"Parents are like shuttles on a loom. They join the threads of the past with threads of the future and leave their own bright patterns as they go."
-Fred Rogers

Thursday, March 25, 2010

Supporting a Grieving Family

Having experienced early pregnancy loss and the stillbirth of a child, I can tell you that grieving the loss of a child is a painful and confusing process. Our society has made death, especially of a baby or child, a taboo subject. Families who lose a baby often find that those around them urge them to "just pick up and move on". Well meaning family and friends often share comments such as, "Well, it was for the best.", or "It was God's will.". These remarks often anger grieving parents and leave them feeling isolated and alone in their sorrow. Sharon Gourlay, a HypnoBirthing Childbirth Educator, wrote a profoundly important article on how birth professionals (doulas, midwives, etc.) can support grieving families. I think everyone should read this article, because the advice given is helpful even for those not in the birthing profession. At some point in our lives we will all know at least one person who has had a miscarriage or a stillborn baby. I hope Sharon's article will help you find the strength and knowledge you need to truly support the grieving mom and her family.

Supporting a Grieving Family
By Sharon Gourlay BA, C.Ht, HBCE, HBIMI, RMT
© March 25, 2010

Love one another and help others to rise to the higher levels, simply by pouring out love. Love is infectious and the greatest healing energy.--Sai Baba

As a birth professional one of the hardest tasks you may face is how to support a family who has lost a child through miscarriage, stillbirth, or neonatal loss. Through my own personal loss and then working with families that have experienced this tragedy I have learned that the below three principals are critical:

1. Listen – "A wise old owl sat on an oak; The more he saw the less he spoke; The less he spoke the more he heard; Why aren't we like that wise old bird?" Don't try to find the perfect words. There are none. Listening from a loving and centered heart is what a grieving family needs.

2. Be there - When I say "be there" I mean help the family out if possible. No one wants to cook or eat during this time. Take a prepared meal to them. Offer to take the couple's children for an afternoon so they can connect. If you know the family's religious preference, bring them a candle, an icon, or some other spiritual gift. Help clean out the baby stuff. Offer to help clean the house. These little things can be of tremendous help to the family.

3. Compassion - The mother especially will need a safe space to express her grief (pain, anger, sorrow, sadness). What is a safe space? It's different for each person however I believe the following will uphold most people's desire for a safe space:
a. Create a space that is non-judgmental. Healing and releasing grief can be the work of extremes. For a mother to feel safe she needs to know she won't be judged if she is going through denial or anger and can say what needs to come out of her heart.
b. Being able to support in a whole way a mother that is"broken" (physically, emotionally, and spiritually).
c. Being able to express fears, anxiety, stress and know it will go no further than the safe harbor of your arms.
d. Being able to say nothing. Silence is golden when trying to grieve.
e. If you can hold this space for her please do. Not having a safe space causes us to go inward and retreat which makes the grieving process more physically, emotionally, and spiritually demanding.

One of the things most professionals are afraid of is words! What words can I use to help support this family? What if I say the wrong thing? To that I always say speak from your heart. When we use heart centered consciousness we spread love and that is actually thoughtful speech. We think before we speak and that is good.

Some things that I caution professionals never to say:
• It was God's will.
• You can have another baby.
• It was for the best.
• I know how you feel. (Unless you have personally experienced theloss of a baby.)
• Your baby is in a better place.
• Time heals all wounds.
• At least you have other children.
• It's been __ amount of time….get over it! It is time toget on with your life.
• You now have an angel in heaven.

There are many other things you can say or do that will help:
• What can I do to help you today? Asking to help can be incredibly beneficial. It allows the mother to decide that day on what level she needs help.
• Can I help you with contacting friends and family?
• Offer to help the mother with insurance paperwork etc.
• Offer to take the children for an afternoon at the park, zoo, or whatever might be comfortable for the family.
• I am running errands, is there something I can do for you?
• Prepare some extra meals for the family to put in the freezer.
• Bring the family a pizza or some other meal on a hard day.
• Use the baby's name when talking to the parents.
• Find local and online support group and give them to the family to use or not use.
• Remember birth dates, due dates, and angel dates.
• Participate on October 15th – Pregnancy and Baby Loss Remembrance Day
• Light a candle in memory of the baby and family.
• Give the family a candle they can light or seeds that they can plant in memory of their baby.
• Give the mother a remembrance book so she can write down important facts and events around her pregnancy/birth experience.
• Give the mother a journal so she can express herself in words or a scrapbook in pictures.

