Friday, December 28, 2012

The Risk of Unassisted or Unattended birth

The Risk of Unassisted Birth By Martha Artyomenko

Peace. Intimacy. Family Togetherness. This sounds like the ideal picture of what your dream birth could be. When you are researching and choosing this way to give birth, you may know someone that had a beautiful birth story they share with you on how peaceful and lovely it was, having an unattended birth. There was no medical interference and they raved about it. You think back on previous births and think perhaps that the midwife/doctor didn’t actually do that much. Maybe you barely made it to the hospital before the baby was born or the baby came so fast, the midwife or doctor missed the birth altogether.

The stories you do not hear as frequently are the stories with the poor outcomes. They really are often seen as scare tactics or simply something that happens to other people and not you. Imagine that peaceful scene, laboring quietly with your husband, suddenly becoming as busy as an accident scene, complete with ambulances, EMT’s, and police. That is not what anyone wants for her birthing scene, but while birth is a normal and natural process, it is also one that carries risk. Women, without the medical inventions that even home birth midwives utilize, often have a higher risk of waiting until they are beyond minimal intervention and instead run the risk of serious medical intervention. These stories below are fictitious, but could be true based on true stories that I know.

Penny was planning a hospital birth. She has received prenatal care from a local OB, but the OB is not satisfying her need for hands off care. She makes the decision to just gather a few supplies and wait at home until the last minute before heading to the hospital, hoping to actually have the baby before heading to the hospital or be on the cusp when she arrived. “Women have been doing this for generations! I have had 3 healthy babies that I had no issues with, why would this one be different?” Penny goes into labor and when she starts to notice a lot of pressure below, decides to head to the hospital. Arriving, she gives birth to a healthy baby boy 5 minutes later. She starts to question the need for any kind of care during labor. It had been so peaceful at home; she could easily just buy some supplies and have her husband help her next time. Pregnant for the 5th time, a year later, she decides to plan infrequent prenatal visits to a local midwife, and lets her know that she is not planning on using her for the delivery. While the midwife warns her of the risks, she shrugs her shoulders. “How risky can it actually be?” she asks her husband. “ I almost did it before without anyone, why would this be different?” She enjoys the hands off approach and when the time comes to give birth, she gives birth in her bedroom, kneeling next to her bed. Everything was beautiful. She notices when she goes to the bathroom that there is a lot of blood. She couldn’t remember if that was normal or not, but sits down and rests with her baby. She feels a little shaky and asks for some food. She wonders if she should call the midwife and finally does, but is not even able to recall why she was worried. Her tongue feels thick and hard to speak. Her husband speaks to the midwife, whom encourages him to call an ambulance. When the ambulance arrives, she has already lost a lot of blood. They did have the correct medications to stop a hemorrhage on board the ambulance and rush her to the hospital, while hydrating her with an I.V. She comes back home, weakened from her severe blood loss, highly anemic and works for months to regain her strength. She struggles with breastfeeding because of the traumatic start and wonders why her body failed her. She would have been more of a woman if she could have done it without anyone, right?

Alice has had her previous babies at home with a midwife. She has had no complications, but resents the amount of payment she has to pay to the midwife. She is well informed, researches everything widely and feels that she is almost as educated as her midwife. She prepares her house for birth, and while, she knows that there can be emergencies, she has not experienced one. She decides that her husband and her will deliver this one and they commence on reading up more on the topic. She asks her husband to read Emergency childbirth and when she goes into labor, all is peaceful and well. The labor is longer than normal, she listens to the heartbeat sometimes with the Doppler she bought off of eBay and thinks everything is fine. “Isn’t this nice?” she comments to her husband. “Just the way God created it to be, with just you and I.” When the pushing stage comes, something feels weird and as the baby is born, they realize that the baby is not in a good position. They try multiple things, attempting to get the baby to come down and out, but she is so tired, she cannot remember what her midwife used to do in that situation. Her husband is starting to worry and talking about the hospital. There is green fluid appearing now, and she remembers that was not a good sign. She talks herself into pushing the baby out and with some mighty pushes; the baby is born. She is limp and unresponsive, and finally with much stimulation, gives some weak cries. Her color is bad, and her husband calls the ambulance. The baby is whisked away, leaving the mother alone at home. She follows shortly in a car, to find out upon examination, she has torn quite badly. “I had no idea! I thought it was supposed to hurt awhile after having a baby.” She exclaims to the doctors. The baby is struggling to breathe and has to spend 2 weeks in the hospital for meconium aspiration and an infection. She is thankful when she gets to take her home, but has to wonder to herself if she had the midwife there, letting her know, maybe they could have prevented this.

