“I Don’t Need a Man”; Choosing to be a Single Mom By Choice

I recently attended a really special birth! (Honestly, they are all pretty special – but this one is a little different!) This mama went a route I didn’t even know was possible! I seriously meet and serve the COOLEST women! With this woman’s permission, I will be sharing about her route to motherhood.

Choosing Single Parenthood

She is my age- 26, healthy, single, and a mom to a 3 year old. Her 3 year old was conceived the same way as her recently born child (same donor as well)! She is what is referred to as a “Single Mom By Choice”. Also known as SMBC, “Solo Mum by Choice”, “Choice Moms”, and TBM “Turkey Baster Moms”. These are single women who choose to be a mother without a partner. I’ve heard of people getting sperm donated from a friend, or going to a lab, getting tests, being inseminated, etc. But I have never heard of one going the route this mama did!

Nitrogen tank mailed with the sperm!

This mom bought her sperm online through an online sperm bank. They mailed the sperm she chose to her house, along with a nitrogen tank! How neat?! You are able to look at the donor’s profile, hear their voice, read their medical history, and see their infant photos. Many of the sites require a doctor’s permission, I am told, though this site requires no such thing! Why would one need a doctor’s permission to have a baby when Jane, Mary, and Susan are able to get pregnant with their partner with no permission?! Here is the site she ordered from, Cryos International, if you might be interested: https://usa.cryosinternational.com/

The Journey into Single Motherhood

You would track your menstrual cycle using basal body temperature, charted cervical mucus, and ovulation tests to pin point ovulation– TOTALLY my jam, huge fertility nerd here! Once LH surge/ovulation is pin pointed, you would use the syringe to inseminate your own self! Rebecca, the mama who went this route, said she is willing to help anyone who reaches out to her learn more about tracking to pin point ovulation. I also created a video on ‘Fertility Tracking’ on my Facebook page.

20 MOT vial of donor sperm, bought online!

I think it is INSANELY empowering that she chose to be a mother and was like “I got this, I can do this myself, I don’t need a man! & while I’m at it, I’ll have an unassisted birth because I am THAT competent”. And competent she was as she brought her baby earth side all on her own. No coaching, no instruction, no rules, no equipment. She navigated her birth on her own, the same way she conceived her child. How STRONG and EMPOWERED of her?

WHEW! *shakes head in humbleness* These women are incredible, guys. I am kept humble.

Only moments after he was born, she reached to meet her baby for the first time.

Which is safer, Hospital or Home birth?

This morning, someone told me hospital birth was safer than birth at home.
I thought that was an interesting, yet scientifically unsupported, claim! As I am fully aware of the safety of home birth, I personally only had information on unassisted birth, so I began to look for credible studies with certified midwife assisted birth!

What I had found was incredible!
First, this article listed below shows that home birth is all around, a better option! The ones listed at the end follow in agreement.

Outcomes of Planned Home Birth with Registered Midwife versus Planned Hospital Birth with Midwife or Physician – NCBI

Planned home birth with a certified midwife vs. A planned hospital birth with a midwife vs. A planned hospital birth with a physician/OB

The most notable stats of babies born via planned home birth with a midwife in assistance:

  1. Lowest amount of perinatal deaths
  2. Lowest mortality rate over all
  3. Lowest chance of adverse maternal outcomes (postpartum hemorrhage and 3rd & 4th degree tears)
  4. Lowest rates of infection
  5. Lowest amount of intervention needed
  6. Lowest chance of pyrexia (fever)
  7. Lowest chance of birth trauma for both mom and baby
  8. Lowest cesarean rate
  9. Lowest need for resuscitation
  10. Lowest need for oxygen in their first 24 hours of life
  11. Highest maternal satisfaction

I mean, it speaks for itself! 🤷🏼‍♀️

Here are a few other articles/studies 👇

Planned Home Birth: Benefits, Risks, and Opportunities – NCBI
Planned Hospital Birth versus Planned Home Birth – NCBI
New Studies Confirm Safety of Home Birth with Midwives – Midwives Alliance
Dueling Statistics: Is Out-of-Hospital Birth Safe? – NCBI

👆 This last one concludes that a Hospital birth is not safe for low risk pregnancy/birth. No kidding!

