Why Your Partner’s Attendance and Participation at Birth is Crucial

The partner’s role in labor and childbirth has changed drastically over the course of time. It used to be that men would not be around for labor or birth, they would go off and do their own thing while the woman birthed their child. But now, it has become the norm for the partner to be with the birthing woman. Not only this, but his involvement is proving to be highly valuable.

In fact, it is even suggested that having the partner absent from pregnancy, labor, and birth could lead to adverse health outcomes for both mom and baby. Here is a portion from this study, which briefly discusses the harms of not having the father present. “..fathers who are absent at birth, having already largely withdrawn from the child’s life beforehand, are more likely to have children with health problems at 3 months old.”

This study divulges how the father’s involvement with cord cutting has impact on their bond going forward. Those who did cut their child’s cord showed continuous improvement in emotional involvement with the infant. These partners found empowerment in being able to participate in this life changing event, which encouraged their continuous connection with their child. This connection, love, and affection from the father/partner benefits the child’s emotional development and overall health.  

This study reveals that fathers are beneficial in comforting and calming baby in the first 2 hours postpartum from elective cesarean birth. Birth where mom might not have been able to experience skin to skin, so the father filled this role. These babies found comfort and security being skin to skin with their father. As in, they stopped fussing and became calm within 15 minutes of being placed on the father.  

This is beneficial to the infant’s crucial emotional development. This experience also leaves the father feeling empowered in his role, and more emotionally connected to the child. This supplies a great start for a lifetime of healthy bonding.  

I mean, there are hundreds of studies and articles produced discussing the impact of the father’s participation and attendance of birth. It has a positive impact for everyone! – Mom, Baby, and the Father/Partner themselves.  

In the births I attend, I like to encourage partner/paternal involvement as much as possible. I see with my own two eyes how this empowers them. I see how this makes the partner confident in their role. I also see the child who is soothed simply by their fathers voice and touch.  

Ways that the father can be incorporated in labor and birth are endless, they will also vary depending on the birthing woman’s desires. A few ways I would suggest a father’s participation and involvement would be: 

  1. Being a physical and emotional support for mom during labor. Applying counter pressure, holding her, reminding her how well she is doing; offering her water/snacks, and giving her intimate affection (whatever that means to the individual couple). 
  2. Catching baby as they emerge. I personally feel this plays a huge impact on the father’s empowerment. This is such a special moment and it often leaves them feeling overwhelmingly competent in their ability to fill the parental role.  
  3. Cord cutting! This is something I also encourage the partner to participate in. The tying of the umbilical tie as well as the severing of the cord itself.  
  4. Weighing of baby! Nothing is quite as special as seeing the father read and reveal the stats of their newest little love! They almost always smile, just permeated with pride! 

The ways a partner can positively impact a labor, birth, and postpartum experience are endless, as are the benefits. Did your partner play an active role in labor and birth? How did you, as the birthing mother, feel about your partner’s involvement? 

Perineal Tears, To Stitch Or Not To Stitch?

When it comes to discussing perineal tears, there seems to be so much misinformation, so let’s chat.

First of all, we must touch on the fact that there a several different degrees of tears.

An intact layout of the exterior genitalia, as a baby crowns.

First degree

Second degree

Third degree

Fourth degree

WHY do Tears Occur?

Sometimes tears are unavoidable, especially small tears. Some babies come out with such force and pressure, pulling the perineum tight in response, and can cause the skin to rip. In the moment, during a natural birth, will you feel it? Maybe, but you will probably be more focused on the fact that a child is emerging down your birth canal and about to come into the world to greet you, you won’t notice until afterwards, if you check, or if you go to pee and it burns on your perineum.

This study discusses how episiotomies, larger babies, an assisted vaginal delivery (with forceps or vacuum), an epidural, and induction, potentially being factors in tears.

This study reiterates how instrumental vaginal delivery can increase prevalence of tears, as well as length of transition (longer transitions were more so associated with tears, but we cannot help but wonder what caused those long transitions, but they don’t mention that).

