Yes, birth can look like this.

I shared the photo mentioned in the opening paragraph on the Olive Branch Birth and Family Wellness Facebook page. Diana Peterson, the doula who attended this birth, explains the enormous reaction this birth photo caused on Facebook and why its possible for birth to look like this.

Babymoon Inn

Thank you to this couple for allowing us to share the beautiful, inspiring, empowering moment in which they became a family of three.

Recently, Babymoon Inn posted a photo on our Facebook page of a strong, capable, confident mother standing in one of our birthing rooms, catching her baby, soon to lift him to her chest and welcome him to the world. Not visible in the picture was the doula, who snapped the picture, or the midwife, standing directly behind the mother with her hands just below the baby.

Within 24 hours of posting the picture, it had received 23,000 views and 750 likes and had been shared nearly 50 times. To our total surprise, we also received several comments questioning the authenticity of the photo. A few comments were ignorant or rude, calling us “liars” and telling us to stop posting our “phony” photos. But the others were respectful…

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A home office, a baby, a life

I can relate to this blogger in a couple of ways. I have a new fun and funky home office that makes me very happy. I started a private practice and I feel like I’m finally a grown up. The sunshine streaming onto the red Persian rug and the IKEA filing cabinet give me a deep feeling of contentment, as do the women and babies who visit me in this sacred space.

write meg!

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Who knew a room could launch you into adulthood?

I spend a strange amount of time not feeling “old enough.” Not old enough to have a house, a car, credit cards, a checkbook. Not being old enough to have a husband and a baby on the way; not old enough to argue with cable companies and insurance representatives, to be grocery shopping independently and gathering tax documents.

Though I don’t obsess about it, I often feel like I’m glancing over my shoulder — waiting for someone else to swoop in and take care of things. Fix the insurance snafus; adjust the thermostat. Be the adult in the room.

It’s scary to realize you’re the adult present. The one throwing the party, taking the phone calls, signing up for health care. It’s all you.

We have a home office. One with built-in cabinetry, outlets for computers, actual computers, a mug with…

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On the penalties you pay for believing in women

Who will read this?

dralisonbarrett

Onthe first day of my first obstetrics rotation as a medical student, Igot to attend a birth. I was assigned to shadow one of the staff obstetricians. We waltzed in unannounced to the room of alabouringwoman, who was pushing, feebly, ineffectively, with her feet in stirrups, legs encased in drapes.The doctorturned to me and rolling his eyes said, “At this rate, we could be here all day. Nurse, get me a pair of forceps.” And then, forwhat seemed to beno reason at all, other than impatience, he pulled the baby out. It was awful and I remember feeling terrible for everyone….the mother and her baby, the nurse who had to “obey” and for myself for having to bear witness to this thing.

What did I do with those feelings? Did I report this behaviour to the proper authorities? No, I certainly did not. It was clear to me that this…

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Should pregnant women be concerned about enterovirus D68?

News about Enterovirus D68 is spreading like the virus – quickly and with increasing coverage. And all this talk of children being hospitalized for respiratory illness is scaring people. Moms are calling me because they’re concerned and are wondering how this affects them. They want to know the best way to protect themselves and their children from this once rare virus that is on the upswing.

To find out more about how this virus affects pregnant women I asked Dr. Michella Switzer, OBGYN with MomDoc Midwives what concerns she has for her patients during this outbreak. Her main concern is for women who already have respiratory illness who may come in contact with the virus.

Dr. Switzer is encouraging pregnant women who suffer with asthma not to ignore worsening asthma symptoms but to see their midwife or doctor if they are exposed to the virus.

“If you have asthma and you come down with the enterovirus you need to come in right away and get your asthma under control,” Dr. Switzer says.

Children and adults with chronic respiratory conditions are at greater risk for more severe symptoms and hospitalization due to Enterovirus D68, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. 

The virus is spread through respiratory secretions and travels from person to person when an infected person coughs, sneezes or touches contaminated surfaces.

Keep in mind that enterovirus D68 is a rare strain of a common summer illness that is usually mild in nature. If you’ve had a summer cold there’s a good chance that it was caused by an enterovirus. Most pregnant women are likely to be exposed to the illness but won’t contract the disease if they are already immune. Women who have previously had the virus will be immune to it.

So what if a woman has never had enterovirus D68 and is exposed during pregnancy. What then?

If women do become infected they typically do not get sick or only have mild symptoms such as runny nose, cough or sneezing, and can have fever and body and muscle aches. This particular strain occurs less commonly and has been reported to cause mild to severe respiratory illness, especially in children.

The good news is that there is no evidence that pregnant women who are infected with enterovirus are at greater risk for miscarriage, stillbirth, or birth defects.

