Free Standing Birth Center

November 12, 2009

On one of the blogs I follow, the question was asked by a local nurse if we want a freestanding birth center in our area. Her words:

Would folks who want a homebirth because of the restrictive nature of the hospital, come to a freestanding birth center? Is there a demand for Birth Centers? Especially a Birth center across the street from the hospital that has a large staff and 24 hour Ob and anesthesia folks so they can handle anything you throw at them. And a Nicu would be good too. I was thinking, if we did start up a birth center across the street from the hospital I worked at, would it be used? If we build it, will they come?

So for any home birth folks out there, could you please leave me a comment on your thoughts. What would you need in a birth center to make it attractive to birth at?

My answers is YES we need a birth center here! I personally wouldn’t use it, although, the idea of big fancy birth tubs does strike a chord in my heart. After having an amazing homebirth once, I don’t think I would have it any other way. But, I think our community is definitely in need of a birth center. Right now, our birth choices are so black and white. You either birth at home or go to the hospital. Introducing a birth center would be great, because it would appeal to those wanting a safe and natural birth, but don’t feel comfortable staying home. The facility even being available might encourage more women to consider natural birth, as well.

Women in our community also (mostly) have not had the experience of having a Midwife for either Well Woman visits or Prenatal Care. I think that once they were introduced to the care of a Midwife, women would be highly impressed. I know I can’t say enough good things about my Midwife.

So, again I say YES, please! A birth center for Lafayette would be wonderful. Let me know your thoughts. And check out the comments others have left here.

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My Transition

November 10, 2009

To expand upon my last post, I’ll give you some insight on how my transition in my labor with Archer went. What I want to emphasize is that sometimes, during transition, a laboring woman needs some encouragement. What she also needs is the knowledge of what is happening with her body. I had a pretty good grasp on how labor progresses and was prepared if things got tough. My husband and I took a Bradley Method birth class that was wonderful. It broke down the stages of labor, explained exactly what is happening for baby and mother throughout the course of labor, and helped you and your partner prepare for your labor with relaxation techniques, massage, and positioning. I HIGHLY recommend taking this class if you are planning for a natural birth–whether it be in the hospital or at home, this class is outstanding preparation.

So, number one, I had education that helped me through my labor. Next, was John. He was amazing support for me. He knew what transition meant and knew what to do to help me through it. At one point, I was ready to give up, go to the hospital, and get an epidural so I could rest. This was after the birth team had left our house to let me get some rest as my labor seemed to be stalling out. To try to relax, I got in our bath tub, with John by my side. With my belly being so huge and the tub so small, I wasn’t able to fully relax enough to “sleep”, so we moved to the bed. Here is where labor got going! John was laying beside me rubbing my head and trying to soothe me enough so I could get the bit of rest I needed to continue with labor. Well, rest is not what I did. My contractions became more intense than ever at this point, and I was unsure if I could handle this extreme pain. Here I became worried about exhaustion and my only thought was, “I need to get to the hospital, get an epidural, and SLEEP!” John worked hard to calm me down, and reason with me. We both knew this was NOT what we wanted for Archer’s birth. Had I not had John there to talk me out of that, who knows what would have happened. Through learning about labor, he was ready for me to get to this point, and knew how to help me through it. The next step was to get into the birthing tub. Labor was still going in full swing, so I had John call everyone back. I needed them! Thirdly, on me list of help, was my Midwife and Birth Attendants. One of the ladies on the birth team, who I have mentioned before, was tremendous. I think she only wiped my forehead with a cold rag and here and there said some words of encouragement, but MAN was she lovely! My transition was hard, but it really didn’t last that long. All I could do during this time was lay against John in the water. Changing positions or walking around was not an option for me at this point. I was under the impression that my labor would have last forever due to having an Occiput Posterior (OP) baby. Luckily, labor didn’t seem to last much longer. I was blessed with a baby that wanted to come out quickly!
I remember towards the end of labor when it seemed that the whole world was quiet, I was looking up at the paintings on my mantle. One painting, a gift from my mother, is a scene in Guatemala of women walking to and from the fountain to get water. The painting next to this was tropical landscape watercolor painted by my Aunt. What gave me encouragement was knowing that these woman have all gone through natural birth. The painting from Guatemala reminded me that there are women all over the world that birth naturally, and they get through it. My Aunt has given birth naturally three times, so that was a huge comfort to me. So, after this, I prayed to God to help me deliver my baby, and next thing I knew he was here!

This is my take on transition: you need to be prepared for it. However you need to do it–with a Doula, a partner, family, friends, education, solitude, whatever. Transition can be rough, but it’s possible to get through. I think that more women need to know about this part of labor, so they and their birth team can be ready for it.

Natural Birth

November 10, 2009

Over the weekend a new mother had the birth of her child live streaming on the internet. I didn’t hear about her plan to do this prior to the event; I caught on to it through other Twittering moms I follow while she was laboring. I don’t know the details, but what I gather is that her plan was to have a natural birth. With her were both a Doula and Midwife in the hospital. Sounds like a great support team for a natural birth. But, as this mother’s labor progressed and became painful, she asked for the epidural and it was administered.

