Nursing Birth

One Labor & Delivery Nurse’s View From the Inside

Thoughts on Becoming a Midwife…. April 2, 2010

Filed under: Ramblings — NursingBirth @ 9:12 AM
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I have written before about my aspirations of becoming a midwife.  The more and more I care for birthing women as an L&D nurse, the more I meet moms out in the community at birth circles, ICAN meetings, etc., the more I read and see and hear about birth and birth politics, the more midwives I meet, the more and more clear it is to me that becoming a midwife is something that I need to do…someday.

I stumbled upon a blog post entitled “Apprentice Midwife Material?” over at Navelgazing Midwife the other day and it really spoke to me.  Throughout the beginning of the post the author goes into detail about the many sacrifices that midwives make in order to do what they love to do.  While reading them over, none came as a surprise to me.  However, no one can really understand what its like to experience them until they become an apprentice and even then your world is still a bit sheltered.

The author then writes:

“I imagine women’s spirits sagging by this point, those sitting in front of me and those reading this, but there are AMAZING parts of being a midwife, too. But if you don’t want… no, CRAVE… all that I said above, then reconsideration of this career is called for.”

I reflected on this statement for a while and I realized that I DO indeed CRAVE it all….the good, the bad, the ugly, the awesome!  But it is still undecided when exactly my time will come to put myself to the test.  Until then I must continue to form relationships with birthing women through my work as an L&D nurse and through my blog.

Thanks for listening 🙂

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Connecticut Docs & Midwives Speak Out For Midwifery! October 16, 2009

Filed under: In The News — NursingBirth @ 9:40 AM
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Yesterday the Connecticut newspaper New Haven Register published an opinion piece entitled “Media out of focus on midwifery” by Holly Powell Kennedy, CNM, Charles J. Lockwood, MD, and Edmund Funai, MD and I have to say, I am very very pleased to read such a focused, well-reasoned, supportive article on birth choice, the safety of homebirth, and the need for hospitals around this country to step up and better meet the needs of birthing families!  And for it to be written by two obstetricians and a certified nurse midwife….its just too good to be true!!

 

Favorite quotes of mine include:

 

  • “Women are not seeking “designer” births. They are looking for humanistic care during pregnancy, labor and birth and are increasingly having difficulty finding that in many hospitals.”

 

  • “It is essential that women are provided with the opportunity to have a supported and safe birth. This means protecting them from preventable harm, and ensuring that clinicians are skilled in appropriate low intervention care and know when it is necessary to intervene.”

 

  • “While midwives and obstetricians will continue to debate the safety and appropriateness of home birth, less controversial is the fact that some women seek to give birth in alternative settings because they do not see hospitals as meeting their needs.”

 

 

Yes, Yes, and YES!

 

Thanks to Christina at the Massachusetts Friends of Midwives Blog posting about this article!  What a great start to my day!!

 

One Woman’s Journey To Her Own HBAC Water Birth and 360 Degree Career Change October 12, 2009

I found this video on It’s Your Birth Right! this morning and was so incredibly moved that I had to share it with you all:

 

My Journey to a VBAC by Lindsey Meehleis
 

 

What an amazing and empowering story to watch on so many levels!  I am inspired by Lindsey’s story in many ways:

 

First, as a woman who has yet to have any children.  After watching this video I am left with feelings of awe, reverence, and respect for what we as women are capable of!  I can’t help but be excited about my own potential as someone able (I hope of course) to conceive, grow, nurture, birth, and nourish a new life!  (I am giving myself goose bumps just thinking about it!!) 

 

 

Second, as a labor and delivery nurse.  Watching this video reminds me not only of what consumers of maternity care are capable of but also of how much of a difference each one of us can make just by changing our own attitude, educating our own minds, and stacking the cards in our favor to help shape our own experiences!  (Now I’m going to be humming Michael Jackson’s Man in the Mirror for the rest of the day: “If you wanna make the world a better place, take a look at yourself, and then make a change!  Na Na Na, Na Na Na, Na Na, Na Nah!”  J)  And as a labor and delivery nurse I hope to help as much as I can help by strategically, respectfully, and appropriately planting little “seeds” of encouragement, knowledge, and know-how in the minds of the many women I am fortunate enough to meet in my personal and professional life.