Birth Professionals need to remember to be gentle with themselves when supporting a family in this way. You can become emotionally attached and may need to work through feelings yourself. Take time to reenergize and connect with your family. Meditation and prayer support may be important for you to remain connected to your source. To support another being you need to feel connected yourself. You may need space when doing this type of work. Make sure that the grieving family has an alternate support system besides you. Asking for help within the birthing community by other doulas, childbirth educators, and midwives sometimes is necessary to ensure the family is supported those critical first three months after the loss (especially if you are working with other pregnant and birthing mothers). Remember, "Death leaves a heartache no one can heal, love leaves a memory no one can steal". The love that you show the grieving mother and family can't remove their heartache but it can help them on their healing journey to see they are supported and love.

Love is, Love endures, Love is the answer.

Monday, March 22, 2010

Improving the Maternal Mortality Rate in the U.S.

How Every Mother Can Improve the U.S. Maternal Mortality Rate
Christine Sheets-Nutile

In January of this year, the Joint Commission issued an alert1 to U.S. hospitals which stated, “trends and evidence suggest that maternal mortality rates may be increasing in the U.S.” The national rate is currently three to five times GREATER than that of European countries.2 Unbelievably, a woman giving birth in the U.S. today has a greater risk of dying than a woman birthing in 40 other countries.2

The Commission (which is the leading health care accreditation and standards group in the United States) went on to state that between 28-50% of maternal deaths were PREVENTABLE. In fact, half of the most common errors were related to post-operative care following caesarean sections.1

Recent reports also show that, in the U.S.,3 rates of both labor induction and c-section are TWICE the World Health Organization’s recommendations.2 As we are seeing, these medical interventions (while common) are not without risk.

Labor induction typically involves the use of synthetic oxytocin. This artificial substitute interferes with a woman’s own oxytocin receptors and can lead to postpartum hemorrhaging, delayed or inhibited bonding with her newborn and difficulty establishing breastfeeding.4 A medically induced labor also significantly increases a woman's chances of having an unplanned c-section.5

The risk of a mother’s death after a c-section is more than three times greater than a mother who gave birth vaginally.6 Over a 10 year period, California had a 50% increase in c-sections AND a 50% increase in maternal mortality.7

A Climate of CoercionThe current mainstream birth culture in the U.S. is simply appalling. Pregnancy and birth are treated as a disease and acute trauma-waiting-to-happen. Many women are not given complete information about the birth process. More and more cases are being reported of maternity patients being coerced into submission; their basic human rights are ignored or even revoked through the courts.

Serious medical interventions are presented as a matter of course and focus exclusively on the expected benefits. Risks and adverse effects are usually not even acknowledged! The provider states whatever he or she believes will result in the mother's compliance with the provider’s desired course of action.8

According to “Evidence-Based Maternity Care” (Sakala and Corry), a truly informed choice “requires access to a range of options, good understanding of best evidence about benefits and harms of offered care and of alternatives and solid support for the choices women make.” This rarely occurs among U.S. maternity patients. 4

In a 2009 interview, Dr. Debra Bingham, Executive Director for the California Maternal Quality Care Collaborative and a member of a Maternal Mortality Review Committee, told Amnesty International that the process of gaining an obstetric patient’s consent is highly variable and can depend on who provides information, what information is shared, and how that information is presented to a pregnant woman. “For example, someone who will benefit financially from the woman’s decision may provide information differently than someone who is not financially affected by her decision. Currently, there is limited documentation on what information is shared, how and by whom.”9

Astonishingly, this behavior is not limited to maternal care providers for disadvantaged, low-income or uneducated women. Time and time again, I’ve seen high-powered, confident, educated women become completely submissive. They forgo asking questions and just trust their doctors to make decisions for them, and then accept whatever course of treatment may result.