Due Dates Calculated by the Moon

🌜 MOON DUE DATE CALCULATOR 🌛

Did you know you can calculate your due date by the moon? The baby will be due appropriately 10 moons after the first day of her last monthly bleed.

If her period started on a quarter moon, the baby will be due 10 quarter moons later. If her period started on a full moon, the baby would be due around 10 full moons later.

Obviously, nowadays we have more accurate ways to pinpoint a more precise week, even day to expect an arrival. I mean, we use calendars. This is how things used to be done though!

Another way would be by measuring the woman’s fundal height. I personally feel this can be an accurate way to pinpoint an expected delivery week, for most women! (With out means of ultrasound)

The Last Days of a Spirit Baby pregnancy

I’ve waited for this child since August of 2017, when they first came to me and stated I was their mother. We’ve conversed on multiple occasions, we know each other well. Baby is finally in utero – just about ready to arrive! The journey has been incredible – the end teaching me the greatest lessons of humbleness, patience, and how to adjust.

In the last moments of pregnancy, life can be a whirlwind. So many hormones flowing, so many emotions being felt, and all the bodily changes that we see come with it. Everything is uncertain, things are changing, and we have no control over when or exactly how the ride will go. We know the dynamic in the home will soon change, because no one is pregnant forever – we just cannot know when. We are waiting on a delivery with no guaranteed “delivered by” date. What a learning experience!

It leaves many women open and vulnerable, myself included. The end of pregnancy is a part of birth, if you ask me. An important part of the transition to motherhood – be it baby number 1 or number 9. I am a different person in this transition season, going through the shifting of hormones, and seeing so many bodily changes. It’s only the beginning of the transformation that will occur on birthing day and there forward!

My body is adjusting to this new life we will live with, a new very dependent infant. My mind is waking my body in the night, giving me energy and alertness – all on its own. It is preparing me for the days I will need to wake with a nursing infant. How neat that my body knows to wake me, and get used to waking, in order to prepare for this transition! My uterus is contracting, regularly, practicing for the big marathon we will take on in a matter of days/weeks. My body is doing all the things necessary to efficiently bring my baby to me.

I’m so over pregnancy, if we are being honest. I am huge, my stretch marks are changing colors, and showing in places they never have. I can’t get comfortable often at all, my body aches, and I’m just as tired as a newborn – I swear. I am failing at keeping up with housework, my patience as a mother is insanely low, I am easily annoyed/angered/bothered. These are all normal feelings, and I know that. Worldly stresses are a huge contribution to this. Trying to keep up with normal life while in this vulnerable phase of waiting is hard! I’ve been cutting out energies left and right to help. Social media and the energy that it offers, communication with most people, and interactions outside of my home have been removed entirely. I am trying to preserve my mentality the best I can as we are in this transition. In this time of “When is this baby going to come?”, I am trying to be positive and enjoy as much as I can.

I find myself sitting, looking down at my 40 week gestation belly, watching this fully developed infant wiggle around. I’ve never been pregnant this long before, this is new territory for me. I am trying my best to enjoy this intimate and vulnerable time in pregnancy. I will miss this belly – I will miss the flips, kicks, and hiccups one day. I try to pay attention to and note all of the changes I am experiencing. The discharge, the heat flashes, the lack of patience, the change in bowl movements, feeling nauseous, waking in the night, all of the things that happen in the end of pregnancy. I’m trying to enjoy all that this journey has to offer. I’m trying my best to stop thinking about “when?” and replace it with enjoying the “NOW”.

It is definitely a learning experience, as all pregnancies have been for me. Each one with a different lesson to offer. This pregnancy has taught me so much humility, patience, and showed me the kind of mother I am, and what changes need to be made so I can improve. This has been the most transformative pregnancy thus far, out of 4. As this child’s spirit has told me before conception, this pregnancy and birth will change me. This spirit child has not failed to keep their promise! I have transformed drastically and will continue to in our journey through birth and postpartum.

