Share a Birth Bead For My Necklace!

28 01 2014

Those of you who follow the page and the blog might be aware that I am due with my 4th and final child on February 14! It’s coming up so soon. I’m very excited as I prepare for the baby’s arrival.

If you’ve ever been to a Blessingway or Mother Blessing, you might be familiar with the custom of giving a birth bead to the mother. The bead is then strung on a necklace for the mother, which is sometimes referred to as the birth necklace or mother necklace. When a person selects a bead, it might be a certain color of significance, or bear some other intended meaning or symbolism. The necklace as a whole becomes a source of strength, love, and empowerment for the mother. It is a really great idea for something beautiful and creative for the woman about to give birth to know how she is supported. Sometimes, it is even accompanied by specific wishes or words of wisdom for her, special verses or poems of inspiration, etc.

Here’s an example: this one made for me by friends and loved ones during my pregnancy with Sage. (He was my freebirth baby from the book.)

If you’d like to participate in this special moment with me, consider this your invitation! I’d be honored to have you join me for this. I know some of you have gotten to know me over the years, and for some maybe I’ve made a difference to you or you to me, and it’s only right that we are connected during this time. I’ve been “with you” for some of your pregnancies and births and now you can be with me in mine as I close this chapter.

So, if this sounds like something you’d enjoy being part of, send your bead to me ASAP before the due date to:

Elizabeth McKeown
PO Box 1133
Keystone Heights, FL 32656

Thanks so much for being a fan and a friend. I’ll take pictures later to show you all how it turns out.





Improving Birth Rally in Jacksonville, Florida (photos)

4 09 2012

I attended the Jacksonville, Florida Improving Birth rally this past Labor Day. It was held in front of Memorial Hospital, which claims a 44% C-section rate– the worst in the city. Below are some photos from the event, taken by myself, my husband, Lori Lee Photography, and Chanel Martin. My husband and kids were in attendance with me. :)

This rally took place all over the country, held in front of strategically chosen hospital locations to raise awareness about the rampant unnecessary medical intervention in births today, which has decreased– not increased– the health of women and babies over the years.

These are my kids.

This is me. The opposite side of the sign (facing you) says–
Women naturally, on average, take 41-42 weeks to grow a baby, NOT 40.

Signing autographs! Just kidding. Just a sign-in sheet.

My husband was laughing at me, he said I looked pissed. I wasn’t really. It was just really bright out. But to be fair, 1) I think I often look pissed naturally, and 2) I didn’t really think it was appropriate to smile, given the occasion and my sign’s message..

The view driving away (don’t mind the baby prints on the window!).

 

Hmm, I don’t personally agree with the blue sign, but I’m glad she is trying to empower women.


A view of the hospital and parking as we passed.

The signs our kids held. I made them, my kids helped me decorate them.

Joymarie says: “He was asking why were were doing this and what it was about and I told him about better birth outcomes and less interventions leading to c-sections. His response was that we should protest the malpractice insurance. His voice was very weary and it made me very sad to hear him talk. He was also telling me how c-sections went up when we started monitoring because those strips can come back to haunt you in court. I told him I can only imagine how difficult it can be to make that call. No one wants a dead baby. He continued to tell me that he just had to do a c-section on a 36 weeker and she was a premi and had to spend time in the NICU. (he was not happy when he said any of this) I further explained that we were about promoting education and how I had a c-section with my first because I didnt wait for my body to go into labor and as a first time mom made a bad choice, but how I learned from that experience and went on to have a successful VBAC. He then told me that was cool and that he was born on labor day but not today. The conversation ended with me telling him Happy Birthday and he said thanks for the conversation.

“Find out what it takes to have your best birth.” Below that, it also says In Search of the Perfect Birth, and below that, our website (www.theperfectbirth.com).

Joshua, my husband.

My fam and our signs: Eve, Joshua, Sage, me, Cian.

Try not to take it the wrong way and see the spirit of her message. I do understand that sometimes nature effs up. But not 44% of the time.

Look kids, we made the news! Josh and I are right there.

