Ultimate Tenderness

I love this video for so many reasons.

-Respect I remember watching my newborn being bathed in the hospital.  He screamed bloody murder as the nurse scrubbed his head.  He hated baths as a newborn.  This nurse shows total respect for the baby’s need for warmth and safety.

-Gentleness.  The most fragile of all humans is, of course, the newborn baby.  Such gentleness that the baby even falls asleep during the bath!

-Trust.  How better to teach a newborn that this is a loving world.  Teach our babies to trust us.  My heart breaks for babies and children who know nothing except abuse and neglect.  Those who see the world as a dark and cold place.  I believe that treating our babies like this would do much for their development.

-And of course, the videography and editing. 🙂  Perhaps I’m biased.  Go watch this video.


Posted in Newborn Land | 2 Comments

Treating Births like Weddings

What if we treated planning our births like we treated planning our weddings?

What if we treated planning our births like we treated planning our weddings?

Yes, I realize that a wedding isn’t the same as a birth, but why are they treated so differently for budgeting purposes?  Why do most people feel entitled to have someone else (government or insurance) pay for their birth even if they expect no complications?

OF COURSE insurance should be maintained for catastrophic events (pre-term birth, emergency c-section, complications, etc).

Just humor me for a minute… What do you think would happen to the wedding industry if you could use “wedding insurance” to pay for the costs of a wedding.  The overhead for the vendors (what they spend to keep the business running) would skyrocket.  Some bigwig in the insurance corporate office would be making decision about what color every brides’ wedding tablecloths would be.  Reception venue size would be capped depending on a bride’s statistical probability of divorce (according to the insurance company).  I digress.

The average cost of a wedding is $25,631  and that is “self pay” with no deductible.  My wedding was about $6000.  My unmedicated, uncomplicated hospital birth was $9500.  I saw that bill to Medicaid (yes we were poor college students at the time), and I was disgusted.  When pregnant with my 3rd child, I realized that my out of pocket costs with insurance in a hospital (20%) would be higher than a home birth, I was even more disgusted.  I opted for a home birth to the tune of only $1400.  When our 4th came along, we had only catastrophic insurance with a $10,000 deductible so we were happy to pay for a home birth.

What if I’d treated my home birth like a wedding and went all out on lots of stuff to make me feel like a princess?
Midwife: $1400
Photography or Videography: $800
Catering: $200
Birth dress: $100
Doula: $650
Placenta Encapsulation: $200
Housekeeping before and after birth: $200
Lemonade with a little umbrella in it: $5
My total would be only $3555!  Only 1/3 the cost of my hospital birth where I got nothing but a 1/2 bag of free newborn diapers and some depends.
Adding a luxurious birth suite stay would only add $500-$1000.  Add a blessingway, meal delivery, new nursery furniture… we’re still not even close to the cost of a hospital birth.
Here’s another example.  Many couples have the option of using the gym or common room of their church building for free to host their reception.  How many actually do?  Most brides choose to pay extra to get the ambiance they desire for the reception.  It’s the same for birth, yet most couples choose the opposite- the free option.  How many times have you heard someone say “I’d like to have my baby in a birth center or at home, but my insurance will pay for the hospital, so it’s free/cheaper.”
Then there is the subject of time.  The average couple spends 2 hours a week planning their wedding.  I spent exactly 5 minutes researching the first midwifery practice I used for my first birth.  How irresponsible!  I read exactly 1 maternity book and looked online at pregnant bellies to compare how huge I was.  That hardly compares to the time I spent on my wedding– not even how much time I spent on those blasted homemade paper invitations. I’m embarrassed to admit I didn’t know what I was doing when I went in to labor.  My birth was traumatic, but how can I be angry at the midwife when I was the one who hired her?  Had I researched the practice or the hospital, I would have known my birth most likely not be what I thought it would be.
If couples treated their births like weddings, imagine the great service they’d get!  Vendors would be specialized and vying for the position of official service/vendor for births.  And since there are many more births than weddings, the industry would be competitive and therefore bringing the cost of services down and quality up.  Birth Centers would become as luxurious as wedding reception venues.  They would also specialize so that women could pick the exact fit for them.  For example, high risk pregnancies needing an OB would be served as there would be Birth Centers that would offer OBs and c-sections.
What do you think?
Posted in Uncategorized | 1 Comment