Preventing Perineal Tears

  • STAY UPRIGHT, listen to your body and allow baby to descend naturally, without coached pushing or purple pushing, let FER take over
  • Gently apply a warm compress on your perineum as baby descends. If you can do this yourself entirely this is optimal. There’s no need to push on babies head, pull on your perineum, or enter your vagina like some providers do. As baby is naturally and successfully descending, simply place gentle pressure with a warm wash cloth (can add oil as well if desired) on the perineum
  • There is no indication the pre-labor stretching, massaging of the perineum, or kegels work to strengthen or loosen the perineum, so this is truly unnecessary. See a pelvic floor therapist if you are concerned about the firmness or lack thereof of your perineum during your pregnancy, a pelvic floor therapist may will have some good tips to protect those pelvic floor muscles!!

Can Perineal Tears be Managed Without Stitching?

There are many reasons why someone might want to avoid stitches. This includes the infamous “husband stitch,” prolonged healing, improper healing, lack of sterility, pain, swelling, pelvic floor impact, and more. Not to say that NOT getting stitches does not come with risks, because that choice does come with risks, too.

If you have a first degree or second degree tear, you may choose to heal naturally!

  • Comfrey root (found here), an herb that contains natural Allantoin (which also helps form the umbilical cord and the baby’s bladder in the womb), is an amazing all around healer and helps bind skin. Mixing this with warm, raw manuka honey (found here), turmeric (found here) and witch hazel (found here) can make a soothing, anti-bacterial, anti-fungal natural stitch to encourage your body to heal quickly on its own. Apply warm Nori wraps (found here) and/or gauze over the area to gently seal, and prevent mess and stickiness all over your underwear/postpartum pad.

Be sure to cleanse well with a peri bottle mix after every bathroom trip, and re-apply to prevent bacteria growth. This does not always work for every individual and even after making this choice, it’s very possible to decide to get stitches. Should you change your mind, you can always go to the local ER to request stitches. Or, you may decide to get stitches right away, that’s fine too!!

A common misconception is that a hospital transfer is required for stitches. Nope! If you have a midwife, she can stitch you, too!! And luckily, tear repair is not something that you have to absolutely rush to the ER for right away even if unassisted. You should give a hustle if you have a severe tear, but for a tiny tear, enjoy those golden hours with your babe and then go, and do not admit baby, then check out once you’ve been stitched. There’s no reason to be admitted for 48 hours for stitches, because they will dissolve in a few weeks anyways, but if you want to stay, you can do that too.

An example of perineal stitches:

How To: Choose A Back-Up Doula

I always joke that you should be as picky with your Back-Up Doula/Business Partner, as you are about your Life Partner/Spouse and to not be afraid to date, take a break, break-up entirely, or stay together forever… LOL but honestly, that’s pretty valid!

You want to seriously know their values, their experience, their comfort zone, their training and capabilities, availability, financial requirements, childcare situation, what supplies they bring to the table, and more!

Can you genuinely work together without conflict? Would you want this individual at YOUR birth? Would you feel comfortable at theirs?

Taylor’s sweet back-up doula, Hope, when they attended a birth together in 2019

When choosing a back-up doula to take on a client, or clients, of yours, you need to discuss and agree in several areas.