I may be tired and “ready” but I appreciate and enjoy the journey. I am thankful for all of the lessons of patience and slowing down time. I am most thankful for the ability to enjoy the “NOW”, disregarding the man-made calendar as we pass 40 weeks. I will meet my spirit baby soon, whatever ‘soon’ is for this little one.

Here is to something new!

Is your Midwife there to serve YOU? – Questions to ask a Potential Midwife

So you want to hire a homebirth midwife?

That’s a great choice! There are many great midwives that serve women all across the world. They usually serve in a more natural-minded manner, and know more about physiological birth than their obstetric counterparts.

When you go about hiring a midwife, it is important to be aware that they are not one size fits all. They are each very different, will practice differently, will have different views on what physiological birth is, and not all midwives are ideal for YOU.

When choosing a midwife, be aware that most are limited in how they can serve you, due to state laws. Most licensed midwives will not serve you completely autonomously without risking the loss of their license; which is sad – but important to be aware of, as many women are not. There are also midwives that are not bound by legalities and can serve you completely autonomously. These women are often considered Traditional or ‘underground’ midwives.
I’ve also heard of licensed midwives who are willing to bend rules and fudge numbers to ensure a safe, out of facility delivery – making you the number one priority.
Be sure you know who you have along for your journey before hiring!

Questions for Your Midwife

1. What does a physiological home birth look like to you?

Some may have a more medical version of home birth in mind with monitoring vitals, checking the cervix, and so on. Some will have a more natural flowing version where medical monitoring/assisting only occurs when needed.

2. How often do you need to monitor baby?

In some states, licensed Midwives are required to monitor baby every few minutes. This can be an unnecessary bother during labor. If this is something you’d like to avoid, be sure your midwife is able to support your choice of limited monitoring.

3. Are cervical checks ever required, if so, how many?

Most women do not enjoy cervical checks during labor. They can be hindering during labor and are 100% unnecessary. If your birth plan is to avoid cervical checks, be sure to discuss this, as some may require them.

4. What  could cause me to ‘risk-out’ of your care?

Closer to the end of pregnancy, many women are shocked when their provider tells them they’ve “risked out” of care. This means you are no longer a client and they will no longer serve you. Some midwives will risk you out for silly reasons, such as baby being breech, solely to protect their license. Be sure you are aware of every situation that could risk you out of their care before signing a contract.

5. What would necessitate a transfer during labor?

During labor, your midwife can choose to transfer you. Transfer is necessary in some situations! Unfortunately, some will choose to do so for unnecessary reasons and without warning. Of course, you can refuse transfer, but they may be required to call 911 before they leave – this then becomes your issue to deal with while you are vulnerable. Some will transfer for silly reasons such as two slightly elevated blood pressure readings, baby being breech, or “failure to progress”. Be sure you are aware of all scenarios your provider will transfer for, before labor. It is important to also discuss what you will do in the case of a suggested unnecessary transfer. Will you stay home and continue with delivery or will you do as she suggests? This should all be discussed prior to laboring day.

It’s comforting to believe that all home birth midwives have your best interest at heart, but this unfortunately is not always the case. Those are a few questions that might be able to help you decipher if she is more concerned about you or licensure.

A few things you could do to protect yourself if your midwife drops you or suggests unnecessary transfer would be:

  1. Do not pay in full until the deadline of payment.
  2. Be informed on your state’s midwifery laws and the legalities surrounding.
  3. Have a plan of what you will do in the case she drops you out of care.
  4. Discuss each unnecessary transfer scenario and what you and your partner would do if she made the suggestion to transfer.
  5. Discuss with your midwife prior to labor what you will do if she feels she needs to leave your birth to protect her license. Discuss each situation and scenario.
  6. Make sure there is a refund policy in your contract, be sure you agree with it.
  7. Be sure your partner and/or Doula are in the loop with all of the above because they will be the ones you look to for support if your midwife drops you or suggests transfer. Everyone involved should know what would cause you to “risk out” of care, as well as what might necessitate a transfer. No need for surprises on laboring day!