As I said previously, these stories are fictitious. They are based on many, many true stories of things that happen in birth, labor and delivery. Home birth is a wonderful thing for a low risk mother. Statistics have not proven it unsafe under the right criteria, but without a trained professional to recognize the signs that something is going downhill and the need for the transfer for care, things can go badly in a matter of minutes. You may choose to have an unassisted birth and it may go swimmingly for you. You may also choose to have a birth assisted by a doctor or midwife and have complications. There are things that happen with both, but while there are not many studies done on the difference between unassisted birth and midwife-assisted homebirth, the informal studies prove that there are more complications with unassisted birth because of not recognizing simple things before they turn into major issues.

When you are deciding your birth strategy, please consider the risks you are taking as well as the overall risk you are taking in endangering the legality of homebirth as well. Licensed midwives fight for your right to give birth where you choose, but that does mean they have protocols to follow to make it as safe as possible. When you operate outside those perimeters, you are adding a risk to your home birth to begin with, adding the lack of a care giver with proper equipment, can lead to an experience that both of you can regret. The statistics are not readily available to us because of the nature of this, often unassisted births are not reported as such, but in informal survey’s the risks of having an attended home birth with trained professionals versus an unattended home birth without extra hands of any kind or even with a person that believes they have knowledge of birth attending are so vastly different they should be in a whole separate category.

Please consider before choosing to have an unassisted birth the repercussions if something does go wrong, and ask yourself if the risk is worth it. Ask yourself why you truly desire this for yourself and if there are other options available, why you shouldn’t use them.

Thursday, December 20, 2012

When your plans go awry...

This birth story shared below...(with the author's permission) is a story that many would wonder why I would want to share it. I share this story because even with the best laid plans, sometimes it can become medically necessary to have interventions. I want to share this story with you to encourage you that you can overcome obstacles and as the author of the story shares, breastfeed twins even after a rough start! Photobucket The Birth story Well, I have finally typed out my birth story! Many of you have requested it, and I too have been anxious to share it. As I have shared before, it will be long and detailed, but I thank you for taking the time to read it. So get some coffee, tea, hot chocolate, or your favorite beverage with a treat or snack of your choice, and enjoy as you read 7 pages that have become one of the chapters of the story of my life.

As most of you know, I had planned out a natural water birth at home. Before I even met my husband, I knew I wanted a homebirth. This was also something we discussed as we got to know each other, and we were both in agreement. So when I got pregnant, it was our goal to go all natural and have our babies in our home with our midwife. The pregnancy was going well, and even after we found out we were having twins, I still planned to have them at home, even though people were trying to convince me otherwise. If no problems presented themselves…this was my dream. I tried SO hard to do everything right during my pregnancy. However, towards the end, things got more and more difficult. My midwife was beginning to get concerned that I was forming symptoms of toxemia. We were all confused though, because I had no swelling and many of the other symptoms were non-existent. As we got to the very last two weeks, my urine tests revealed that there was protein. I continued to try so hard to eat well and consume everything I was supposed to. I was determined to keep my babes healthy and have the natural birth I desired. It began to get beyond my control though, because one of the mornings as I fixed up my routine protein shake and drank it, I felt this sudden urge to throw it back up…and I did. My protein intake each day was to be 150 grams…and that was VERY hard. The next day, my shake again came back up, but that day I formed a headache that would not go away, and my blood pressure was high as well. My mom and my Mother-in-law called my midwife to share their concerns…and it very much concerned her also. They called my husband at work and he literally took the rest of the day off to come and see how I was doing. Evidently I was progressively getting sicker and sicker…and I didn’t know it…or maybe I just refused accept it. I don’t know. My husband was talking with my midwife on the phone, and gave the phone to me. I tried to convince her that I was fine, and that nothing was wrong. I was sure I was going to go into labor any time. Then she told me something that still rings in my ears today, “Rachelle…I want you to go and get blood work done. That will reveal if you have toxemia or not. I know this is not what you wanted, and it’s not what I wanted for you. I know that you’ve tried so hard to do everything correctly, but sometimes God has other plans.” I said, “When do you want me to get my blood work done?” She replied, “Today!” This really scared me, because it was already late afternoon, and I was still pretty sick. She once again told me, “I know that you don’t want to hear that, but we need to think of your babies and their safety…they come first .” My husband had previously called one of my cousins who worked at St. Luke’s Hospital in Sioux City. She was very kind and called up one of her friends that worked there and made arrangements for me to get in right away and get all the blood work done. Her friend even had the day off…and she still came in to help me. Before my midwife got off the phone she told me, “Rachelle, you and your husband need to pray, and then you must do what your husband feels is necessary.” I got off the phone and literally cried. My husband drew me to the couch and with his arms around me, tried to comfort me. I said, “I’ve tried so hard…I’ve made it so far!!! What have I done wrong?! I feel like an utter failure!” I cried and cried. We prayed, and then started packing our bags to head to St. Luke’s Hospital. I had no idea what all would be taking place. I was an emotional wreck…and terrified. It was a rainy day and very gloomy…and that did not help things at all. I mustered up the strength I had left, and packed my bag. I asked my husband, “Do you think we’ll have to stay overnight in the hospital?!” The very thought depressed me. I was hoping for the best, and that nothing was wrong with me after all.