The Alternative Birth Movement (or What’s “Normal” for the Rest of the World)83% of women in the U.S. have low-risk pregnancies.10 In most countries, these low-risk women would receive their maternal care from midwives or family practice physicians and often give birth at home. Outside of the U.S., the goal is to minimize risks and maximize good outcomes for mothers and babies, rather than maximize income for a provider and facility. So most obstetricians limit their practice to treating women with high-risk pregnancies and those who develop unexpected complications.11 Ironically, many OB’s in the U.S. no longer have the aptitude or knowledge possessed by their predecessors for such uncommon procedures as: external version to manually turn a baby, vaginal breech birth or vaginal birth of twins.4

It’s interesting to note that groups of maternal care providers identify their roles very differently. OB’s feel it is their responsibility to actively manage childbirth. Midwives and other physicians perceive their function to be facilitators in the birthing process.12 This fundamental distinction is evidenced in the care and treatment of their patients: 4 Midwives possess more hands-on skills and are better able to support a woman in labor and assist her during birth than OB’s; midwives use medical intervention more judiciously than OB’s; and midwives understand that a woman’s individual mind-set, desires and personal history play an important part in her birth, while OB’s deny these influences. 12

In low risk situations, intervention can, in fact, actually impede the birthing process and create those life or death situations that doctors claim to be trying to avoid. Despite their lengthy and expensive educations, far too many U.S. care providers have little or NO experience in observing a normal, natural birth. Therefore, they have no idea what a normal birth looks like, much less what a woman in that situation may need.

Not surprisingly, across the nation, low-risk women and their babies have better outcomes when attended by a midwife, rather than an OB.4, 8

Loss of Faith, Rise of FearIn contrast to the rest of the world, almost all pregnant women in the U.S. choose to receive their care from an OB and give birth in a hospital. When it's truly needed, medical intervention can, of course, mean the difference between life and death.

But women’s bodies are designed to give birth -- without any interference! It’s only been in the past 100 years13, that birth was appropriated from women and transformed into a paternalistic, medical, mechanized event.14 As such, women lost the knowledge that comes from witnessing and assisting their mothers and sisters give birth. And women lost faith in their bodies’ innate abilities.

Today’s mother-to-be has probably heard more birth-related horror stories than she can count. From the time she was a young girl, she may have heard her mother, her aunts, and even her friends discuss childbirth as a painful, frightening injury. Unfortunately, these misconceptions are perpetuated and reinforced through popular culture of television and movies. In reality, a normal birth wouldn’t bring in big ratings or box-office dollars.

Follow the Money
The U.S. spends more on health care than any other country.15 And more money is spent on maternal health than ANY other form of hospital care.8 Unfortunately, the majority of OB policies, routine procedures and official recommendations are woefully out of date in regards to evidence-based care.4

Outside of the U.S., hospitals typically have a variety of low-tech equipment to aid a woman giving birth – tubs, birthing balls, robes, birthing stools, squatting bars, etc. Any of these can help make birth safer and more comfortable. Unfortunately, very few U.S. hospitals can offer anything besides pharmaceuticals. For the hospital administrator, a birth free of medical interventions is a lost billing opportunity.11

The vast majority of births do NOT require any intervention; but 50-80% of births in U.S. hospitals have AT LEAST one. In reality, any one of these procedures is truly medically necessary in fewer than 20% of all births.8 Ergo between 30-60% of women giving birth in U.S. hospitals are having unnecessary medical procedures performed upon them! But, necessary or not, all of these medical procedures and interventions allow physicians to maximize their billing opportunities.11

In some parts of the country, it’s extremely difficult to find a provider willing to intervene ONLY when truly medically necessary -- especially if the woman has had a previous c-section. Fewer and fewer facilities are willing to accept VBAC (Vaginal Birth After Cesarean) patients.

After years of increased c-sections, most hospitals have reconfigured their maternity units to accommodate more surgical deliveries: more services scheduled during weekday hours, and more post partum beds – needed for the longer stays required after c-sections. These changes required costly capital investments. Now administrators need to see a return on those investments. So it’s not surprising that hospital policies reflect the facility’s increased dependence on the revenue generated by c-sections. After all, a c-section brings in TWICE the revenue of a vaginal birth.4 A surgical birth is also easier on the doctor. It takes less time and is much more predictable than a normal labor and delivery.