Whether she got the epidural or not, I don’t care. Birth how you want to birth. But, I thought there would have been a bit more encouragement from the Midwife and Doula to keep going naturally, if that was the goal. When a woman is in transition, usually that is when drugs will be requested. This is when doubt arises–doubt that you can get through the labor. But, transition means that pushing stage is just around the corner, and that’s why I was surprised at the lack of support from the Doula and Midwife. I know they are well aware of this time, and this is the common cry from a laboring woman at this point. But regardless, this woman was given the epidural and proceeded with the birth. Thankfully, things went smoothly and she was able to deliver her baby soon after vaginally.

This gives me big ideas to do something. The natural course of labor needs to be common knowledge, but the fact is, it’s far from that. I feel, that if more women knew how labor progresses, we would have less intervention. Less intervention leads to less complications, which leads to lower Cesarean rate, episiotomy rate, etc. All this applies to a woman with the desire for a natural birth, of course. From what I can see–from the mothers that even have a thought of natural birth in mind–there is either the well educated woman who knows how labor will generally go or the woman who hopes for a natural birth if things don’t get too rough, but are fine with getting pain relief if needed. I wish there were more available information for pregnant women about labor. Maybe ‘available’ isn’t the word. I wish that a woman’s care provider would offer the information about natural labor, or even encourage trying for a natural birth. That might be asking a little too much, though. Maybe the woman that has thought a natural birth would be nice, but hasn’t done the homework, would learn what she needs to know about what her body can do when giving birth to her baby. She would learn about things like transition and what it means. It means you are so close to seeing your child. Labor is hard at this point, but it is a short time that you can get through. Once you get through transition, you are on to pushing, and baby is here!

I know these are just big ideas, but it is just so upsetting to me that we as women are letting the inner wisdom that our minds and bodies possess fade away into the hands of these unnecessary medical procedures just to deliver our babies. Birth has become so complicated, and really, it’s pretty simple. We just need to be more prepared to allow our bodies to do the work that it so perfectly already knows how to do without ANY help.

Funny

November 5, 2009

So, I decided to make an instructional video to send out with the purchase of my Ring Slings. Turns out, this is not as easy as I thought it would be. First of all, I kept laughing. Leave it to me to be the professional. Then, Archer decided he didn’t want to be in the spotlight for this video. I thought it might have been the time of day (the evening) that made him fussy, but after trying the next afternoon, he acted the same way. Uncooperative! That’s a baby for you! So, we did our best and I hope the video turns out to be helpful.

Here are some clips that we aren’t using. You will see why.


Look

November 1, 2009

Today was pretty productive. John was a lovely man and took the boys out so I could get some work done. He also took a ton of really great pictures of me and a friend modeling my slings. If you get a chance, check out my newly renovated Etsy shop. I got all of my slings up and have added a few miscellaneous items.

Tales of how Halloween went for Jackson, I mean The Green Lantern, are to come.

Poor Jeff

October 29, 2009

If you want to know how to confuse an olderish cat, you have come to the right place. At our house we have 2 cats. Jefferson is the older kitty and Lionel Richie is just about a year old. We are lucky enough to have cats that will come back if we let them outside, so we let them come and go as they please through the cat door. (This cat door was sadly probably one of the selling points when we were looking at this house.) These cats also like to follow us on walks. Lionel will come with us for the entirety of a walk and make it home safely. Jeff, on the other hand, has always stuck closer to home. And closer to home means that he will only visit the surrounding block. And by visiting I mean, laying on neighbors’ cars, eating food neighbors leave out because they assume these weird cats are strays (even when they are obviously fed), and of course, going into our neighbors’ homes! Well, for some reason Jefferson decided to leave his comfort zone to see just where it is we go when we walk down the street. We are normally going to visit John’s parents who are not too far away. While we were there one evening, we were spotted! Jefferson caught us at another person’s house! From that day on, we saw less and less of Jeff. Finally, one day I was trying to remember the last time I had seen him, and I couldn’t remember. It turns out he had reclaimed his territory at my in-laws/their neighbors. John’s parents kept seeing Jeff outside asking to come in. We are friends with my in-laws’ neighbors, so I gave her a call to see if Jefferson had been visiting at her house. She told me she had thought he was a stray and had been feeding him. She said it had crossed her mind that we had a black and white cat, but dismissed the thought to ask if it was ours because it was quite far for a cat to go. And why would he always be around if he lived with us?! Well, I guess we confused the old kitty, and he thought we moved. Or something? Anyway, Jeff is back. We picked him up at my in-laws’ house and brought him home. So I think he has figured out that we still live here, and plans to stick around. I hope.

If We Did It Again

October 28, 2009

Recently, I was given the news from a good friend that she is pregnant. (!) I am so thrilled for her. She is a wonderful mother, a great friend, and I am glad that I get to be around for this pregnancy.