  • Fee that will be provided in the event that one of you back up the other (does it change whether the back up is there 2 hours or 24 hours?)
    Tip: I firmly believe that 30-50% of the birth fee is fair, especially if you provided a few prenatal appointments and intend to follow up postpartum, but also have to consider how the back-up doula has to be on-call and attend the birth, which genuinely is a lot of work. It is much easier if you collect the full payment from the client prior to birth, and pay the back-up doula yourself, so there is no confusion between the client, you and the back-up.
  • What circumstances you can call them in (any and all, preferably, because emergencies get weird)
  • What their availability timeframe will be (36 weeks to 42 weeks, or a slimmer timeframe? Weekends only? Weekdays only?)
  • How quickly can they get to a birth? Where is their home-base (where they live)?
  • What can they bring to a birth? What if they do not have the same tools in their bag that your client prefers?
  • What experience/training do they have? Is it pretty equivalent to yours? If not, how can you ensure they do?
    Tip: I prefer to attend a birth or two with my back-ups before relying on them AS a back-up, so I can see their style, if they are honest about their availability, their energy in a birth space, and more. If it takes them 2 hours to get there when they live 20 minutes away, they seem confused or intimidated in the birth space, this does not necessarily mean that they are completely written off, but it does mean we need to have a new discussion on realistic expectations, needs, and how we can address their energy and how to improve. You have to be able to have open communication.
  • Do they have a friendly face, demeanor, and energy in general? If you were interviewing for a doula for your birth, would you hire them? You definitely do not want your clients feeling disappointed in the services your back-up doula provided because then they will feel disappointed in YOU and your business, and will be less likely to recommend you, and hire you in the future.

A Back-Up Doula is a Must Have

ALWAYS discuss the possibility of a back-up with your clients, even if you see no way that it could happen. Your clients need to have their contact information, business information, and potentially even an option to meet them – just in case! If you got struck by lightning, got into a severe car accident, or had a serious family emergency, you would want the comfort of knowing your back-up doula had everything covered and your clients would not be left feeling alone.

Whomever you hire, remember you are not stuck with them forever if they are absolutely terrible and do not be afraid to break it off if the relationship stinks, because your clients are a priority! Interview and meet with several different people as potential back-up doulas.

Some doula businesses even run on a two-doula method, where two doulas attend prenatal appointments, births, and postpartum together, or they alternate attendance. There are also doula agencies that clients may receive one of several different doulas. If this is something you are interested in, you should definitely explore it for your business, they are cool models of business!

Three of our Doula students supporting each other!

Hospital Birth Makes My Skin Crawl

I love birth but some aspects of birth are very triggering to me, it literally makes my skin crawl.  
 
I support women’s choice to birth wherever they feel most comfortable. The woods? I’m with that. Your house? Call me, I’ll show up! Birthing center? I support it, but you won’t be hiring me. The hospital? I support that choice too! – but I, physically cannot support you there. I have nothing to offer a woman that chooses a medicalized birth. Be it a birthing center, hospital, or any other assisted setting. 

Image from YouTube

If a woman births in these locations, she is literally signing her birth over to the provider’s power and discretion. If the provider feels mom needs an episiotomy, forceps use, a cesarean, etc., she will endure this and it will be legal, even if she is screaming “NO”. She can sue, but from what I see, she will not win. How can I support a woman with zero rights, who legally, cannot support herself? I’d be happy to explain, feel free to ask. 

Image form megancrown.com

The trauma that occurs in these facilities is not worth any set dollar amount for me to endure witnessing. I’m not down with the secondary trauma involved in assisted birth. Some women are strong enough to watch this all play out, and sleep at night – I cannot.  

Here’s something many people do not know; I have never attended in support at a hospital birth. This does not mean I have not seen hospital birth. Don’t get it twisted, sistah. I am triggered in this setting – it is hard for me to watch all that a hospital birth has to offer, play out. Even in social media shared videos or photos – I won’t look, I do not want to see that. In fact, I will not step foot into a facility unless there is a case of an emergency. In this case, I would be the most fierce guard dog for mom. This has not been necessary thus far. I personally will only attend births where the mother is 100% in control of her birth and choices being made.

Image found on google

When I see assisted birth photos or videos, the items listed below are what make me cringe. I literally want to throw up when I see these things. I wasn’t always this way! Only after learning what birth could be for women, do I cringe at the sight of anything less.
 
 
The room itself, the setup, the equipment, the tubes and cords, the bed, the baby table, the hazardous waste bin, and the privacy curtain.  

The needle in mom’s arm, taped to her with cords and tubes. 

The crowd of people in the room, most being random strangers mom has never met before, and the excessive energy that will impact mom. 