Final Thoughts

I’ve heard too many stories where a home birth midwife left a woman hanging, mostly for unnecessary reasons. Most times, the woman was unaware that their midwife could abandon them like they did. Most did not get any amount of refund, and many were left with traumatic births. This is what drove me to create this article. Women in their childbearing years need to be aware that this can happen. They need to know what questions to ask and how to decipher if the potential midwife is a good fit, prior to signing a contract and paying in full. She can be a sweetheart and say she supports, you but there is more to it than that.

Again, not all midwives are the same. It’s important to acknowledge that there are a few snakes in the grass. Many midwives will have your best interest at heart, will bend silly rules for you, and put you before themselves – be sure the woman you hire is one! There are amazing midwives out there, you just have to look! Keep in mind, if your midwife is driven by the law, that is exactly what she will deliver.

Racism in Maternal Care

You’d think we are in a time where everyone would be treated equally. Those in a professional position would not complete their duties based on the ethnicity of a person – so we would think.

If you look at the birth outcomes of each ethnicity, you will find that things are not equal. It is almost as if the providers are trained to take advantage of and disservice women of color.

If we look back in history at the “Father of gynecology”, James Marion Sims and the things he did, it isn’t hard to see where it began. Dr. Sims practiced under the racist assumption that black people did not feel pain. He would complete surgical experiments on black women without anesthesia or any type of numbing agent. When he would operate on white women though, he would use anesthesia.

sims

Sims wrote a book about his life and shared in it that he would “take ownership of the women”, and went on to share the advantages he found in working on people that were basically his property. “There was never a time that I could not, at any day, have had a subject for operation.” he stated.

sims

He would take slaves, “patch them up”, and send them back to their owners so the black woman could continue to reproduce for the owner. These women would endure hours long surgeries, screaming and crying out in pain, as he documented in his literature.

When his patients would die, it was never his fault. (You know…kind of like how OB/GYNs are today) He would blame it on, “the sloth and ignorance of their mothers and the black midwives who attended them.” – it was not anything to do with him or his experiments. Unwilling to recognize his own iatrogenic care.

The ‘Father of Modern Gynecology’ Performed Shocking Experiments on Slaves – History
The Medical Ethics of the ‘Father of Gynaecology’, Dr J Marion Sims – Journal of Medical Ethics

Today we find that women of color are treated unfairly with blatant racial discrimination, almost as if licensed providers are trained to treat these women differently; it happens that often. Performing similar acts to what Sims did back in the day – treating them as less than.

In one study, women shared their experiences. One black woman shared that during an appointment she expressed to her Midwife that she did not feel comfortable going to her appointments anymore. The midwife replied with a racial slur, “Do you do crack?”. Blatant racial slurs were reported by multiple women in this study. How is this acceptable or professional? With so many providers doing this, it makes you wonder if they are trained to act this way towards the minorities.

black 3

Black women are 4X more likely than white women to die during pregnancy or childbirth in the US. Between 2013 and 2015, 54 black women died for every 100,000 births compared to 15 white women. These numbers are rising each year.

black

We could say “Maybe the black race just has poor health.” or “The black women’s body is biologically doomed”, but those would be comments lacking knowledge. It is not hard to see that racism is the invisible risk factor. OB/GYN, Dr. Joia Crear-Perry, wrote the article below explaining and in agreement with this unspoken truth.

Race isn’t a Risk Factor in Maternal Health. Racism Is. – Rewire.News

black 4

In the link below you can read a few first-hand testimonies from black women who experienced racism in their maternal experience:

Black Mothers Share the Devastating Impact of Racism in Maternal Health Care – Vice

Such sad stories, and the saddest part is that these stories are so incredibly common. So many women of color are disserviced by medical professionals, on a daily basis, during their childbearing years, especially in big cities or low income locations. Same as it has been since 1845 when Sims, The Father of Gynecology, began practicing with a racial bias towards black women.

It makes sense why more black women are choosing unhindered, unassisted birth after experiencing a facility birth. It has to be hard to walk into a facility knowing the disservice that is likely to occur, according to statistics.