Amish and their low c-section rate

I often hear of stories that go along the line of “If I hadn’t had a c-section, I would have died.”  Really?  Are you sure?  It’s almost impossible to declare that for most c-sections.  I think in very rare cases, this statement is completely true.  C-sections do save the lives of mothers and babies.  I loved how it was portrayed in Call the Midwife episode 2.  This series is set in the 1950’s in England just when c-section was starting to become available.  A mother gives birth to her 5th child but first living child because she was finally able to have a c-section.  She had a malformed pelvis as a result of rickets as a child.  Thank goodness for c-sections!

So you see I am not against c-sections.

I had a friend recently (actually several) who was bullied into a c-section by a her midwife who is very pro c-section.  Then after the c-section, the midwife proceeded to scare my friend into thinking she would never be able to have the large family she always wanted.  The midwife said she could only have one more child- if she was lucky.  To me, this is a great tragedy.  Part of me wants to slap my friend upside the head and say “DO YOUR RESEARCH!” but most of me can’t blame her.  She’s trusting her care provider.  That’s what we’re taught to do, right?  And who really has time to do the research needed to make an informed decision?  And even when a mother makes an informed decision, there are still others surrounding her who will question her sanity and make her feel inept and perhaps that she’s putting her baby in danger.  I even felt this as I prepared for my 2nd home birth (4th natural birth).

Read this article.  I loved it.

Amish offers clues to lowering US c-section rate

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Clearing Birth Trauma


Perhaps someone would say “having birth trauma is hogwash.  You can’t remember that.”  To that I say that I think it’s logically impossible that our bodies would not imprint somehow on trauma even at such a young age.  Birth can be traumatic for the mother but also the baby.

My first labor and delivery was extremely traumatic for me.  When I read the term “birth rape” during my 3rd pregnancy, I wept.  In addition to being scared to death and treated like an animal during my labor, by that definition, I was repeatedly raped by the nurse that insisted on checking me every hour or so during an extremely intense contraction and without my consent.  Each time she did it, she pried open my legs and checked me despite my screams and pleads for her to stop.  I could go on and on to relate what else happened that night to make my experience so harrowing, but it would serve no purpose in the grand scheme.  To me, it was the most terrifying and traumatic experience of my life.  And sadly, my mother who was there to support me could not help me.  She had had a similar experience with my birth.  I decided then and there that I would not re-do that experience, and from then, my birth view changed.  It wasn’t until I had my 3rd child that I realized first-hand that the birth experience may be harrowing for the baby as well.

My 3rd baby was born at home.  She slipped into this world peacefully on my bed and came right to my arms.  She barely cried, and I marveled how she would take a few sweet breaths and then stop breathing for a few seconds and then begin again.  My midwife explained that this is normal and she was fine because she was still attached to the placenta.  What a lovely transition to the outside world!  That night she fell asleep snuggled into the side of her big brother who had been enamored with her since the instant he witnessed her birth.  Her first 2 weeks were so peaceful.  She slept through the night at my side and rarely cried.  When she was 15 days old, I took her on her first long car ride about an hour away to a meeting.  She slept on the way there, but on the way home, she screamed.  Screamed and screamed and screamed.  I had never heard her do such a thing!  There was a point when her screams stopped just being a “I hate this, make it stop” to a desperate “Mama! You have abandoned me and I’m pretty sure I’m going to die!!!!”  Car rides with infants stink.  I realized that for the first time in her life, she felt alone and terrified.  And in that same moment, I realized her cry sounded much like the cries of my two boys shortly after their births as they were whisked away from me and had all sorts of things going down their throats, and in their eyes and desperately trying to figure out how to breathe all at the same time.  My daughter cried differently in that car ride home, and she actually never was the same after.  (And I had a similar experience with my 2nd home birthed daughter the first time she ever felt alone.)