The harmful constant fetal monitoring bands on moms’ belly, penetrating baby constantly.  

The unnecessary interventions being performed by the medically mined provider. 

Mom confined on her back, like a helpless victim. 

Mom’s positioning during birth and there immediately after – often, legs spread, up in the air, with a light shining right on the women’s vagina. Very degrading and disempowering. 

The provider pulling baby from the vagina or interfering manually in any unnecessary sense.  

The Placenta being pulled/tugged only an hour or less after birth as if they cannot wait for the woman’s body to release it. 

The bracelets on mom. Plastic rubbing against laboring women’s skin. 

The horrid hospital gowns, making one look like an unwell patient of illness. 

Gloved hands being the hands welcoming baby earth side. 

The immediate wiping off of the baby. 

The separation of mom and baby immediately postpartum.  

The suctioning of baby’s mouth and unnecessary handling of baby. 

The staff uniforms, from the shirt to the shoes. 

The gloves and masks worn by people present, as if it is a toxic event. 

The rough handling of baby after birth. 

The plastic bands placed on the newborn’s arms and legs after arrival. 

The ointment in baby’s eyes, interfering with physiological bonding and wiping out all good flora/bacteria. 

The band aids on baby’s legs from the injections they snuck in almost immediately postpartum. 

The unnecessary and hindering hat placed on the newborn baby. 

The hustle and bustle immediately postpartum 

The PURE lacking of autonomy and biological normality’s in labor, birth, and postpartum.  

I could go on but it is impeding my energy.  

Image from Instagram

Nothing about any of the above or the actions occurring in this setting are physiological. It starts out medicalized from the second mom walks in. Putting plastic bands on her arms, needle in her arm, monitoring bands on her belly, and whatever else they can deem necessary. Almost as if there is some sort of emergency occurring, not a biological function. 

Image from Youtube

I am not comfortable with this, and that’s okay! Many women aren’t comfortable with unassisted birth either, I’m sure. Seeing something I know is often better off untouched, being touched and turned into a medicalized event, brings me so much anxiety. I stay away from settings that can contort my view of birth, give me anxiety, or are likely to leave me with secondary trauma and stress. The medicalized birth setting is not for me, I simply am not best fit to serve in this setting. It literally makes my skin crawl. 

 
*NOTE: This is simply my perspective and feelings surrounding hospital birth. I do not need your agreement or understanding to make them valid. I also know that not all of the list above occurs in all facility birth, no need to point out the obvious. 

Image from Google

Become a Certified Doula in Tampa this September

Who:

Anyone wishing to certify as a doula/birthkeeper and obtain hands-on placenta training. This certified program is best suited to those who are interested in the more holistic route of birth support.

What:

A one-day training program (which includes access to an online course) which will certify you as a birth doula and cover topics like placenta encapsulation, herbs and homeopathy during childbirth, and much more!

When:

September 21, 2019 from 8:00am – 5:00pm

Where:

Hilton Garden Inn Tampa-Wesley Chapel
26640 Silver Maple Pkwy, Wesley Chapel FL, 33544

IMPORTANT! If you would like to participate in the training, you must send our Facebook page or email a request for a Paypal invoice. Please provide your paypal email address in this message. Our Facebook page is Holistically Empowered Rebel Birthkeepers Academy of Learning and our email is herbalbirthkeeping@gmail.com

All HERBAL training payments are sent via invoice. It is required.

What’s In The Doula Bag?!

HERBAL is a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means to earn fees by linking to Amazon.com and affiliated sites.

This list can be used for not only birth workers, but birthing peoples may want to gather these items for themselves!

The items I have marked as a rental means they are items doulas should not necessarily be using on a client, as doulas are not medical professionals, but they are items that most clients need/want, therefore it’s a great idea to rent them out during prenatals/births, rather than the clients having to purchase their own!

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You may click any of the supplies you are interested in, to be taken to a link of the product brand that we have used, and recommend!