Josh’s sign.





Winners: 1 Year Anniversary Giveaway

5 06 2012

As luck would have it, the winners of this Giveaway ALL won from the entries in which they tweeted about the giveaway. I’ve never seen this before! Tweeting was a great reason to win, since it alerted people to the giveaway and exposed more people to all the wonderful pages involved. And, a couple of you won MORE than once.

Thanks to everyone for all your entries and support. Thanks to Pink Moon, Inside Vaccines, and Unassisted Childbirth/Freebirth for sponsoring. Special shout-out to Lactastic Mommy for sharing our giveaway just because she’s a nice friend and fan who wanted her readers to have a chance at winning that beanie. ;) Now, on to the winners.

The Grand Prize Winner is… Tamika Renee!

Tamika won by tweeting about our giveaway on June 3rd. Tamika’s prize:

A signed copy of In Search of the Perfect Birth– one of the last First Edition copies remaining in print. [Second Edition is now available for sale with most major booksellers.]

1 Cloth Diaper of her choice from The Perfect Birth, including one microfiber insert. We are also giving her a bonus bamboo insert.

1 Boobie Beanie in winner’s choice of size and color, by Pink Moon

 

1 pair of crocheted baby shoes by Pink Moon, winner’s choice of size and colors.

 

Tamika, please contact info@theperfectbirth.com to tell us where to send your book and how you would like it signed. Also, let us know which cloth diaper you select from the choices above (see also: our store).

Contact Pink Moon to let her know where she can send your items. Be sure to tell her your shoe color preferences and size– choose from: Newborn size fits foot up to 3″;  0-3 Months fits foot up to 3 1/4″;  3-6 Months fits foot up to 4″; 6-12 Months fits foot up to 5″.  For the beanie, please tell her your color and size preference from the following: 1. Cream/Pink; 2. Tan/Pink; 3. Tan/Med Brown; 4. Mocha/ Med Brown; 5. Mocha/Dk. Brown; 6. Chocolate/ Dk Brown. Sizes: Newborn size: 12-13″; 3-6 months: 15-17″; 6-12 months: 17-19″; child: 18-20″; tween: 19-21″.

 

Second Prize Goes to… Tamika Renee!

Yes, you won again! Tamika won this by tweeting about our giveaway on May 30th.  Tamika, you won an additional copy of the book. Why not give one to a friend? When contacting Elizabeth (see above), let her know how you’d like this signed. She will be more than happy to only sign her name if requested.

Third Prize Goes to… Haley Skelley!

Haley won by tweeting about our giveaway on June 1st. Haley also  won a recent giveaway at Pink Moon… looks like she is on a roll with us! Haley won a randomly selected cloth diaper from The Perfect Birth, plus a microfiber insert to go with our new pocket diapers.

She’ll be receiving: Economics (black).

Haley, please e-mail info@theperfectbirth.com to let Elizabeth know where she can send your new diaper!

Fourth Prize Goes to… Jessica Miller!

Jessica won by tweeting about the giveaway on May 30th. Her prize:

Crocheted baby boots from Pink Moon, winner’s choice of colors and sizes!

Jessica, please contact Pink Moon to discuss your choice in colors and sizes. Here are the size options: Newborn size fits foot up to 3″; 0-3 Months fits foot up to 3 1/4″; 3-6 Months fits foot up to 4″; 6-12 Months fits foot up to 5″. Please tell her where she can mail your prize.

Fifth Prize Goes to… Jessica Miller!

That’s right, you were our other double winner! Jessica won by tweeting about the giveaway on June 1st. It really paid to keep doing those daily tweets! She wins the Boobie Beanie, pictured above (see Grand Prize pictures)! Her choice of size and colors.

Jessica, when you contact Pink Moon about your shoes, be sure to give her your details in choice for the beanie as well.