For years, the medical establishment has been working to limit birthing options. They've fought against birthing centers, homebirth, midwives, even against their own accountability.
Many believe that they’re more interested in protecting their revenues than improving outcomes for our mothers and babies.11

Rather than abolishing choices, vilifying alternatives and criminalizing their competition, I'd prefer to see them working for other, more worthy goals – such as educating their patients, encouraging normal/natural births and working with facilities to update protocols to reflect evidence-based medicine, all of which will ultimately reduce maternal mortality.

Until then, it’s up to us to change the birth culture!

Improve Your Own Chances of Survival
If you are pregnant or planning to become pregnant:

Examine your pre-conceived ideas on birth. How were these formed? From stories of women of previous generations? From fictional or sensationalized movies and tv shows? YouTube is awash with amazing, joyous videos of women experiencing normal, natural births. Use these to visualize the kind of birth YOU want.

Take responsibility for your own education on birth! While pregnant, you have months to prepare and can seek out accurate, complete information. Labor is a time of extreme, internal focus. It would be difficult to absorb and comprehend a significant amount of new information. So preparation is key, in case you need to make decisions quickly. Research common interventions such as: ultrasounds, fetal monitoring, induction of labor, epidurals, extractions and c-sections. Learn the risks and what factors determine when each may truly become necessary. Insist that your provider obtain informed consent for each procedure.

Read books on natural birthing options. Consider alternatives to the standard OB-attended hospital birth. Choosing a high-tech OB at a high-tech hospital doesn’t guarantee you a safe birth. But it WILL increase your risk for high-tech interventions which may or may not be medically necessary.16 Certified Nurse Midwives (CNM’s) are licensed in all 50 states and can attend births in hospitals, birth centers or even your home. Don’t be afraid to make an unusual choice when it comes to what’s best for you and your baby!

Don’t choose your provider or facility simply based on location or insurance coverage. Seek out like-minded mothers and local doulas and get their recommendations.

Schedule a consultation with potential providers before committing to one. Get their rates of various interventions – fetal monitoring, inductions, episiotomies, forcep delivery, vacuum extraction and c-sections. Ask how much freedom you’ll have during labor – particularly on movement, eating/drinking and positioning for birth. Are there limitations on who is allowed to attend your birth? If they’re anything less than forthcoming with these answers, find another provider. Tour the facility. Ask questions there as well, specifically regarding their procedures for newborn care, policies on rooming-in and breastfeeding support.

Listen to your instincts. More women are educating themselves and seeking providers based on their shared philosophies of birth. Unfortunately, medical professionals can also offer the all too familiar “bait-and-switch.” The provider will agree with everything the mother-to-be wants for her birth throughout her pregnancy, but has NO intention of letting the birth happen on those terms. Shockingly, some will even go out of their way to make SURE it doesn’t, regardless of what’s in the best interest of the mother and her baby. So if you have any reservations about your provider or facility, especially if you feel they are patronizing you, don’t be afraid to make a change – no matter how far along you are.

Surround yourself with others who have had intervention-free births. Listen to their stories. Ignore those who tell you that you won’t be able to handle it.

Take a childbirth class, preferably one OUTSIDE of a hospital setting. (Too often, classes hosted by the hospital are more about “How to Be a Good Patient.”) Bradley and Hypnobirthing are excellent choices.

Choose your labor support team wisely. While your partner, family members and friends may want to be present at the birth, consider hiring a doula. She can provide physical and emotional support throughout your pregnancy, birth and post-partum period. She is knowledgeable about the process of birth, familiar with area providers and facilities and can facilitate communication with staff to help you make informed decisions. A woman in labor is vulnerable – both physically and emotionally. A doula can help protect your space and your choices.

Empower yourself to have the birth YOU desire! Birth is a business. As more mothers demand normal, natural births, providers and facilities will be forced to adapt to attract consumers. Reducing unnecessary interventions will lead to healthier mothers and babies!

Christine Sheets Nutile is a mother of three. She was supported by a doula and used Hypnobirthing for each of her midwife-attended hospital births. She is the co-founder of an Attachment Parenting group in the south suburbs of Chicago. She is also an advocate for natural childbirth, breastfeeding, babywearing and home education.