 

 

Third as a labor and delivery nurse who has yet to have children!!  Lindsey wrote, “As the years pass and [my daughter] grows I soon find myself sending my baby off to kindergarten!  Fighting off the urges to have another baby over the years because of the intense fear I have of having the same birth experience again.   I know that its time and I must face my fears head on!  All of my training and experience with over 175+ births has surely had to of taught me something!  Without looking back I take a leap of faith and trust my body will work!” 

 

I hear nurses I work with all the time say “Oh I am so glad I had my children before I started working here!  I would have been a nervous wreck if I was in your position!”  My first thought it always “Umm yeah thanks, that isn’t very comforting.”  But I also know that I am so very fortunate to have worked where I work before having kids.  I think about how much I didn’t know before I started and how I very easily could have been a victim of situations like these.  However, as much as I know in my heart that I want to take that leap of faith and trust my body will work as I have seen it so many times before, even labor and delivery nurses like me have that little voice of doubt in the back of their minds.  You know the one that says “But can I really do it?”  So reading stories like Lindsey’s where even a midwife has that little voice is very reassuring to me that a certain amount of worrying and doubt is totally normal and doesn’t mean that I will fall victim to the old adage “Oh she’s a nurse?  Set up the back for a cesarean!” 

 

 

Forth, as a nurse with aspirations of becoming a midwife.  Lindsey wrote, “I knew at the deepest level of my being that I had to help women, educate women” and I have to say, when I have the privilege of being part of an incredibly empowering birth experience I can’t help but think to myself, “I have to be a midwife!  I just have too!”  Likewise, when I find myself in one hell of a mess at work (especially if a midwifery model of care and the Six Healthy Birth Practices that Support Normal Birth are not followed for any other reason besides true medical necessity) I also think to myself, “I have to be a midwife!  I just have too!” 

 

 

I hope you enjoyed this video as much as I did.  Stay tuned for next time as I have been excited to tell you all about an absolutely amazing birth I was lucky enough to be a part of where I had My First Catch

 

Sign the Petition! Demand Accurate Reporting of ALL Birth Options!! October 1, 2009

Dear Readers,

 

Choices in Childbirth, a NYC based non-for-profit advocacy group whose mission is to improve maternity care by providing the public, especially childbearing women and their families, with the information necessary to make fully informed decisions relating to how, where, and with whom they will give birth, has recently created a petition in response to NBC’s Today Show segment entitled “The Perils of Midwifery” (later changed to “The Perils of Homebirth” and even later taken off the internet all together!!) speaking out against the segment’s inaccurate, fear mongering, sensationalized, and outrageous portrayal of midwife-attended homebirth, of midwives in general, and of the families who chose this option. 

 

Below is the letter attached to the petition.  If you feel the same way please consider SIGNING.   On October 9th, the last day of National Midwifery week, representatives from Choices in Childbirth will deliver the letter and petition to The Today Show at NBC’s headquarters in NYC.  The goal is to get at least 5,000 signatures by October 9th and as of today, the petition already has 3,653!!!

 

Thank you,

 

NursingBirth

 

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Petition Letter:

 

Dear NBC Producers,

    We, the undersigned, collectively voice our deepest concerns over what we believe has been a gross misrepresentation both of midwife-attended homebirth and of the women who choose this option.

 

While empathizing deeply with the McKenzie family and their loss, we are shocked at the way in which NBC’s “Today Show” chose to portray homebirth as dangerous while choosing to ignore ample medical research that demonstrates its safety in the US and in other developed countries around the world. Not only did the producers of the Today Show ignore journalistic due diligence, they also chose to ignore basic rules of fairness by repeatedly citing doctors and the trade union that represents them while denying midwives and their proponents a voice.   This is simply irresponsible journalism, and misleading to your viewers. We expect more from such a well-respected program.

    We stand in support of families who choose to birth their babies at home with a skilled midwife, not for hedonistic reasons, as the Today Show segment so insultingly suggests, but because they truly believe that it is the best option for themselves and their babies. We support women who choose home birth, who are not following a fad, but who are following their hearts and their informed minds to seek a birth that is both safe and healthy. Far from being a recent trend or fashion, midwifery draws on a continuum of knowledge and experience that goes back many centuries. Midwives are well-trained professionals who specialize in normal birth and provide outcomes that are often superior to obstetrician-attended birth. To suggest otherwise is deeply offensive.
   