Aloe Vera Gel (excellent to replace lubricant for a doppler, minor burns, skin healing and more)

Helios Homeopathy (hundreds of remedies, comes with a guide book)

Cramp Bark Tincture (for those brutal postpartum cramps that some mamas get)

Shepherds Purse Tincture (for excessive bleeding post-placental delivery, NO USE BEFORE PLACENTA HAS BEEN DELIVERED IT MAY CAUSE RETAINMENT)

Motherwort Tincture (excessive bleeding prior to and after placental delivery):

Washcloths (Mamas can use for compress, or cool cloths on the back/forehead/chest):

Authentic Rebozo (ALWAYS support businesses that derive from the culture that originally crafted the utilization of the Rebozo)

Baby Blankets

Heating Pad

Snacks (for you and whomever else needs them)

Birth Ball

Blood Pressure Cuff (for rental, no diagnosing allowed on your part as a birth worker)

Doppler & Fetoscope (for rental as well), check on LetGo, OfferUp and Marketplace for barely used ones!

Baby/Fundal Height Measurement Tape (rental)

Baby Scale (rental)

High-dose Vitamin C & Bromelain capsules

Sitz Herbal Blend

Essential Oils.. My favorites are Rose, Orange, Lemon, Myrrh, Frankincense, Patchouli and Sandalwood 

Phone Charger

Contact Solution/Glasses (if you wear them)

Handheld Mirror

Hair Ties 

Ziploc (Gallon Freezer) for Placenta

Honey Sticks

Combs

Non-Latex Gloves 

Cord Ties

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Multiple copies of client’s birth plan

Your ID, especially for hospital births, it will be REQUIRED to enter!

Did I miss something that helped you?? Drop a comment!!

 

Birthing Self Confidence – How your Birth Empowers Life Going Forward

It is beautiful watching women evolve through pregnancy and child birth. It is no secret that birth is transformational, though most have no idea how significant this transformation is. Most have no idea that their birth choices, especially place of birth, can impact their entire life going forward.

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Photo of Kara-Louise Hoppo and baby, freebirthed Jan. 2nd 2019

Some women leave their birth experience feeling traumatized. Many spend their postpartum trying to heal from their experience. Some left with PTSD for the rest of their life. This can impact postpartum, causing many women to become depressed or experience postpartum depression and/or anxiety.

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Photo of Hannah Lee and baby freebirthed on May 24th 2017

After a traumatic birth, many women feel broken, as if their body failed them or is faulty compared to the average woman. When really, it was not her body that failed. Most importantly, a traumatic birth can impact the way mom and baby bond. No good!

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Photo of Anonymous with baby freebirthed on August 1st 2018

Some women, on the other hand plan their birth. They self educate on pregnancy and physiological birth process, get familiar with what to expect in birth, they may or may not hire a provider, only after diligently questioning the provider to get a sense of their view of birth. They choose a location that feels safest to them, and they manifest a positive and healthy birth.

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Photo of myself (Desirae) and my first freebirth baby June 6th 2017

They experience their empowered birth, whatever that is for the woman, a planned cesarean or freebirth and everything in between! They are then left with something a woman cannot gather elsewhere. The empowerment and invincibility a woman carries for the rest of her days, after bringing forth life in empowerment, is irreplaceable.

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Photo of Anonymous and baby freebirthed on May 9th 2019

This is one of the most beautiful things I have ever witnessed as a Birthkeeper of unassisted and physiological birth. I see timid, modest, and ambivalent women blossom into unassailable, indomitable, secure, assertive, and self confident women. Women who used to be passive or acquiescent, transform into assertive, tenacious beings. Unafraid to stand ground and speak their own truth!

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Photo of Danielle Snelling and baby on August 11th 2015

I see women who previously did not see their worth go on to gain security in their own self and hold themselves on higher ground. These women transform into invincible powerhouses that will carry on through out the rest of their life. They are empowered – this is what empowerment is!

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Photo of Treva Ansbach and baby freebirthed on December 16th 2018

Birth is such a crucial experience, knowing what to expect and making educated choices for your birth is important! Your confidence and knowledge surrounding birth plays a huge roll on outcome.