My Mother-in-law and my husband and I packed the van and headed off. Over the radio, the song, “Hold My Heart” by Tenth Avenue North, started to play. Here’s the link if you’re interested:

I listened to it closely as tears rolled down my cheeks. The most meaningful lines to me were the following: (As it was raining) One tear in the dropping rain; One voice in a sea of pain; Could the Maker of the stars; Hear the sound of my breaking heart?

(Just my general feelings at that moment)

I've been so afraid, afraid to close my eyes. So much can slip away before I say goodbye. (More this next part) But if there's no other way, I'm done asking why!

(Another general feeling at that moment) So many questions without answers; Your promises remain. I can't see but I'll take my chances, To hear You call my name.

We arrived at the hospital 1 ½ hours later and we were immediately directed to a room where they had me put on a hospital gown and got me ready for everything else. My blood pressure was taken, and she was quite concerned. I tried to tell her that I had “white coat syndrome”….obviously I really didn’t think anything was wrong with me. She told me that my blood pressure was beyond anything that would be considered the white coat syndrome! They took a sample of my blood and within just minutes it came back and I did indeed have toxemia. The protein in my urine was at 700. My heart dropped….my dreams of a natural birth at home were clashing all around me and I didn’t quite know how to respond or what to think. It really all happened so fast! Soon I was lying on the bed, and they were bringing an ultrasound into the room to make sure that I could deliver vaginally. I was informed by my midwife that Baby A was head down and it would be possible. They got me hooked up to the machine, and within seconds we were seeing our fully developed babies! They said that Baby B had a wonderful heart rate!! However, they said that Baby A’s heart rate could be better. Now as a mother, YOU NEVER want to hear those words! I immediately panicked thinking something was wrong and asking if all was okay. Then they told us that Baby B was only measuring at 33 weeks…and I was currently 37 weeks and 4 days. So I knew that wasn’t good news. They told us that there may be slight complications that would need attention once Baby B was born. I asked if it were a serious thing that we should be worrying about, but they saw no reason to be worried too much. However, then they checked the positions…and Baby A had flipped and become breech. They were BOTH breech, but one was in a transverse position. I cannot begin to even tell you what my heart felt at that moment. I knew that a vaginal birth was not an option at that point. They had discussed inducing me, but the ultrasound revealed that a c-section was all we could do. My husband and I both looked at each other….yet another clash in our dreams and hopes. I felt useless and helpless. I had been so excited for this natural birth that we had spent months planning! All I could do was pray and step out into God’s will. I asked the doctor…”So does this mean that I will have a c-section tomorrow sometime?” She replied, “No….TONIGHT! We have to get those babies out!” What she said next hurt, even though I did understand.” She shared, “I know this will be hard to hear, but right now your body is a deadly and toxic environment for your babies…they need to get out…it’s not safe to carry them any longer.” I could understand her comment, but it still hurt to hear that my body was deadly to their health…it just somehow made me feel even more of a failure even though I know I wasn’t.