That’s it! Thanks everyone for taking part! And congratulations to Tamika, Haley, and Jessica for winning such cool prizes! If you feel like it, please let us know how you like your prizes once you receive them. I know Pink Moon and I would love to hear your reviews. And naturally, if you like us, don’t be shy about telling your friends. ;)





Happy One Year! Giveaway

30 05 2012

It has been one year since In Search of the Perfect Birth was published and our website and Facebook pages begun. It was a proud moment in my life and it’s been satisfying to know that my story resonated with so many of you.  I learned a lot from my own life and if anyone else is learning from my stories, I can be exponentially assured that this was not in vain. It is my privilege to have ever helped anyone because it gives my life added meaning. Thank you!!!

The Second Edition was just released earlier this month, and it’s better than before. Still the same book in content, it is more polished and hopefully an easier book to enjoy than before.

We are celebrating with a giveaway.

The following pages we are proud to announce as our honorary sponsors:

Unassisted Birth/Freebirth
Inside Vaccines

Our active contributing sponsor, we are happy to announce, is:

Pink Moon

Follow our simple Rafflecopter form here at our Facebook page for super easy entries/chances to win.

Prizes

1. The Grand Prize:

One signed copy, one of the last remaining, of the First Edition of my book, In Search of the Perfect Birth.


One Cloth Diaper (plus microfiber insert) from The Perfect Birth. Your choice of colors from the new Scholar line!

One (additional) Bamboo Insert from The Perfect Birth

   One pair of crocheted baby shoes by Pink Moon. Have a variety of colors to choose from (winner’s choice) and sizes are as follows:

***SIZES***
Newborn size fits foot up to 3″
0-3 Months fits foot up to 3 1/4″
3-6 Months fits foot up to 4″
6-12 Months fits foot up to 5″

One “Boobie Beanie” in your choice of size and color by Pink Moon!

1. Cream/Pink
2. Tan/Pink
3. Tan/Med Brown
4. Mocha/ Med Brown
5. Mocha/Dk. Brown
6. Chocolate/ Dk Brown
***SIZES***
Newborn size: 12-13″
3-6 months: 15-17″
6-12 months: 17-19″
child: 18-20″
tween: 19-21″

This grand prize above is SIX great gifts.
The following gifts are single gifts to other lucky potential winners.

2. One of the last remaining First Edition copies of the book, signed.

Have a variety of colors to choose from (winner’s choice) and sizes are as follows
***SIZES***
Newborn size fits foot up to 3″
0-3 Months fits foot up to 3 1/4″
3-6 Months fits foot up to 4″
6-12 Months fits foot up to 5″

3. 1 Cloth Diaper from The Perfect Birth. Color chosen for winner randomly; comes with a microfiber insert.

4. These crocheted baby boots from Pink Moon

5. A “Boobie Beanie” from Pink Moon, winner’s choice of color and size (see above).

So enter the Rafflecopter form NOW for a chance to win the Grand Prize of five prizes, or one of the other 4 single prizes! Many thanks for all who’ve supported me over the year. I promise that there is only more to come. Happy Birthday to Us!





Just Quick Clarifications (For the Stillbirthday Debacle)

24 04 2012

Most of this stuff could have been cleared up if open communication were ever utilized. You’d be amazed how much understanding can occur when people genuinely talk to and listen to one another. But, not happening, so here goes.

Three things:

1. I never went to Gina @ The Feminist Breeder to convince her of anything. It literally never happened. I only stepped into the conversation when alerted by my friends it was occurring.  At that point, it was concerned loss mothers who’d been victimized by the Mentors at Stillbirthday who had spoken up to spark her retraction of endorsing their site in the first place.

2.  I never tell mothers that it is better to watch your baby die a natural death than to receive emergency care. All you’d have to do is read my book to know that I am all about having back up plans and taking care to use medical service when it is needed.  Others have gathered this just from my online activity, w/o even having to read my book.  Saying that I prefer dead infants to medical intervention is absurd and a regurgitation of the common go-to claim made against any natural childbirth proponents by anti natural birth groups. Heidi claims to be for natural birth, but she’s pulling out all their cards tonight.