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Photo of Jordan Cloyd and baby born April 3rd 2019

You do not want to be in labor, uneducated, just doing as instructed by a medical provider. That is how you end up with a traumatic experience. Be informed, know what to expect, choose your birth location and birth team with vigilance and diligence.

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Photo of Gloria and identical babies, freebirthed on March 9th 2019

What you choose absolutely will impact the rest of your life, set yourself up for success! As Ina May states, “Wherever and however you give birth, your experience will impact your emotions, your mind, your body, and your spirit for the rest of your life.”

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Photo of myself after my second freebirth on June 15th 2019

All women pictured I know personally and found empowerment in their birthing experience. Many of the births I was present for or showed up there after and I can tell you first hand, transformation was apparent, even in the moments immediately postpartum. These women are empowered for life, and you can be too!

Find out how you can empower yourself and other women to achieve this happiness and empowerment by visiting our freebirth course. And if you’d like to help other mothers achieve this empowerment, don’t forget to have a look at our birthkeeper course.
Be the change in birth, help women find this place of bliss and life time fulfillment of empowerment. Supporting women as they go through the journey and transformation of pregnancy and birth!
Join us – you won’t regret it!

When First Time Moms Choose Freebirth

Freebirth – the process of intentionally giving birth without the assistance of a medical birth attendant – the only kind of birth where you will find me.

Recently, a first time mother ask that I support her choice. Unlike most births, this woman came to me, she birthed in my home. Her environment wasn’t ideal for birth, but I made an exception as I do not offer women to birth in my current home. This was my high school best friend, so this was a special occasion. I would have done anything to preserve her first birth experience. Though, I never thought she would choose freebirth!

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For a woman to choose freebirth, she must be able to disregard the societal idea of child birth. Birth is made out to be an emergency scenario that requires assistance, or death is imminent. As a young girl, I was told child birth is an emergent event filled with pain, requiring assistance to ensure life. This first time mother choosing freebirth saw past this. She saw her worth and ability. She knew what society will not tell her; that SHE CAN.

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This particular mama did not decide until the end of pregnancy that she was choosing freebirth. She was fed up with the medical model of care. She would leave her appointments feeling broken, as if her body couldn’t grow a baby correctly. They made her feel anxious and discouraged in her ability as a first time mom. She was sick and tired of feeling this way! She did not tolerate this type of treatment. She said (excuse the language) “Fuck this, I got this”, more or less. No need for the mental and emotional abuse from mainstream care providers. She did not want any part of that, come end of pregnancy. She chose freebirth.

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At 36 weeks & 4 days, we realized it was the day. We kept in contact during the day as contractions consumed her being. Eventually, she came over, her caring partner and sister joining her in sacred space. In a small room, my children’s bedroom actually. Periodically, I would check in on her, but left her alone for the most part as I know this is how birth is most successful, without watching eyes.

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When a  first time mom chooses freebirth, she feels empowered. Before, during, and after. There are bouts of doubt, absolutely. This is conquered with the reminder that there is no safer space unless there is a need for emergent care. Which this badass mama knew, and kept in mind. She never once requested relief or transfer. She KNEW her ability. She knew this was the safest space for her to meet her daughter.

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She had determination, gritting her teeth during her first experience of childbirth.
She would mention how she appreciated the breaks between contractions. She would refuse all suggestions, solely following her body, like an experienced navigator of physiological birth. As a Birthkeeper, this left me humbled at her confidence and power. Power that would leave anyone in the room trembling. There wasn’t doubt in her, in the end of her labor. All I could see was power and determination to get baby out. As we knew was imminent, after much vocalism and physical effort, she brought her baby earth side, completely free from assistance.

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(Look at their faces though! Dad’s face, too – OMG!!)