They quickly got me ready for the c-section, which involved tons of paperwork, more IV’s, and a heart wrenching goodbye to my family and my husband as I was wheeled out to the operating room. My husband had been dressed and ready to go with me to remain by my side, but the doctor had said, “Daddy, I know you won’t want to hear this, but you can’t come with her right now. We will let you know when you’re allowed in.” We looked at each other…and I saw grief and sorrow written all over my husband’s face. We were still in shock at all that was happening and now he actually had to leave me for several minutes. He held my hand, and as they wheeled me out, his eyes spoke volumes, and he whispered “I love you”, as he held my hand until we parted at the fingertips….and away I went out of sight. I remember always wondering how it felt to be in a bed like that with nurses all around you wheeling you into an operating room for a huge surgery. Being in that position was difficult. I was frightened and it was all a blur. I asked the Lord to be with me and help me through everything I was about to endure. I felt a peace about me as I knew that even though they had prevented any family or my husband from being with me, they could not prevent my Savior from staying with me….what a comfort that was! As I entered the room, I saw all these machines and devices used to perform the surgery. There were about 3-4 doctors, and about the same number of nurses. They quickly shifted me from the hospital bed onto the operating table, and then a woman apologized as they told me they’d have to expose me naked waist down for a while. I really hated that, but then again, I really didn’t care at that time, because like I said, it was all a blur and everything happened so fast that I was still trying to figure it all out. One thing I recall is a doctor who was very friendly as he inserted the spinal and then told me that I would begin to feel nauseated. That was one of the worst parts of the surgery for me. I couldn’t feel anything from my belly and down. So when I felt this nausea hit, I couldn’t feel my insides turning….and therefore I couldn’t breathe. It’s hard to explain, but those who have experienced c-sections may know what I mean. I felt like I would vomit my insides out and yet nothing would come up…possibly because I had almost nothing in my body to vomit up. I remember asking the Lord how I could survive this…I could not breathe and every time my body tried to bring up something, it hurt so bad! The doctor told me that he was inserting a medicine that should help….and boy when it did, it felt SO good!!! I was so relieved that I exclaimed, “That medicine is AWESOME!!!!!” That sent the whole room of doctors and nurses into laughter! :D

At this point they let my husband in, and he told me he felt so broken. He saw me lying there just limp…after this whole nausea ordeal I was exhausted. He rubbed my arm, and my face several times telling me he loved me and that I was doing so well. Meanwhile, he was getting his camera ready to record the birth of our babies. Evidently I wasn’t aware that they had started the surgery, because I thought they were still cleaning my skin in preparation. Not so…I asked if they were cleaning me, and they replied, “Oh honey, we are WAY past that part! We’ve already cut into you and we’re about to pull your babies out!” They said, “Ah!!! Here comes the boy!!” I heard my husband say, “Oh I see his butt!!!” Then a minute later, I hear this high pitched tiny scream and cry! My eyes instantly filled with tears as I heard the cries. The doctor said, “Oh, she’s beautiful!!! She is gorgeous!!!” My husband then suddenly got up and rushed over to one of the little baby tables. I found out later, that the cry I heard was our little girl being born!! Our son was born and didn’t cry, so he was quickly rushed to a table as they sucked fluid out of his lungs and nostrils. Then he too let out a big cry! It was rather humorous, because as they heard our little girl cry, they realized that she had a good set of lungs that wouldn’t have been developed if she had only been 33 weeks gestation. They did an assessment on her and found out that she was indeed a full term baby, but so small! That was one thing that shocked my husband. He saw our son being taken out and then as they pulled out or daughter, his mouth dropped open at the size difference. She was preemie size, but she was very healthy and had a better apgar than he did!! They both urinated at the same time…she urinated on herself right after they cleaned her and shortly after, he shot in her direction as well, haha! We got it on camera!

One of the hardest things for me was the fact that I couldn’t hold them right away! I had imagined them coming right out at a home birth and being placed on my chest to bond immediately…I felt cheated of that experience. They brought the babies to me for a quick glance, and then they were taken away…my husband following the nurses as they took the babies after asking if he would be allowed to come back in. I had another one of my nausea fits as they tugged and pulled while stitching me back up. When my husband came back, he wasn’t allowed to come back in as he was told. So he waited until they let him, and he told me later that the sight of me lying there broke his heart and he literally had to touch me to make sure I was still alive. Soon after, I began to shake so uncontrollably that my husband panicked and asked for warm blankets to put on me. I was a miserable sight…my temperature had dropped due to the collapse of hormones, and caused such shaking that I’ve never had before…I looked like I was having a seizure. My poor husband watched in horror as he saw me and knew he could do nothing. He just constantly held my hand when he was able and stayed by my side, never leaving again. I was in the recovery room for 2 hours…2 HOURS before I got to hold my babies. By the time I was wheeled back into my room, I was SO thirsty…but I was not allowed to drink water for several more hours. They gave me ice chips to chew on to help quench my thirst. My lips were dry and I felt so dehydrated.

