“Where can I begin? You are an amazing childbirth professional and were an incredible benefit to us in labor. You always knew exactly what to say and when to say it. Your support and reassurance throughout birth was truly meaningful to us. I can not say the hospital was supportive of my wishes or respectful during labor and I am lucky to have had you there to support me, explain what was happening and the options we had. You are an incredibly caring person and this shows through in your work as a doula. We treasure the photographs you took and moments you captured. Thank you so much from the bottom of my heart.” Mama L
The top photo was taken at our 2 week postpartum visit February 3, 2013
Bottom photo taken during labor at the hospital January 21, 2013
Beginning to plan for my first ever home birth, I had my first group informational meeting at Birth and Beyond several weeks ago. It was all the way in Madison, CT from 6:30 to 8 pm on a Thursday night. Living about an hour and a half away, I was not looking forward to making the drive through New Haven traffic at rush hour. Nevertheless, I was excited to see what their practice was all about and meet other moms-to-be delivering around the same time. I left early and luckily arrived just in time. Expecting an office plaza or medical building, I was happily surprised to find myself pulling into a long private driveway leading to a cozy home nestled back from the road and surrounded by tall trees.
There were LOTS of cars there…far more than I expected. A candle lit path led the way to the lower level at the back of the house where I saw everyone entering. Inside, one of the midwives Vicki (who owned the home) greeted us all warmly. Everyone sat in a circle; there were healthy snacks on a small table and ice water with lemons. So many people came in fact, that another group was sent upstairs to speak with another one of the midwives. I felt instantly relaxed. There was a full examination room directly across from me, a large yet cozy bathroom with a medical scale, and the warm inviting waiting area. We spent the next hour or so talking about the entire home birthing process and were welcomed to ask questions. We met the other midwives, all of whom were lovely, accomplished women. Afterwards, Vicki met with each and every one of us separately to set up a file and a subsequent private appointment.
When it was time to go, all of my fears about not delivering in a hospital had disappeared. I drove home thinking “I can do this.” The Midwives at Birth and Beyond said that when I went into labor, 2 CNM’s (Certified Nurse Midwives) would arrive at my home with 2 large duffel bags each, full of all the typical things the nursing unit at the hospital would have- stitches for tearing, pitocin (used only for hemorrhaging), a monitor for baby’s heart rate, a vitamin K shot for their heel after birth, a scale to weigh the baby, etc. Birthing tubs could also be provided if we wanted to reserve one. There will be no pain killers at all, that I know and have been prepping for with my prenatal yoga and breath work. But I would be allowed to eat, drink, and move around as much as I needed for this birth- hallelujah! My first child was delivered after 26 hours of labor. 26 hours of not eating anything but ice chips and staying mainly in a bed in one position. My second daughter was induced (still not sure why, she was only 2 days late and not that big), so all I can really remember was a drug induced haze (although pain free, not worth it). After the birth they would stay for several hours, one monitoring me and the other monitoring the baby. They would also come back several times over the course of the next couple weeks to examine myself and the baby. Paperwork would be provided for obtaining the baby’s social security number. If needed, they have a relationship with an individual who performs circumcisions. And, they even offer a service that will dry the placenta and encapsulate it into a pill to be taken later as a form of TCM (Traditional Chinese Medicine). Supposedly this helps with healing, energy levels, and postpartum depression. Who knew?
Last week I had my final appointment at my regular OB/GYN before preparing to switch everything over to my Midwives’ Practice. It was my 20 week ultrasound and I had told myself as long as everything was healthy and normal, we would move forward with planning the home birth. Lying on the table as the tech examined my unborn little baby, I looked on as she showed me each little part which seemed to be normal and healthy from what she could see. Thank Goodness. Being pregnant a third time is a blessing in itself, and a healthy baby can truly not be taken for granted, such a gift.
After the appointment, I felt relieved and excited to move forward with my home birth, but a little nervous and reluctant to tell the doctor before leaving the office that I would need to request a records release. I had heard mixed things from women who have decided to take the” road less traveled” so to speak, many saying they experienced push back from the medical community, attitude from their doctors, grilling questions, pressure not to do a home birth, etc. I met with my Nurse Practitioner afterwards, and she could not have been more wonderful. It turns out she herself had studied a path in midwifery in the past and basically wished me well and told me she was sure I would “have a beautiful birth”. Wow! SO relieved. I asked for my records, said I would see them after the baby was born, and that was that.
Praying for a healthy complication-free delivery, I am thrilled at the possibility that my next child will enter the world right here in our home, surrounded by loved ones. Looking forward to the journey! Namaste (:
“Of course we had the midwife, we had the doula, but that’s something we really did a lot of research on and we wanted to do,” Kurková
Her active labor lasted just 2½ hours and keeping her focus on meeting her son helped relieve the pain.
“I really wanted to do it in the water because it’s better for the baby to be born in the water — from water to water — and it’s less painful for the mom,” she explains of her decision to deliver in a birthing pool.
“A good doula is akin to a revered yogi…the doula guides a woman through advanced childbirth poses – like stepping through her own vagina.”
“Whenever you try a potentially lethal activity like, say, scuba diving or parachuting, you are paired with an experienced instructor possessing technical expertise. The same should apply when a woman attempts to extract a baby from her loins.”
“For some time after a woman gives birth, she reportedly experiences the prolonged sensation of having been punched in the vagina by Mike Tyson.”
“Maybe the profession should consider a name change. I propose ultradoula.”
This is hilarious!! A father’s interpretation of what it is we do as birth doulas. Check out Daddy Confidential: I Challenge You to a Doula. And thanks, Keith, for explaining the roll of a doula in daddy terms and describing our roll so warm and comically!
About Daddy Confidential: “Daddy Confidential was started as a repository for tips, useful products, and commentary relevant to fathers. I work from home, which makes me an expert on… procrastination. But I’ve also gleaned some insight into raising babies. This blog is for fathers who have the inclination (if not the time) to keep informed about child-rearing. Of course, your wife would be happy to educate you, but that dynamic comes with its own baggage that we guys needn’t bother with.
I live near Boston with my wife Sarah and our son Fox. I enjoy rock-climbing, reggae, and pocket knives. I abhor anchovies, the phrase “arms akimbo,” and the name Keith.”
This morning on Labor Day September 3, 2012, thousands of people gathered as part of a national movement for Improving Birth’s National Rally for Changeheld in close to 100 major cities, in all 50 states across the country. The National Rally for Change is to encourage and insist maternal healthcare providers practice evidence-based maternal care, to reduce the long-term effects of unnecessary inductions and interventions when they are not medically necessary for the patient, and to provide informationso they each woman can make informed decisions.
National Rally for Change is not a protest. It’s an awareness campaign event to educate, raise awareness and encourage a change in US maternal healthcare.
This is so important. It may seem rather obvious that most medical procedures should be reserved for medical indications, because almost every medical procedure comes with risks of complication. Risking complications can only be justified if the medical benefit outweighs the risk. Unfortunately, the standard of maternity care in most hospitals in the USA today surprisingly is not based on reliable research and conducts far more inductions, cesarean sections, and other medical interventions which are not medically necessary.