Freebirth as a first time mother. Did you read that? She does not know the trauma she swerved from avoiding a facility, but I cry each time I recall. Her situation wasn’t the average, they would have ripped her through the wringer. I am so thankful and proud that she missed out on a facility birth, and experienced physiological birth, ignoring all societal indoctrination. As is she.

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Her word on the experience: “There’s no other way I would’ve wanted to do it, Hospitals were completely out of the question, and there’s nobody else that I would’ve wanted there with me to do it. It was the hardest thing I’ve ever done in my life but every second was worth it and it’s all history now, and I barely even remember. Its just Joy now.”

Here are Dad’s thoughts: “It was wild”

Yes Dad, birth is wild. Wild, primal, imitate, and so forth. Rightfully so!

When a first time mother chooses freebirth, she finds confidence and empowerment NO ONE can steal from her – ever. She did it, and so can you.

How Your Struggles Can Make You A Better Birth Worker

In your life, even after becoming a birth worker, there will be hills, speed bumps, pot holes, and road blocks along the way. While we’re going through it, and it feels like we will never come out of it, or understand why it is happening to us, we can envision what this will do for our future, and as the light at the end of the tunnel starts to become brighter, perhaps we can turn the struggles into our advantages, if we choose to visualize our journey that way.

Allow me to preface by saying I do not ever intend to belittle or invalidate someones current feelings or situation. You have every right to feel those negative feelings and be upset that the world is not spinning in your favor, at this time. Instead, I would like this post to be encouraging and uplifting, rather than be perceived as toxic positivity.

My mindset will be more easily explained by sharing how my own struggles have helped me, personally, improve as a birth worker.

My Story

In 2015, I was intending a home water birth. Instead, my midwife abandoned me, I had a hospital birth that was not even remotely close to my birth plan, and it resulted in a fair amount of trauma. At this time, my career was a police dispatcher and my goals were to go to the police academy and become an officer. My birth plans drastically changing made me realize I needed to serve my community in birth work rather than in uniform. In 2016, I began that journey to be a birth worker.

In 2018, I was a surrogate to twins and it went horribly, but I learned SO MUCH about multiples pregnancy, surrogacy, IVF, and the interventions involved in a multiples birth, as well as primal trauma, and how it feels to be absolutely used. This granted me so much patience, taught me more about informed consent, showed me what a “high-risk pregnancy” looks like from the patient’s perspective, and I was able to carry this knowledge into my birth work to serve such a broader range of clients.

In 2019, I suffered multiple miscarriages, my son was diagnosed with leukemia, and then he was taken away from us because we delayed treatment to seek a second opinion on his chemotherapy protocol. The losses helped me connect further with the bereavement side of my birth work. My son’s diagnosis taught me how to grasp more medical terms, read lab work more effectively, and communicate with doctors in a different way. Having Noah taken away has taught me a lot about how CPS, dependency case law and court, works, which can help a lot of families in the birth world, surprisingly, especially those that choose home births.

Turning Trauma into Healing

That being said, if you feel like something in your life is hindering you, a past trauma, or a struggle you are currently going through, I offer you a challenge that may help.

Take a moment this week to write down your struggles individually, and for each struggle, I challenge you to find how that struggle can bring you a new gift and new experience for your career. If you feel ready, offer that as something you have experience in on your website, it may help a family that has been or is going through something similar, connect with you better. It is way okay to be open about our struggles, previous or current, as they are not just struggles, they are LIFE EXPERIENCES.

A few examples of experiences, which may seem un-favorable and potentially even morbid, to discuss on a professional website might be:

  • Domestic Violence (1/4 women experience this.. if you get more than 4 women to view your website, one of them is likely a fellow victim that appreciates that you understand her prior or current journey)
  • Loss & Fertility Struggles (Loss statistics are at about 1/4.. Infertility is about 1/8.. This applies to so many)
  • Special Needs
  • Single Parenthood
  • Gender Transition
  • Teen Parenthood
  • C-Section History
  • Addiction

What else can you think of, or may want to share from your own personal experience, that could actually do you or others a service in regards to birth work?

