is the link to the original Knowing Birth post.

There are so many books and studies claiming to know the truth about birth, but what I’ve found in my conversations with mothers and birth professionals are so many unique experiences surrounding each birth. A book or study can’t possibly take into account the actual voices of individuals. So what better way to find out than to simply ask.

That led me to what I call Knowing Birth interviews. I have come up with a handful of questions that, moms, dads and care providers will answer. I’ll then take their answers and put them directly on this blog.

The only requirement is honesty and openness, and maybe a few pictures too. If you would like to share your experience and answers to the following questions, please email me at doulamegan@gmail.com and I will get the questionnaire to you directly. Anyone can participate and there’s no judgment from me about your answers. I promise to keep a close eye on the comments and keep ‘em clean.

This Weeks Interview Is Thanks To…

Dawn, from the blog Small Footprint Family. Dawn writes about health, nutrition, green living and gardening. Her posts are insightful and her recipes are yummy. Definitely check out her handy work at www.SmallFootprintFamily.com

"Me and Babyzilla! (whose "Big Girl Bed" is the bed she was born on."
“Me and Babyzilla! (whose “Big Girl Bed” is the bed she was born on.”

Where did you choose to have your birth and why? What are your feelings about that choice now?

I chose to have my baby at home in my apartment. I wouldn’t have had it any other way and I am eternally grateful for the experience.

How did you prepare for your birth?

I took Bradley birthing classes with my partner, maintained a strict Brewer diet with prenatal vitamins, received massage, chiropractic and acupuncture often, regularly saw a midwife, and tried not to vomit all the time. I read copiously and worried way too much.

Who was invited and present at your birth?

I had two girlfriends come by during the early part of my labor, but then it was just Papa and me until the very end. We feel birth is a very private experience.

If it was not your first birth, please compare/contrast your experiences.

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What qualifications do you look for in a midwife/OB/primary care provider?

I looked for someone with a good reputation who would come to my home. In Washington, D.C. that gave me about 3 midwives to choose from. My midwife from Maryland was in fact not licensed for homebirth in D.C., since it is not permitted there.

I guess I had an illegal homebirth!

What is your ideal relationship with a birth attendant?

My ideal relationship would be one of support and camaraderie. Someone who can quietly assist, assuage and gently inform during a natural, but scary process.

Ideally, if I had another child, I would want a midwife with more of a background in nutrition, holistic health and/or acupuncture.

If you have received maternity care from both the medical and midwifery models of care, what are the biggest differences? Pros/cons of each?

When I went to the city clinic for prenatal care, I was treated like a number by incompetent nurses, some of whom were downright unprofessional. It was not uncommon to have to wait 2-3 hours to be seen for a scheduled appointment.

After one nurse failed to find a fetal heartbeat on my second visit, she brightly announced to me and Papa that she thought I had miscarried, even though the only sign of it was that she couldn’t find the heartbeat. We had to wait eight days in grief and terror until we could get an ultrasound. The ultrasound merely confirmed that the nurse was incompetent with a stethoscope.

The attending OB/GYN at the clinic was very nice, but overstretched and largely unavailable. She would whiz in and whiz out after answering a few questions. The most frequently she could see me was once every three or four months.

Later in my pregnancy, I went to the emergency room because I couldn’t stop throwing up and needed an IV. In addition to the 6-hour wait, I couldn’t help but feel like I was treated like a machine in need of repair. The doctors and nurses, while nice enough and seemingly competent at the technical skills they were required to perform, seemed oddly detached and dismissive. The place just felt soulless.

I left the allopathic model as quickly as I could find the right midwife, which was a bit of a challenge in Washington, D.C., where the region has some of the highest C-Section rates in the country.

After I hired her, my midwife saw me monthly or more frequently, as needed. She took her time examining me and talking with me, was accessible by phone, and was so relaxed about the birthing process, she put me at ease just with her presence.

She rented us a birthing tub, and helped me through a 63-hour labor that would surely have ended in a Caesarean at the hospital. My baby had her fist trapped beside her ear within my pelvis, and couldn’t turn face down, prolonging my labor greatly. I think I walked a half-mile of stairs trying to get her to turn!

But her heartbeat remained strong, and so the midwife was patient. I delivered her “sunny side up” and despite our best efforts, I had some tearing because I delivered her fist and arm with her head.

Papa caught Babyzilla, and the midwife untangled the cord and helped place her right onto my chest with the cord still attached. She latched on to breastfeed almost right away. Then, a bunch of other stuff happened that I barely remember; there was my newborn baby girl on my chest! I was a mom!

Finally, my midwife did the most amazing thing: She stored my placenta in the freezer, emptied the birthing tub, cleaned my house, fed us all from the food my friends had delivered, and tucked me, Papa and Babyzilla into bed! Wow!

Given the length of my labor, the challenge of my baby’s presentation and the fact that her fist was caught in the birth canal, I would surely have been a C-section in the hospital. But with patience, wisdom and an experienced stethoscope, my midwife enabled me to have the birth I dreamed of.

Did you feel adequately informed of your options?

Yes. I did a lot of homework around having a homebirth. I had no doubts and did everything I could to ensure I had a low-risk pregnancy.

Describe your ideal birth environment at this point in time.

Home.

How do you feel about the safety of birth in a hospital vs outside of a hospital?

I feel that in a hospital I would have had a nightmare birth experience. I am frankly phobic of allopathic doctors and hospitals. I utilize them only when I have an emergency that warrants chemical or surgical intervention, and then I do so reluctantly.  If I had to give birth there, I would have been extremely stressed out, which is not conducive to having babies!

Is there anything you would change about public policy relating to birth/maternity care? Why/how?

Homebirth and birthing centers and prenatal chiropractic and massage should be covered by all insurance plans. (My entire midwife-led birth experience, including prenatal visits cost only $2,500!) Payments to providers should be outcome based, not treatment-based. Birth curricula should be overhauled in every medical school to reflect a new paradigm of birth as a natural process.

What do you feel were the most influential factors surrounding your birth? Why?

The contrast between my conventional medical experience and my experience with a midwife couldn’t be more stark.

For me, a birth experience in a hospital would have been tantamount to torture, and I am so grateful I had no complications that warranted birthing there.

Who owns birth?

Every woman who chooses to give birth owns birth, and no one else. Everyone else should play only a supporting role or get out of the way.

Want To Know More About Dawn?

Check out her blog Small Footprint Family to learn about gardening, nutrition, green living and health. Thanks Dawn!

How To Join The Knowing Birth Series

Email me at doulamegan@gmail.com and I’ll send you the questionnaire directly. There are no requirements, only that you have a voice about birth and want to share it openly and honestly.

Thanks for following and be well!

This post featured on Party Wave Wednesday, Tasty Traditions, Thank Your Body Thursday, Small Footprint Friday