Who are we to be so insensitive to the smallest and most vulnerable of human souls?  How dare we proclaim that just because they can’t talk that they can’t feel pain?

My oldest son struggles with a few challenges.  At one point last year, I had the distinct feeling (call it inspiration or whatever) that one of his specific behaviors stemmed from a distrust of me, but I didn’t know why.  I know an amazing woman that is so gifted in healing souls. I took him to her and for 2 hours, she guided us through healing his birth trauma.  It was our trauma together.  Because of this birth trauma, he didn’t trust me.  Even though my little son was only 6, when she brought up birth trauma (he’d never heard the term), his little body curled up and his eyes became sullen and withdrawn.  She guided me to express to him how I felt about his birth.  How much my pain and fear had nothing to do with how much he was wanted and loved.  And how sorry I was that I couldn’t protect him from that horrifying first experience on earth.  He was quiet, but I knew his soul was listening.  He let me hold him (which he normally didn’t do).  I told him I loved him and how much I yearned to keep him safe.  I promised him I’d never abandon him like that again.  Well…. The change was real.  Almost overnight, his relationship with me was different.  He now will snuggle with me and we have a much more trusting relationship.

I feel like I am still at the beginning of understanding how all of this fits together, but one thing is for absolute certain.  The birth experience is sacred.  It should be untouched, untainted and completely and utterly respected.  Tampering with it will result in consequences we can not predict.

This post is inspired by a post on the same subject found here:

I like this article’s discussion of the “crying in arms” method and how it could apply to helping a baby relieve stress and heal from trauma.

Though I have problems with how the study was conducted and how they applied the data, an interesting study can be found here:

Posted in Healing | Leave a comment

Rowan’s Peaceful Water Birth (Laura Curtis)

Exactly 3 weeks after his cousin Beckham, Laura and Israel welcomed Rowan into their family.  I love how most births seem to happen at night.  I’m really starting to love driving through town in the middle of the night.

I arrived at 1:30 am to find Laura and Israel doing a beautiful dance in the family room. During a surge, they would hold each other and Laura would sway.  If she ever started feeling overwhelmed, a small whisper from Israel would instantly melt the stress from her face (watch the video for several of these cool moments).

Laura moved upstairs to her room and the birth tub at about 2am.  She relaxed right into the water.  Laura was so focused and inward.  She did not come “out” between surges to talk with us.  She stayed very deep and peaceful.  After each surge, though, she did tell us how that one had felt and then right before some of them, she’d say “this is going to be very big.”  Her doula and mother and Israel never let a hand off her.

It was amazing to see Laura completely surrender to the powers of her body.  She didn’t complain or scream in frustration or in desperation.  She was focused and sent all her energy down.  She kept saying “I don’t want to push!  I just want to pant!” to which her midwife Roxanna would respond “Great!  Listen to your body!”  Roxanna was amazing.  So calm, attentive and professional.

When Rowan crowned, Laura eased him out nice and slowly.  The footage of her gathering him into her arms needs not explanation.  Just pure bliss.  :o)

One of my favorite parts was waking the boys.  They jumped right out of bed to meet their new baby brother.  And if you listen carefully, you can hear their super cute comments.  (“He’s such a great nurser!” “We’re going to have a baby playdate, Wendy!”)

This little boy is truly welcome in this family.

(More pictures to come later.  I was too excited to get this posted)

And the Amazing (midwife) Roxanna’s contact info: 801.787.1400

Posted in Birth Films, Birth Films- Rating 2 | Leave a comment