Photobucket As they brought my babies to me, I melted upon seeing them, but it was so hard, because they wouldn’t latch on. I believe that was in part, due to the fact that I was separated for so long. They hadn’t gotten to know me right away. The next several days were a challenge as I felt I was crashing down into post partum depression from the sleepless nights, the constant wakings for my blood pressure, and the constant separation from my babies as they took them away to perform assessments and different tests. I believe part of it was also the fact that I was not allowed to take my thyroid supplements. I’ve had a low thyroid, which caused my previous 2 miscarriages, and when I started my supplements, I got pregnant right away and maintained it. However, the doctors were very skeptical, and wouldn’t allow me to take them in the hospital…so with my hormones all out of whack it made it all worse. We were finally moved into postpartum after a day or two, where they finally allowed me to take my supplements under supervision after having them tested at a drugstore to make sure they weren’t fake. Yet being in the postpartum area would prove to be even worse than in my original room. I had to learn to walk in my pain, to sleep on a hospital bed that my husband had to share with me, because they had no extra bed for us, and the 1-2 hours that they would take both our little ones away….literally 1-2 hours for each baby. Then they would always ask how often they were nursing and for how long. That was so hard, because I had two to learn with and neither of them knew how to latch. So they weren’t nursing well and wanted to sleep more…or would cry because they couldn’t get anything. I can hardly explain how I felt. Our daughter was 4 lbs. 7 oz. at birth and by the time she left the hospital she was at 4 lbs. My husband loved holding her and hearing her sweet cry. He would pick her up and say, “Hi little Princess!! Daddy loves you SO much!!! You’re my little girl!” She was so tiny and beautiful. She quickly became a favorite with the nurses and gained the nickname of “Little Peanut”. Photobucket The doctor who performed the c-section told me “She is one of the most beautiful babies I have ever seen….and I have seen and delivered a LOT of babies! She was so cute!!!” All of this suddenly put pressure upon me, because as she lost weight being already so tiny, I grew terrified that we would lose her. I could not sleep, I could hardly function, and I felt it was my fault. I tried so hard not to cry, but to no avail. My mother and my husband tried to comfort me as tears streamed down my cheeks. One of the mornings at 3:00-4:00 AM, I tried to wake her up to feed her in my terrified state. I told her, “Daddy and I love you so much!! We cannot lose you, you have to eat!!! Please eat!” My eyes filled with tears…however, she was too sleepy, and refused to wake up…I tried and tried to feed her and get her to latch, but she would only fall asleep. As I just held her and feared the possibility of losing our little angel baby, I looked off into the dark room and felt so helpless and depressed that I couldn’t even cry. My mind kept going back to my desire of a home birth and how different things could have been. Every single thing that had just happened within the last 24 hours was everything that we tried to avoid and everything that we DIDN’T want to happen! It all happened so fast and I was still struggling to face reality. I wanted to go home. My husband would help me get up to walk to the bathroom…oh the feeling of learning to walk again! We entered the bathroom, and my husband was really grossed out by all the blood that I was still expelling. It was hard for us both, because I was not used to seeing the blood after 8 ½ months of pregnancy. My husband was so kind and faithful though and helped me through it all. He would support me as I tried to sit on the toilet. I couldn’t use my stomach muscles to do it on my own, and therefore I needed help.

Our son lost weight also, and he formed jaundice. This then presented me with another fear of losing him when we were home, because now he would scream and cry when placed to the breast. I guess he was sick enough that he was too tired to eat…he didn’t have an appetite. I would pump milk and we syringe fed him for 2 days, because I refused to feed him formula. I was determined to only breastfeed, and so we used the syringe until he seemed hungry enough for us to give him another try at my breast. He did finally latch on and for that we rejoiced. It’s so hard to describe the hurt and the fear in a parent’s heart when they feel that their child is not thriving…even if they are okay. Since I had been drugged up and was still healing, it was harder to keep 2 babies alive when neither of them could latch on to eat. I felt like an utter failure, and a mother that could not take care of my babies. I wanted to wake up from this terrible dream and have my home birth. Yet I knew it was all too real.