3. Everything I ever used in any posts about Stillbirthday was entirely factual. I don’t have to lie. The truth is bad enough. Every time I ask “what was a lie?” I am never answered. Some act like they are above that and then post passive-aggressive blogs to avoid actual conversation and maintain the appearance of a moral high ground. We go to comment, but they refuse to publish our comments in our own defense, even though they have been allowed on ours. Like the interview I attempted, communication is always shut down. I am never proven wrong. It’s a hit and run.

Okay, Four things.

4. I have never, ever, ever, EVER made ANY request, explicit or implied, that ANY particular member be ousted from Stillbirthday. My problem was with the organization as a whole. I never made any demands, threats, or ultimatums. If you were told this, you were lied to. I have nothing to gain if ONE person leaves this organization. If one person leaves, who wins? Not me, and I don’t care. This is not to fulfill any vendetta. This is not personal. It is beyond personal. Even if any one mentor were ousted from this group, I would still never promote Stillbirthday. It’s very foundation, to me, is questionable. There was never a deal one could make with me in exchange for my silence. Only understanding did I seek. Questions and answers. These were refused.

Good! I think that’s all cleared up now. Have a good one!  :)





Big Changes Coming to The Perfect Birth

27 03 2012

 At The Perfect Birth, we are branching out. Passionate about giving babies the best start possible, we are taking it to the next level, beyond the book. We will be carrying other baby related things in a storefront connected to this site, and we hope you will find something you like.

One of the main items we will have available are cloth diapers.

Most of our diapers will run about $8 a piece.

Other items will include more literature, clothing, baby blankets, and amber teething necklaces.

Below: Elizabeth and Sage and their crazy camera antics try to briefly talk about newbie cloth diapering and why it’s still a good environmental choice (despite all the laundry).

So what do you think? Is this good news? Are you excited? Would you want to buy anything at our store? And yes, our book will be available for purchase there as well, as will the future books I am working on.





Closer to Healing: A Guest Post by Siobhan

7 03 2012

Siobhan read my book and I was so moved by what she had to say, that I asked her to do a guest post.

Hi!

I just wanted to write you a quick note thanking you for your book. I just finished reading it – I know, so late to the party – and I cannot express enough gratitude for what you have given me.

I’ve been struggling for some time with post partum “issues”. I wouldn’t really call it depression…maybe anxiety…I don’t know. I just haven’t been myself since Saoirse was born. I used to be absolutely care free, fearless, and had a good hold over my anxiety. Now, I’m so high strung and anxious – like it’s a struggle to leave my house some days. I’ve never said this to anybody, but it was almost like I was going through some post traumatic stress…but I couldn’t put my finger on why.

For the most part, I’ve worked through it, but I’ve been stuck for about a month. I’m the type of person who needs to know WHY I feel the way I do in order to completely heal. That was the issue. I didn’t know why I was feeling this way. I thought I had the perfect birth (or as close to it as I could ever really have), Saoirse is happy and healthy… really what more could I ask for? For the longest time, I thought it was because I didn’t achieve my breast feeding goals. I felt like a failure as a mother…a woman. I felt like my body betrayed me. There were times reading your book, I had to put it down and sob – not cry – ugly cry sob. It was all falling into place.

I originally wanted a home birth, but my OB didn’t do those and I was too ignorant to look for someone who did. I went into labor naturally and ended up with the practice’s midwife the day of Saoirse’s birth. I have to say most of my labor was pretty easy and I was free to move about as I pleased. I spent most of the night doing laps around the maternity ward. Then some time just before dawn they did a blood pressure check and it was “a little high” so I had to stay confined to the bed. They wouldn’t tell me what the number was. My blood pressure was a “a little high” my entire pregnancy and it never concerned my doctor. I think they didn’t tell me because they knew I would have called bull shit.

That’s when my labor started to actually hurt. I asked for some drugs – not an epidural – but the IV stuff. The nurse proceeded to mock me and tell me to just get the epidural and to stop being a “scaredy cat.” I’m covered in tattoos and donate blood regularly, I’m not afraid of needles. I do not like the idea of a needle going into my spine – it’s a spine thing, not a needle thing. When I asked for time to think about it, she then told me not to worry about any pain management because they were going to send me home because my contractions weren’t registering on the monitor. I ended up not getting anything.