If a woman is infected shortly before she gives birth she can pass the virus to her baby. However, newborns usually have mild illness, and only rarely is severe illness seen in these babies. Breastfeeding has been shown to reduce infection with enterovirus in infants mostly through maternal antibodies found in breast milk.

To protect yourself from the spread of enterovirus:

  • Wash your hands frequently for at least 20 seconds, especially after changing diapers.
  • Avoid touching your eyes, nose, or mouth without washing your hands.
  • Avoid hugging and kissing others who have symptoms or who are sick.
  • Don’t share drinks, utensils, or food with people who are ill.
  • Regularly disinfect toys, doorknobs, and all frequently touched surfaces, especially if someone in the household is ill.

To boost your immune system try these healthy living tips:

  • Increase nutrition including lots of fruits and vegetables
  • Get enough sleep
  • Don’t smoke
  • Exercise most days

 

 

 

 

Labor Day: Improving Birth

Warning: This post has graphic imagery and content

Today is Labor Day. It’s a day chosen by birth activists to rally to Improve Birth in dozens of states. Although it’s a national movement there is a rally here in Tempe that anyone can join in.

The rally’s theme is Break the Silence which is an effort to bring awareness to abuse and trauma in childbirth.

This video posted on Facebook this week is a graphic example of how easy it is for those in positions of power to abuse women in their most vulnerable moments.

I didn’t share this video because I hate doctors, or because I hate men. It’s not because I hate seeing women in the high stirrups, or because I hate episiotomies. I shared this video because I hate that women are being abused while giving birth.

It is important that everyone see what happens in the labor room. I shared it because it makes it clear that women should be listened to and respected.

This woman was clearly refusing a medical procedure, one that is no longer routinely used and that the evidence does not routinely recommend. She made a choice that she wanted to try to birth without an episiotomy even if she tears. Her choice didn’t matter.

Three people in the room who should’ve been advocating for her failed her: her nurse, her doctor, and her mother. Instead they all ganged up on her, as if she wasn’t helpless enough lying on her back with her legs up in the air and her butt exposed to the world. 

This video made me feel sick and sad. It reminded me why I became a midwife – to help women have satisfying birthing experiences and to prevent the abuse and mistreatment in others that I experienced as a pregnant woman.

The video of a woman having her perineum cut 12 times is extreme but every day women giving birth have their choices taken away from them in small ways that leave them damaged. Even being treated with a lack of compassion or respect when a woman needs it and deserves it the most is traumatizing.

Women in labor are being bullied on a regular basis and not because doctors, midwives and nurses are mean, bad people. It has more to do with a labor and delivery culture that has developed around the paternalistic notion that providers know what is best and a woman who has her own thoughts about what she wants is out of line.

This Labor Day event is a chance to increase awareness of the problem of abuse in childbirth. If you would like to join this event it is being held at Tempe Town Lake Park from 9 – 12. Directions and parking instructions are on their Facebook page.

 

 

Hey San Tan Valley, New Midwife Over Here

After decades of channeling Betty Crocker and Molly Mormon I went back to college and fulfilled a lifelong dream of being a midwife.

I’m pretty new to the San Tan Valley; I moved here to work as a certified nurse-midwife this past June. I have a great job providing prenatal care and women’s health in a clinic and helping mom’s give birth in the hospital. I still love to cook and decorate the house, I just don’t have as much time for it.

Outside of work I love being with my family (and a bunch of other stuff that I will talk about in future posts). I have four boys and four girls (yeah, I love babies). Most are grown up now and I am very proud of all of them and their families. I love to brag about my six grand kids and I tell everyone who will listen that I have two daughter-in-laws who have babies due within a couple of days of each other this fall. MIDWIFE HEAVEN!

Why I Became a Midwife
I became a midwife because I want to be with women when they become mothers. I gave birth eight times and had eight really different experiences. Giving birth helped me figure out that there are some things I do not want other women to have to go through if they can be avoided. I believe women should be listened to. I want all women to be treated with dignity and respect. I want women to have informed birth choices and options about birth providers.

I left a pretty sweet set up when I left Utah to move to Queen Creek, including living in an old stone church, a super awesome 90 year old neighbor lady (we did our best to solve the world’s problems during our weekly visits), and these guys, these guys, and her. God must really want me here to take me away from all of that.

Why I Am Loving It Here
I am thrilled to be here meeting the moms and babies of San Tan Valley. The weather here is unbeatable (I’m always cold so this is working out perfectly!). I’m working with some rock star midwives. The new neighbors were at our door within five minutes of our U-Haul pulling into the driveway and soon a crowd had us all unloaded. That kind of welcome gives me the feeling this is going to be a fantastic place to live.