We’d like to hear from you! What are a few possible ways that might correct this issue that is apparent and rising in the US?

Let’s Talk About Sex, Baby!

Sex is such a taboo topic in our society, isn’t it?? But… why?? If we were more open and proud about our sensuality and sexuality, perhaps we would be able to solve more issues such as painful sex, boring sex, or even, lack thereof. There are so many variables and subjects to discuss in sex, but let’s really dig into motherhood and sex, because, well, we are more experienced in that variation of sex, than let’s say, exhibitionism for example, but hey, if that is your thing – own it!

Trying to conceive, whether it is your first or last, can be rough on your sex life because it can turn sex into a chore, when it should be fun, and bonding. The best way to re-vision this is that you are not scheduling sex, you are scheduling bonding and intimacy time. Make it into a date, if you can, even if it is just a “Netflix and Chill” kind of date in your living room, after the older kids are in bed. Throw on a film thats inappropriate, funny or scary, and cuddle up with some pistachios and chocolate (yum… well-known and science backed aphrodisiacs) and enjoy each other.

Preventing Pregnancy

When you are trying to PREVENT conception, sex can be intimidating, especially considering us natural-minded mamas that choose not to use hormonal birth control, but really are not prepared to get pregnant again, yet, or ever. Condoms are an option… but have you heard about Neem? Neem has been studied and proven to kill sperm on contact. A male can safely ingest this in neem caps, or by tincture (but just a heads up, it does not taste or smell great, at all), or you can use a Neem oil based lubricant.

Our friend over at How He’s Raised makes this lubricant that is safe and effective.

Also, you really need to consider tracking your fertility, with temping, watching your cervical mucus and checking cervical positioning! We have a video all about it that you can watch here.

Sex During Pregnancy

For pregnant women, sex can be difficult too. You may be overstimulated, exhausted, sore, nauseous, all of the above, and then some. When you feel up to it, sex is amazing for labor preparation, as it stimulates oxytocin release, and semen has natural prostaglandins in it that soften the cervix. Do not worry though, baby will not be harmed. Your cervix and the amniotic and chorionic sacs are protecting baby in your belly and they actually benefit from the oxytocin release, as well.

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Having Sex Postpartum

Sex postpartum!! This is one of the worst experiences I went through, personally. With my first, I had an episiotomy and husband stitch (GAG) so I was sore beyond even bearing my own touch after using the bathroom for about 12 weeks or so, let alone attempting sex! Eventually my scar tissue kind of broke itself up enough to be “comfortable” but I was still in pain, every time, especially in positions that increased depth. It wasn’t until 3 years later, when I finally saw a Pelvic Floor Therapist after birthing the surrogate twins, that I realized how much scar tissue I had, and how much I could actually ENJOY sex again. It can make us feel like lesser when we cannot participate in sex postpartum, the way that we used to, especially after our first baby. We may believe that sex will never be the same again and that our spouses will always be longing for someone else. It is okay to be a different type of sexy, you are mama sexy now! You have wider hips for holding, bigger thighs for squeezing, stretch marks for kissing, and such. Paint your body into the beautiful womanly figure that it is. Practice mirror therapy to encourage self-confidence.

Final Thoughts

Attend a sex retreat if you can! Seriously, my husband and I had one of the most fun and bonding times together as a couple, at a sex retreat. Now, this is definitely not what you are envisioning when you think sex retreat. We did not take a field trip to the dungeon and have a mass orgy for three days straight, but we went out into nature with other couples and singles, played games involving learning about different sexual fetishes, aligned our chakras, practiced couple bonding, chatted with others about their stories and where they came from, did yoga in the nude, had some really yummy food, and made love under the stars. I highly encourage looking into Moksha Magick if you ever get an opportunity, the ceremonies are mesmerizing and enlightening.

Eye gazing can stimulate bonding and increased sexual energy whether you are TTC, freshly postpartum or just doing it, in general.