1 The Joint Commission, Sentinel Event Alert, Issue 44 from January 26, 2010, “Preventing Maternal Death”; available at http://www.jointcommission.org/SentinelEvents/SentinelEventAlert/sea_44.htm

2 WHO, UNICEF and Wellstart International, “Baby-friendly Hospital Initiative: Revised, Updated and Expanded for Integrated Care”, 2009; available at http://www.who.int/nutrition/publications/infantfeeding/9789241594967_s1/en/index.html

3 J. A. Martin et al, Centers for Disease Control, Births: “Final Data for 2006”;
National Vital Statistics Reports, Volume 57, Number 7, from January 7, 2009; available at http://www.cdc.gov/nchs/data/nvsr/nvsr57/nvsr57_07.pdf

4 C. Sakala and M. P. Corry, “Evidence-Based Maternity Care: What It Is and What It Can Achieve,” Childbirth Connection and the Reforming States Group, 2008, pages 37, 47, 62-67; available at http://www.childbirthconnection.org/pdfs/evidence-based-maternity-care.pdf

5 K. E. Kaufman, “Elective Induction: An Analysis of Economic and Health Consequences”.

6 C. Deneux-Tharaux et al, “Postpartum Maternal Mortality and Cesarean Delivery”, Obstetrics & Gynecology, Volume 108, Number 3, Part 1, September 2006; available at
http://www.acog.org/from_home/publications/green_journal/2006/v108n3p541.pdf and
J. Villar et al, “Maternal and Neonatal Individual Risks and Benefits Associated with Caesarean Delivery: Multicentre Prospective Study”, BMJ, 2007; 335; 1025; page 5; available at

7 California Maternal Quality Care Collaborative, www.cmqcc.org/maternal_mortality and www.cmqcc.org/maternal_disparities

8 R.M. Andrews, “The National Hospital Bill: The Most Expensive Conditions by
Payer, 2006”, Healthcare Cost and Utilization Project, Statistical Brief 59, 2008, page 7;
available at http://www.hcup-us.ahrq.gov/reports/statbriefs/sb59.pdf

9 Amnesty International Publications, “Deadly Delivery: The Maternal Health Care Crisis in the USA”, 2010, page 1 and 79, available at http://www.amnestyusa.org/dignity/pdf/DeadlyDelivery.pdf

10 National Center for Health Statistics. 2006. 2003 Natality Data Set. SETS 2.0, Rev. 805. Vital and Health Statistics. CD-ROM Series 21, Number 17, May.

11 S. Goodman, “Piercing the Veil: The Marginalization of Midwives in the United
States”, Social Science & Medicine, 65, 2007, pp. 610–21; available at

12 B Reime et al, “Do Maternity Care Provider Groups Have Different Attitudes Towards Birth?” BJOG: An International Journal of Obstetrics & Gynaecology, Volume 111, Issue 12, Pages 1388-1393; available at http://www3.interscience.wiley.com/cgi-bin/fulltext/118813477/HTMLSTART

13 Y. Lapp Cryns, “Homebirth: As Safe as Birth Gets” The Compleat Mother Magazine 1995; available at http://www.compleatmother.com/homebirth/hb_safety.htm

14 J.J. Mathews and K. Zadak, “The Alternative Birth Movement in the United States: History and Current Status”, Women Health, 1991, Volume 17, Number 1, Page 39; available at http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/2048321

15 Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development, OECD Health Data 2009–
Frequently Requested Data; available at http://www.oecd.org/document/16/0,3343,en_2649_33929_2085200_1_1_1_1,00.html

16 M. Wagner, “Technology in Birth: First Do No Harm”, Midwifery Today, 2000;
available at http://www.midwiferytoday.com/articles/technologyinbirth.asp#sources

Thursday, March 18, 2010

Zachary Gareth is Here!!!

Zachary Gareth

February 11, 2010

6 lbs, 12oz.