The Today Show missed an opportunity to discuss why, despite its near universal reliance on hospital-based, physician-attended obstetric care in birth, America has one of the worst infant mortality rates in the developed world. It missed an opportunity to discuss the reasons why highly educated, thoughtful and responsible women are choosing a home birth with a qualified midwife as an alternative to a hospital birth- an option that other countries have proven again and again costs less money, necessitates fewer c-sections, and provides better outcomes for mothers and babies than our system. The Today Show missed an opportunity to ask why the United States spent $86 billion in 2006 on maternity care that left the US with one of the worst infant mortality rates in the developed world and left women and their families asking for more choices in their maternity care.
   

Although every infant death is a terrible tragedy, the real scandal about birth in the US lies not in the death of the McKenzie’s baby alone, but in the fact that 13.6 African American babies die for every thousand live births; an infant mortality rate that is triple that of Denmark or South Korea. What is truly shocking is not that a fraction of women choose home birth, but that our international infant mortality ranking has worsened from 12th in the world in 1960 to 29th in 2004 during the same period that our rates of medical intervention in birth have gone up exponentially- Cesarean section rates alone have more than tripled. 
   

We are passionate about childbirth issues because we know that, like the rest of the healthcare system in this country, there is much room for improvement.  Drawing battle lines between midwives and doctors and terrorizing the public unnecessarily are hardly constructive means to this end. We call on the Today Show to provide the public with the whole story regarding the evidence and viewpoints supporting the choice of midwife-assisted home birth.

 

We call on the Today Show to choose responsible journalism.

 

 

***SIGN THE PETITION***

 

 

Midwife and Author of “Silent Knife” in the News! September 25, 2009

Filed under: In The News — NursingBirth @ 8:46 AM
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So first the USA Today article and now this!  Is it too good to be true?  Is the media finally starting to come around to writing about homebirth without sensationalized headlines, damning quotes from disapproving docs, and horror stories of homebirths gone wrong?  Well if I keep stumbling upon articles like this one from Wicked Local Needham (a companion website to The Needham Times) it certainly won’t be too good to be true! 

 

The article is titled simply: Needham midwife helps moms give birth at home.   Writted by journalist Steven Ryan, the piece highlights homebirth midwife and author of the book Silent Knife: Cesarean Prevention and Vaginal Birth after Cesarean(VBAC) Nancy Wainer of Birth Day Midwifery Care.  The article is absolutely fantastic, not because it is a stunning literary masterpiece, but because it is a simple, well written feature on a homebirth midwife.  Ryan gives a brief history of why Wainer is where she is today, speaks to her many years of experience and education and rounds out the piece with many great quotes from happy and satisfied home birth clients. 

 

My favorite quote was this:

 

“Milly Ramsey described the birth as intense, but doesn’t regret her decision to have the baby naturally and at home.

 

‘I was very comfortable at home,’ Ramsey said. ‘It was intense. I was out of it when he was born but I felt very supported. I felt like I wasn’t alone … The best part was I got to hold him on my belly all slippery and wet and they didn’t take him away. He stayed with me.'”

 

Thank you Wicked Needham Local for a great pick-me-up before I head off to work!  Oh and by the way, LOVE the name of your website!

 

Thanks to Christina at the Massachusetts Friends of Midwives blog and my google reader for alerting me to this article!!

 

USA Today Weighs In On Homebirth September 17, 2009

On Monday, USA TODAY, a national American daily newspaper that has the widest circulation of any newspaper in the U.S., published an article entitled For some women, no place like home for childbirth by Rita Rubin.  As usual, I was worried when I clicked on the link as typically when mainstream media gets a hold on the “home birth debate” it gets ugly.  (Case in point: see The Perils of Midwifery.  Please don’t get me STARTED on that GARBAGE!!)  However Rubin’s article was pretty alright. 

 

First of all the couple highlighted in the piece had a beautiful homebirth experience.  (What?  You mean it wasn’t a horrible regrettable disaster!?!)  Second she actually interviews and quotes a homebirth midwife in the article .(What a novel idea!! You mean it is responsible journalism to actually interview midwives when writing an article on them!)  And thirdly she ends on a positive note with a quote from Alice Bailes, a certified nurse midwife who attends homebirths in Virginia, “We get to see one normal birth after another.”

 

Although the article didn’t get away with writing about home births without quoting ACOG’s mantra “Home deliveries are for pizza”, I think this article did a pretty good job for mainstream media.  Thanks Rubin!  You give me hope!