Sex is a beautiful thing, and not something to be shameful of, by any means. If you are struggling with pain, lack of libido, or anything else that makes sex unpleasurable, please seek someone to help! There are many herbs that can balance hormones to increase libido, and a pelvic floor therapist can do wonders for pain during sex.

Love yourself and make love as you please!

 

🌸 Fetal Ejection Reflex (FER)🌸

You know how when you watch movies, doctors will instruct a woman when to push while delivering her baby? Did you know that “pushing” usually isn’t even necessary during natural labor and birth? Instructed pushing can actually be harmful. Mother should be following her instincts, solely, instead of relying on others to tell her when and what to do.

When mother is left to labor undisturbed, it’s possible she may experience what is called the Fetal Ejection Reflex. This is when the body expels the baby with no real effort from the birthing mother. Her body simply does it on its own, naturally. It’s like a sneeze! Once it’s coming on, you can’t stop it! But if you don’t experience it, you can’t force it, as Dr. Michael Odent says.

FER happens in the transition stage. High levels of adrenaline and norepinephrine trigger the Fetal Ejection Reflex (FER). These adrenaline and oxytocin surges create strong, rapid waves, and these powerful waves (otherwise known as contractions) move the baby from the uterus and into the birth canal. The pressure from baby in the vagina triggers the uncontrollable expulsion of the baby. The nerves in the pelvis are stimulated and baby descends through the birth canal. This automatic bodily function sends messages to the brain to release more oxytocin, resulting in two or three strong contractions. The baby is then born quickly and easily without voluntary pushing from the mother.

fer

When a large amount of adrenaline enters the mother’s bloodstream, it gets her out of the exhaustion state she may have been in previously, preparing her for baby’s arrival. This makes her alert and prepared to catch and protect her young.
FER can come on suddenly. Prior to FER kicking in, many will experience sudden thirst, dilated pupils, and a period of panic or fear. This is normal and no reason to be concerned!

What to Expect from FER

The birthing mother may show a sense of fear. She may say she can’t do it, she does not have any control, or may be frightened. This is when she should be assured that what she is experiencing is normal and that she is about to meet her baby! She should NOT be checked for dilation. She should simply follow her body’s lead and allow baby to exit naturally! Her body will begin to “push” on it’s own.

Sometimes the woman may yelp, screech, or scream. It is an overwhelming moment where mom isn’t in control and the sensations themselves are overwhelming in the moment while your body is in overdrive. I know I definitely screeched the last 2 contractions, when I experienced FER! I had no control and the last 4-5 contractions were back to back, with no break. It’s overwhelming, so her noises are rightfully so!

If a provider steps in and checks for dilation or tries to interfere, it can interrupt the FER process. Women that feel delivering in a hospital is the safest place to be should also be aware of the impact their birthing environment has on their desired natural birth experience. FER rarely happens in a hospital with bright lights, intervention and so forth.

FER can happen when:

  1. Mother has a sense of danger in the last stage of labor.
  2. Spontaneously when the birthing mother is undisturbed and at peace in her own space and feels safe and supported, not being interrupted by commotion or bright lights.
  3. It can, but rarely, happen in a hospital setting. This is because women are interrupted quite often with procedures and unnecessary interventions. If the mother is threatened with intervention, this could make her feel a sense of danger. In this scenario, if the woman is in the last stage of labor, the body will eject baby instead of stalling labor.

Labor stalling is what usually happens when a woman is in labor and is uncomfortable, feels threatened, is being bothered, in bright lights, feels anxious or senses danger. Labor stalls to protect baby from the environment mother is currently in. This is where unnecessary interventions come into play and mess up the whole natural birth flow. All because mom was in a place she couldn’t be completely relaxed and get into her birth zone.

That’s a different topic for a different day. Gahhh, I could talk about unnecessary interventions and the importance of birth environments for days! Any who, that’s FER and how it all works!

Allow your baby to arrive earth side naturally. No coached pushing, no intervention, just you and baby working together to bring babe earth side! Get yourself a doula if you would like to increase your chances of a natural birth and experiencing FER. You won’t regret it!

Have you experienced FER? Please share your experience!!