I didn’t use Hypnobirthing for the birth of my first child in 2006. Nonetheless, I had what I considered to be a “rockstar labor” – a vaginal delivery that lasted about 12 hours total. I labored in a tub, which really helped me to tolerate the contractions, and pushed for somewhere around ½ hour. Sometime during that labor, I discovered that my contractions were a lot less painful if I ‘breathed into’ them – a technique similar to one I had learned in yoga class for stretching into and holding poses. I found that if I could direct my body towards relaxation and focused on my breathing that time seemed to ‘distort’ and my contractions were a lot more manageable. When I became pregnant with my second child, I wanted to make sure that I had this same sort of experience; Hypnobirthing seemed a good fit.

I could 'tell' I was getting close to Zach's birthday earlier the week before he was born, but asked him to please wait until the big snow storm had passed though. 12 hours after the storm had passed, at 1:19am, my first surge woke me after a set of dreams about giving birth. I began timing surges to look for regularity and put on my headphones to listen to my relaxation CD. At 2:00 am I was up again and called my mom to come over to be with my daughter and called the midwife. She said to wait until surges were about 5 minutes apart before going into the hospital, noted that I sounded calm, and said to try to get some sleep.

By 5:00am, I was surging about every 8 minutes, but they were very intense. I wanted to go to the hospital to soak in the big labor tub – warm water sounded SOOO good. My husband suggested a hot shower instead, saying I seemed pretty calm and that we should wait until things were more intense to go to the hospital. We didn’t want to be there all day, he said.
By 6:00am, I put my foot down and said I wanted the tub -- we were out of hot water at home. My mom (an RN with OB experience) guessed from the frequency of my surges that I was around 6-7 cm dialed and I was still about 7 minutes apart.

We arrived at the hospital around 6:35am; I called the midwife and sent a text message to a friend at 6:28am while on the way. I refused to let the hospital staff put me in a wheelchair and walked through the hospital and up to the 4th floor. The intern that let me up to the L&D unit kept asking me if I was OK. I probably looked a little odd and rather distracted with my pajamas and headphones still on, telling them I was in labor but did not want to be wheeled upstairs. When I arrived in the unit, feeling somewhat dazed, I announced that I wanted to soak in the labor tub.

However, when I was checked, I was apparently 10 cm dilated and Zach was almost crowning!!! I couldn’t believe it! No time for the tub! No time for my GBS injection! No time even for a fetal monitoring strip! My husband was still parking the car and the midwife hadn't arrived yet. (Later, she said I had sounded so calm on the phone that she didn't think there was any hurry.)Within 10 minutes, my water broke, my husband and the midwife showed up, and I delivered Zach in about three pushes. My dear husband held my leg with one hand and gave me light touch massage on my back with the other. :)

Zach’s Agpar was 9.9+ and he nursed on the first try. Since I had no tears and Zach was healthy (he was testing GBS negative even though I hadn’t had the injection) we were permitted to go home 24 hours later, which I really wanted to do because my daughter was missing us back at home.

Up until Zach was born, I really didn’t think it was possible to have a better labor experience than the one I had in 2006. Boy, was I wrong! The surges were uncomfortable, but manageable with breathing and visualizations, and to only have to push a few times at the end was FANTASTIC! An added benefit that I noticed is that because I didn’t spend a lot of time straining and pushing, my postpartum recovery period was a lot shorter than before, too.

YEAH Hypnobirthing and MANY THANKS to Tricia for all her fantastic information and support!

Congratulations and welcome to the world Zach!!!

Saturday, March 13, 2010

For good causes

As the economy continues to give a lot of us grief, it can be difficult to imagine donating to any cause out there. But I urge you to think about donating to these worthy causes...even $1 or $5 can make a huge difference!!

Hi there I am walking for Champions for Children's Walk which will benefit the Joli Burrell Child Advocacy Center in Park Forest, IL. If you click on the link you can find out more about the center They provide victim sensitive investigative services for children so that they do not have to be repeatedly questioned by the police. I am sending you the link so you can take a look and see what we are doing. You can donate any amount even a $1 under my name to help the walk. http://illinois.events.nationalchildrensalliance.org/index.php?s=47&group_id=47

Thanks for reading this.