We were finally released from the hospital even though they weren’t quite satisfied with my blood pressure. So they gave me blood pressure medicine to take. We got home, and it was wonderful, but it also had its sorrows. They still didn’t know how to nurse, and it took a good week or 2 before they were well on their way to perfecting it! It was also so hard with my incision to scoot up in bed every hour to nurse. With 2 babies, I hardly got an hour of sleep, and I felt as if my body would never heal. The first 2 weeks, I didn’t even have an appetite to eat anything and had to force it down. It’s amazing how the hospital and even home has their own challenges. I had to stay on one level in our home for 6 weeks without going up and down stairs. The bed that we used was a hide-a-bed and very much uncomfortable. I was also so afraid of using the bathroom…I didn’t want to see the blood. I didn’t want to see my incision, because I was afraid of it all and it was a reminder of the dream I had lost. Yet, I felt guilty, because it was all worth it for my babies, and I knew it was the best decision for their health and safety. I didn’t want to feel selfish and hurt. I guess to better explain, I felt because I had to have a c-section, that I was less of a woman. I was created to go through labor and vaginally deliver my children! I wasn’t supposed to have to be cut open for them to be born!! I know that my feelings are “wrong” or that I shouldn’t feel that way, because I know it had to be done for them….but the feeling is hard to describe. I still feel like I’m less of a woman. I’m so excited to actually experience labor…I know it will be hard, painful, and all of the above, but I already know that my experience in the hospital and my recovery was far too traumatic for me to desire anything else! It has taken so long for me to heal and for the pain to go away. I had to be helped to sit up in bed and to lie back down. I had to have help getting up to go the bathroom. It was so hard to be so reliant upon everyone else! I couldn’t do anything. I would shed tears as I tried to sit or stand as the pain shot through my body.

I don’t want to sound depressing or selfish at all. I’m trying to share my feelings and how things really were. My husband and I both agreed that it was the worst and best day of our lives….we gained so much, but in gaining those blessings, we also suffered a great deal. It was a nightmare that hurts to remember, but my babies are so worth everything. It reminds me of Christ and His death on the cross….He suffered so much, but I know He did it for us and it was completely worth it to Him. It was hard, but worth it. We feel the same way. I will admit, though, that I am so excited to experience our next birth in the future. I am determined to have a homebirth.

After this long story, I am pleased to say that Isaiah and Lilia are now pros at nursing! They are growing very well. Isaiah is now 12 lbs or more and Lilia is about 10 or more lbs. They are very healthy, and Isaiah is over his jaundice also. I no longer have the worries I did. The challenge now is to still find time to sleep and eat, haha! I am so blessed to have the children I do! Isaiah is our very social one. He can lie down by himself and look around for 30 minutes without crying and interacts constantly with smiles and is learning to attempt to laugh. Lilia is becoming more social and is talking and she must be held. She can’t lay for long by herself without crying soon to be in a pair of arms. Isaiah likes to be held, but isn’t all touchy…you can’t stroke his head much. Lilia loves to be touched and loved on. Isaiah doesn’t currently like to be swaddled and held tightly, Lilia thrives when she is swaddled. They are twins, but VERY different in personality and looks. Isaiah has brown hair and his eyes are already changing…they are a dark grey right now, but we believe they will be brown. Lilia is a dirty blonde with ocean blue eyes. We think her eyes will stay blue…but I guess only time can tell. J Isaiah also only likes one type of pacifier…while Lilia likes any type and will take any given to her. Isaiah is high maintenance and can hardly stand even a small dirty diaper…if he is slightly wet, he cries until he is changed. Lilia will begin squirming when she is full or has had a royal blowout where it’s all up her back and exploding out the sides! Hahaha! Oh the joys of motherhood and getting to know your babies and their characters! It is such fun, and all the trials a mother will go through are always worth it to see her child/children grow into their names and become their own individual.