I always love to be able to turn something hard, into something positive and something to look forward to and utilize, and I hope to share and help others do the same.

Taylor

 

 

Pitocin Is The New Episiotomy

If you were a fly on the wall on a Labor & Delivery floor, you would see a bag of Pitocin or Synthetic Oxytocin being hooked up to a majority of the IVs on the floor. For some, Pitocin is absolutely necessary to stop a serious hemorrhage, but why is it being used routinely for women that are having perfectly normal postpartum lochia?

Postpartum hemorrhages are responsible for about a quarter of maternal deaths worldwide, so it is absolutely a valid fear for birthing women, babies, and providers. About 1-5% of birthing women have a postpartum hemorrhage.

We also must factor in and unpack the fact that many hemorrhages ARE iatrogenic, aka caused by the providers themselves. Ripping a woman’s placenta out two minutes postpartum is not acceptable unless there is a true emergency. Pitocin, while effective at ceasing a hemorrhage in progress, can also cause a hemorrhage, when used to force uterine contractions over a long period of time, by hyper-stimulating the uterus.

What Causes Postpartum Hemorrhage?

Are there pre-disposing factors to hemorrhaging? Kind of. Black women are more likely to hemorrhage than white women, due to routine poor provider care, and a higher chance of iatrogenic-induced complications. If you have a history of hemorrhage, you are more likely to hemorrhage again. Poor nutrition may also pre-dispose a woman to hemorrhage, depending on the deficiencies.

If we reflect on the above statistic again, that an estimated 1-5% of birthing women hemorrhage, that leaves a fair 95% that DO NOT, so why are we routinely administering Pitocin to prevent hemorrhage, when we can simply treat hemorrhage when and if it occurs?

What are the Risks of Using Pitocin?

The reasons we feel Pitocin should not be used preventatively include mental wellbeing, breastfeeding, and supply/demand purposes.

Pitocin is related to a 36% increase in postpartum mood disorders, including depression and anxiety, and with the prevalence of mood disorders being 1 in 7 REPORTED cases, we seriously feel that providers should be taking this more seriously.

Pitocin can interrupt the flow of natural hormones, after all, it is derived from pig hormones these days. This can also disturb the natural placental delivery, and the breastfeeding relationship by disrupting the physiological process involved in one, the other, or both.

Is Pitocin The New Episiotomy_

Now, onto the supply and demand reason. When you utilize a valuable resource on someone that does not need it, it is obviously a waste of a resource, making it a waste of time, money, and creating a gap that needs to be filled in the supplies. This leads to lower quality product because hospitals desperately have to keep replenishing, for those that are actually in need, and then continue to use the product on those who DO NOT need it. If you have a person on your left dying of dehydration, and a person on your right that just drank two cups of water, and you only have one cup of water, are you going to give both of them a half cup, or would you rather give the dehydrated individual all of the water, since the other person is fine and well-hydrated already? I think the answer is obvious, myself. I would much rather those that genuinely need Pitocin to receive higher quality Pitocin from a safe source, than for everyone to receive lower-quality Pitocin, preventatively.

For my animal-loving friends, it also must be pretty unimagineable how many pigs must be used and abused to keep the Pitocin manufacturers up to speed on supplying…

Also be mindful that Pitocin administration postpartum does not only occur in hospital settings, there are MANY midwives that routinely administer Pitocin injected intramuscularly, postpartum, so be sure to discuss this with your midwife if you are having a home or birth center birth, as well.

To address the title, we compared Pitocin to episiotomies because for a very long time, episiotomies were seen as absolutely necessary, to PREVENT tears. This is exactly what is happening with Pitocin as well, it is being used to PREVENT something that may never happen. Now, the ACOG organization advocates against the use of episiotomies in any scenario, allowing the body to naturally tear and stitching/repairing as needed. It would be optimal for everyone to use Pitocin the same way.

Should Pitocin be used in an emergency, despite the risks? ABSOLUTELY. It just does not need to be used for every single person that just had a baby.

Take control of your birth, and stay educated.