Vikki Rompala

As many of you know, my husband and I know the pain of losing a baby. We also know many other families who have endured restless nights as they wonder if they're premature babies will survive. That is why I'm very excited to be a part of March for Babies this year and hope you will join my team! Every day, thousands of babies are born too soon, too small and often very sick. We're walking because we want to do something about this. The money we raise will support March of Dimes research and programs that help moms have full-term pregnancies and babies begin healthy lives. And it will be used to bring comfort and information to families with a baby in newborn intensive care. Please join my team. You can do so on my team Web page. If you can't walk with me, please help the team reach our goal by making a donation. You can do that online as well. Thank you for helping me give all babies a healthy start!
Peace, Tricia Fitzgerald Visit my team Web page at http://www.marchforbabies.org/personal_page.asp?pp=2883293&ct=4&w=4044454&u=triciafitzgerald
Would you like to see what March for Babies is and why I'm walking? Click the link to see the video. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=iQ1CsZbjY0g
If you would like to learn more about March for Babies, visit the Web site at http://www.marchforbabies.org/.
The March of Dimes mission is to improve the health of babies by preventing birth defects, premature birth, and infant mortality. Michael's 2nd birthday would have been this Wednesday, February 3rd. Please join us on April 25th to walk in his honor!

Tuesday, March 9, 2010

Zachary John has arrived!!

I recently finished a HypnoBirthing series at Elmhurst Yoga Shala. There were 6 couples in the course and so far 2 of the moms have birthed their babies. Allison sent me her birth timeline/story today. Enjoy!!

Hi All! Following is a summary of my birth experience...
- Zachary John Schwarz was born Fri, 3/5 at 9:36pm, 7lb 15oz (at 37 weeks, 2 days)
- Went to midwife appt on Thurs, 4cm dilated and 60% effaced, she wanted to induce me Fri morning, due to hypertension and preeclampsia issues
- We agreed to do more labs, give me the weekend to start on my own, then reassess on Mon, also allowed her to stir up my membranes, not something I wanted to do but when weighed against inducement, a better option in my mind
- Tried some natural methods of inducement (fear release, relaxation and visualization, some acupressure, even ate spicy food!)
- Back to midwife on Fri, blood work had some funkiness, but 4+ cm dilated and 80% effaced, she wanted to induce me Sat
- Focused again on relaxation and visualization, laid down for afternoon, had feeling like I was getting my period (which I had had for several days actually)
- Some membranes released at 4pm, by 4:45 was finally noticing a discernible pattern of any kind in surges, perceived as lower back tension, began using slow breathing
- By 5:45, perception of surges had moved to belly, between 3-4 minutes apart
- Arrived at hospital at 6:20, 6cm dilated, continued slow breathing and other techniques (rainbow, affirmations)
- Needed IV for penicillin (GBS +), nurses were having trouble putting it in, a couple different nurses tried on one arm until they finally called in another nurse to try on my other arm, Bob told me that when they let go of my right arm to try the IV in my left arm, my right arm just dropped heavily onto the bed, I was so relaxed
- My fantastically awesome birth companion, Bob, used light touch massage, anchor (hand on shoulder), verbal prompts ("deeper, breathe, loose and limp"), intense eye contact; he also kept me hydrated and used a cool washcloth on my neck
- Had all kinds of other tools and visuals that I did not even feel the need to use
- Believe I breathed him down, breathing pattern changed with stronger surges
- Felt pressure in bottom, checked by midwife and was 10cm, couldn't even believe it
- Decided to push, felt right and good, in the position that my body told me (which was one that I never would have thought), pushed 15-20 minutes through 6-8 surges and he was born, healthy and beautiful!

The beautiful Schwarz family
Talk about "loose and limp" "Rainbow Overdose"

- Did get one minor perineal tear, probably because I was so enthusiastic on my final push
- Total time of (nonmedicated) labor and birth with what I would perceive/describe as discomfort/pressure = 5 hours
- And get this, blood pressure throughout labor was normal! lower than it has been the entire pregnancy
- In addition, do not have a ton of postpartum soreness

Korina... I found Hypnobirthing to be well-respected by our midwives and Hinsdale Hospital. The only people present in the room other than us during labor and birth were our midwife and one nurse. One additional nurse came in after he was born to assist. Very good overall experience with the hospital.

I guess this turned into pretty much the full story!

Perhaps more later,

Allison Schwarz

Congratulations to the entire Schwarz family!!!