So my story has been long and emotional. It has been joyful, sad, and life changing all at once. Even though it was a rough road, we have two blessings that are irreplaceable and I could not be happier. We cannot imagine our lives without our children. They are our joy and a great reminder of our love. For all you ladies that are first-time pregnant mommies, you will soon experience something that will change your life forever. One thing I want to remind you of, is that even if you are planning your birth or praying for things to go a certain way, sometimes they go very differently….don’t think you’re a failure if that happens. If God has decided to do things another way, it is because He has something incredible in store for you. A hard trial might prove to be a testimony that helps and encourages others. I’m praying this is the case with me. As you have read my story, I pray it helps prepare you for something that is super hard to prepare for, and yet totally worth it no matter what happens. Photobucket Being a mommy is a joy, and I can’t wait to share in your joy (soon for you mothers that are pregnant and hopefully soon for those of you that are still waiting…keep waiting…God hears your prayers) as you also enter this new world called motherhood!

Tuesday, December 18, 2012

I can't afford a doula....and the reasons why you can really not afford to not have a doula..

“I would love to have a doula, but I can’t afford it.”

I would love to convince you that especially if you are giving birth to your first baby, you cannot afford to not have a doula. Yes, even with a doula, you may not have the birth of your dreams, but studies have proven that not only can having a trained doula at your birth help you have a more positive experience, but it also can increase your chances of having a natural birth. (Doula statistics - Reasons people don’t want a doula or think they do not want a doula: 1) “My husband would feel replaced. I want him to be a big part of my birth experience and I am afraid if I had someone else there, he would just feel like I didn’t want him.” Answer: This is a common concern. However, men are not made to be caregivers, they strive to be, but need a little help often. There are some husbands that are the world’s best coaches. Often though, they got that way because they had some guidance along the way. A good doula is there for the husband as much as for the mother. She can guide the father through what to do to feel a part of the childbirth experience. Not only will he feel empowered at the end of the experience, his wife will also feel supported by him. In doula supported births it is not as common to see the cliché anger towards the spouse that you see in the movies. 2)“I would love a doula, but I can’t afford it.” Answer: This is a very common concern and it can be a valid one. But most of the time, there are ways around this. Do you really want a doula? Have you approached local doulas and offered alternative methods of payment? Most doulas offer discounted rates for financial difficulty, trades for payment or payment plans. The going rate for a doula widely varies across the nation, but in our area it is under $500. If you truly want a doula, need a doula; almost always there are ways to get one. A couple of things to try:

A) Call doula organizations. Ask them for names of doulas in training and ask them if they would serve for a reduced fee. Don’t take the first one you call, interview your doulas and see if they are a good fit for you. DONA- ALACE- If they are young and have not had any birth experience, this is their first birth; this may not be a good fit for you. But there are many doulas in training that have a vast range of birth experience and are willing to do the work for you at a reduced rate. I don’t recommend not paying your doula at all. I find that often results in subpar care and you don’t get the full benefit of having a doula. You pay for what you get, basically.

B) Call local homebirth midwives and see if they have any apprentices or midwives in training that would be willing to act as a doula for the training experience and observation of a birth.

C) Check local support groups to see if there are women that are experienced in birth, but not certified as a doula. Interview them on their experience as well. The basic answer to the “I can’t afford a doula!” that I would love to give, is that you cannot afford to not have a doula, especially if you are planning a hospital birth with your first baby, unless…you are not planning on breastfeeding, you could care less about a natural delivery and post-partum depression isn’t something you are concerned about.

3) “I would like to have pain relief during labor. Why would I want a doula?”

Answer: Pain relief is a common choice for women now. It is more common to have pain relief in labor than it is to go completely natural. Yes, a doula can help educate you on the different methods of pain relief. This can help you decide what method you find is safest for you and your baby. Since pain relief that are most commonly used raise the risk of surgical intervention, she can also be supportive to help you avoid that intervention, by helping you through the labor pains for as long as possible before getting pain relief. She can utilize methods such as position changes, even with pain relief to help for optimal fetal positioning in labor, which can help with the descent of the baby. If you desire it, she can help you with pushing in a way to avoid tearing, which is more common with pain relief as well.

I hope this has been informative! Doulas are out there to support women, men, families through the pregnancy, labor and post-partum experience. They train to be able to help you in the personal way you need and desire to get through it. They can personalize their care to you, and will generally set aside their own ideals to make it the best experience possible for you. In light of all they can do for you, I would say that you cannot afford to go without a doula when giving birth.