So, from this news, the birth blogs I read, and of course, the people everywhere I look having babies, I am thinking about pregnancy and birth. I have been fantasizing of the things I would do if we happened to get pregnant again. And, I know this sounds like the beginnings of a decision to have more babies; I assure you that is not where this is going!

Anyway! If a new baby were to come along, I would want to document the pregnancy much more than I did the previous ones. I would take the weekly belly photo, and probably post it on my blog. Exercise! I would exercise! During my first pregnancy, I exercised much more than the second. I took walks and kept fairly active the whole time. For the second, I got lazy. I had no desire to get off of the couch, chair, bed, whatever. Towards the middle, I did do a bit of exercise that was required for The Bradley Method class. Squats and pelvic rocks don’t compare to walking a mile, though.

As for prenatal care, we would most definitely go with our Midwife, again. She was absolutely wonderful. It would be nice to go through all of the prenatal care with her. Last time, we were with an OB up until about week 30 and then made the switch to our Midwife. The quality of care you get from an OB doesn’t even compare to that of a Midwife. You actually spend time talking with a Midwife; you learn things. With an OB, you are in and out of the room within five minutes. You get to hear the heartbeat and are sent home.

With the choice to have a Midwife, this means we would be planning a home birth. I wouldn’t have it any other way after our experience with Archer’s birth. The only thing I would want to change would be more pictures and possibly a video of the birth. I would also like to have close friends and family there.

So, there you go. This is just something that’s been on my mind, so I had to get it out. Now, back to enjoying my 2 boys, and no more of this crazy talk about more babies!

Sling #4

October 23, 2009

This is one of the core designs I plan to use for future slings. The stitching looks like a vine with leaves. I used this on the top of the pocket and on the sides and bottom of the sling. I placed the pocket off from the center on the tail. I stuck with the accordion fold for the shoulder. And, the length is around 75 inches; a medium size.

This sling is made from a Pistachio color pure softened linen with accenting thread in SageIMG_0720IMG_0718IMG_0722. Yay!

The Ring Sling

October 23, 2009

My new sewing project that I am now in love with and want to make 10,000 more of is the ring sling. I needed wanted a new one, and decided to try making one for myself. After all, I can sew. So, I gave it a shot, and it’s actually a pretty fast and easy process. After the first successful sling, I made another. This one I made a little differently. The first one I made (mine) I doubled up the linen. My idea was to make a thicker sling for winter, but it turns out I don’t prefer thick to thin. The fabric gets bunched in the rings and doesn’t easily slide through when tightening. So, the next sling I made, for a friend, was just one layer. It turned out very nicely. Tonight, I finished my third, and it is gorgeous. I used a fancy stitch and added a pocket on the tail that was an old cloth napkin given to me from John’s Aunt. I’m really happy with it. But, I did find out that using a more intricate stitch takes quite a bit more time. The consistency among all three is using the accordion fold for the shoulder. I have one made by another lady with this fold, and I love it. It looks nice and distributes the weight evenly across the shoulder. Through trial and error I hope to figure out 3 core styles for my slings. When I get that figured out, I will be posting them in my Etsy shop and my website. I’d also like to look into selling them locally. I’m not sure which retail store I would go to, but I know I could try selling at the local CHOICES meetings.

Here are a few photos:

Mine

Mine

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8

October 19, 2009

Archer Everson Fry is 8 months old. In my mind he should still be somewhere around the ballpark of 3 months, but reality is telling me differently. I know, every month it’s the same old, ‘I just can’t believe how old my beautiful baby boy is’. But, seriously, I cannot believe this child of mine is past the halfway mark and on the fast road to being one year old. Crazy!

I’m holding each of these quickly passing months with baby Archer close, because I know how fast babies turn into 4 year olds going to preschool. I also think this will be the last of the children we have, so I’m enjoying every last drop of cuddling, slobbery kisses, first claps, and toothless grins.

And while I am trying to savor these precious times with my boys as they are little, I still have to stop and remind myself to do so. It’s so easy to get caught up in getting the kitchen clean or getting the clothes folded and put away. And, I don’t stop there. I’ve got at least one project going at all times. I’m either sewing something for a customer or knitting a scarf for Jackson. It’s usually hard to get me to just relax and sit on the couch. This is a good thing and a bad thing. I’m efficient at getting things done and taking care of the house, but sometimes I get too wrapped up in it and forget about what is really important. Hanging out with my kids is number one. And the time flies so fast, that I really have no room to let myself get so distracted from my babies. This is not to say I should let the house go or put my own interests aside; I just need to be more mindful (which I have been lately) of how I am spending my time.

My Dad is the one who sparked this thought. We were sitting around the table for dinner at his house, as we try to do every couple of weeks. As we were all sitting there talking, being full, and watching Archer crawl around the kitchen, my Dad pointed out that this is what life is about. This is what we need to spend our time doing: enjoying the people we love.

And so, that is what I’ve kept in the front of my mind, lately. As the weeks go by, and months pass, I am so thankful for all the wonderful people in my life. I am most thankful for a happy and healthy family.