 

Seattle Birth Photographer “Honored” To Photograph Birth September 9, 2009

Dear NursingBirth,

 

I came across your blog and I thought you might be interested in seeing the images from the recent home birth I photographed.  I am a professional photographer,  mostly I do portraiture work with mothers and newborns but occasionally I photograph birth.  I love the change of pace and the adrenaline rush : )   I am also a natural birth advocate and gave birth to my son at with a midwife at a free standing birth center.  We are planning to have our next baby at home.  The popularity of birth photography has increased dramatically over the last year – I think signaling a shift in how we think about birth.

 

Here is a link to my blog post about the birth
http://emilyweaverbrownphoto.com/blog/2009/09/birth-photography/home-birth-seattle-birth-photographer/

 

There is a slideshow with all the photos set to music linked at the bottom of the page.  Just scroll down and click the link that says >>The Birth of Waldron Dain Peterson<<.  Take care and happy blogging!

 
Sincerely,

 

Emily Weaver Brown

www.emilyweaverbrownphoto.com

 

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Dear Emily,

 

Your pictures are gorgeous!!!  Makes me want to move to Seattle and have a baby!!  Good luck with your home birth plans and have fun trying for #2!!!  Thank you for the link to your website as I know many of my readers love to read other women’s empowering birth stories and while a photo slideshow isn’t technically a birth story, a picture is worth a thousand words!!

 

While watching Waldron’s birthday slideshow I was so overcome with positive emotions like happiness, awe, empowerment, and especially a deep respect for our strength and abilities as women!  Some of my favorite pictures include:  (1) The one where the mother is bending over in the hallway, her husband is bracing her and her sister is rubbing her back.  I love how you can see the “family picture” in the background because you know that in just a short while they will have a new addition to the family!!,  (2)  The one where the mother is bending at her waist and then looks up with a smile.  She is either in transition or pushing but she still has a smile on her face, knowing what all of this hard work is for!!,  (3)  The “Moment” Shot where mom holds her baby for the first time and looks up at her husband with a face that says “I DID IT!” and “I LOVE YOU!”,  (4)  When “big sister” leans over the tub and is looking up like “Is that my brother!?!”,  and finally (5)  The whole family sitting on the bed together, happy and healthy!!

 

Keep up the good work!!

 

All My Best,

 

NursingBirth

 

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Excerpt from Birth Photography at http://emilyweaverbrownphoto.com/blog/birth-photography/

 

“The birth of a child is one of the most significant and beautiful events in life.  I am always honored when I am invited by families into these very intimate moments to document their memories.  The first moments of life are so precious…the first breath, the first cry, the first time your baby looks into your eyes.  I love documenting these moments for my clients and I know that they will treasure them forever.  The birth of a child is one of the biggest defining moments in your life and you will not regret having it photographed.  Printed images are stronger than memory can ever be and you will be so thankful that you have them to hold onto for your children, your grandchildren, and their children.”

 

In the blog section of her website, photographer Emily Weaver Brown’s writes about why she loves  photographing births, how she met her client Jessica, and why Jessica chose a home birth.  Check out her original post for more information about how Jessica’s labor went!

 

“I loved photographing this birth for many reasons. It’s so difficult to be just an observer, and though I strive to photograph the birth as though I wasn’t even in the room I still get pulled in. Before a birth I meet with my client’s to discuss their wishes and get to know them. (I don’t want to be a complete stranger showing up one of life’s most intimate and raw experiences.) This meeting and the subsequent emails usually leads to friendship and before long I know all about their previous birth stories and all of their hopes and dreams for the birth that I will photograph. So I can’t help but cheer on the moms while they work hard to birth their babies. With Jessica it was no different. Jessica is actually a former client of mine who is now also a professional photographer. I know that she really values photography as an art form and that having the birth of her second child documented in photographs was really important to her.  But even more than that, I knew that the birth of Jessica’s oldest child did not go as she had hoped. She ended up with a healthy baby girl but also a lot of interventions that she didn’t want and it made her feel like she had failed. I had no doubt in my mind that Jessica would be able to birth her second baby at home naturally as she had planed but I so wanted it to go perfectly for her so that she would have a sense of redemption over all that happened during the birth of her daughter.”

 

Please visit http://emilyweaverbrownphoto.com/blog/birth-photography/ and scroll down to the bottom of the page to see two more birth photography slideshows, both of which are hospital births.  Just curious, did any of you feel differently when watching the home birth slideshow vs. the hospital birth slide shows??  Why?