Finally around 8am, my midwife came, checked me (I was 6cm at this point) and broke my water – without my knowing or permission. I could have sworn she said “Oh your water broke” but my husband says he saw her do it. It did speed up my labor and she let me get up and walk around which made things bearable again. About a half hour before Saoirse was born I got into the shower. The hot water must have really relaxed me because I thought she was going to slide out then and there. I had my husband go get the nurse – my body was telling me it was time. She was ready. My body was ready. She was coming. The nurse came and checked me and said I was only 9cm, so I couldn’t push yet. My body was pushing on its own. I had no control. So, the nurse pretty much stood there arguing with me for 10 minutes about it. Finally, I told her I would deliver the baby myself with or without them.

She got my midwife and she checked me AGAIN and even though I was still only 9cm, she said I could push. If I had to be on my back, the most comfortable way for me was with my neck back, back arched, kind of lifting my butt off the bed. Of course this didn’t fly, and a nurse held me down while she insisted my husband do the same. Luckily, Saoirse was out in 4 pushes. They placed her on my belly and I just looked at her. I didn’t cry. I didn’t say anything. I didn’t count her fingers or toes. I didn’t feel anything. Adrenaline was coursing through my veins. I physically felt like I could run a marathon at that point. I just went though the motions of latching her, all in a daze. My husband was crying. My sister was crying. I wanted to cry. I just couldn’t.

Why wasn’t I feeling that bond? Why wasn’t I lovey dovey? Why did I feel like I needed to scoop her up and run for my life? Why could I have run for my life at that point? It all makes sense to me now. I was totally in fight or flight. It didn’t end there. It went on for my entire hospital stay. I didn’t sleep for 2 days – maybe a half hour here and there – but for the most part I was awake. Breast feeding only lasted 2 months for me. I think it all goes back to pretty much being in the state of fight or flight for weeks after Saoirse’s birth.

My husband and I are very private people – hyper guarded. We don’t get along with our families – they’re toxic people. Of course they came out of the wood work and made it all about themselves and wouldn’t leave us alone. I think I was so concerned with guarding her from these awful people – adrenaline always pumping – the oxytocin never flowed. I never made enough milk for her. It wasn’t until all these people faded back into their holes that I was able to look at her with amazement and cry tears of joy. So much precious time was stolen from me by these personal space invaders – the nurses up to my toxic relatives. It all makes so much sense to me now.

I’m not at the end of my healing journey, but I’m back on track all thanks to you. The next time I have a child it will be in my home and no one will need to know about it until I’m ready. I have to be honest with you though – if I were to give birth tomorrow or even a year from now I don’t know if I could do it without a midwife. I don’t trust my body. I know now it wasn’t my body that betrayed me. It was trying to protect me…regardless I don’t have the same faith in it as I used to. I think my journey will end when my trust is restored. I’m not sure how I’m going to get back to that place. I’m sure it’s going to require a leap of faith. A leap I’m a little closer to taking because of your book.

So, what was suppose to be a quick note of thanks has turned into a disjointed babble fest. Sorry for that. I guess I just wanted you to know how much your experiences meant to me. You’ve given me a wonderful gift. I’m infinitely grateful.

Siobhan and Saoirse

Thank you again, from the bottom of my heart,

Siobhan





Guest Post: Melissa the EMT says “Thank You” For The Book

1 02 2012

This is a guest post from Melissa, an EMT (Emergency Medical Technician), who reached out to me in the middle of reading my book. Her feedback was great to hear!

I’m working on your book and I’m impressed. I received it free on the Kindle, but would like to support your efforts and purchase a copy as well! Let me know how to do that.

I just finished the part where EMS took you for your second delivery and I can assure you if you were unconscious they would have gotten you out. They would have had to use what they call a “flexible” stretcher or a backboard and physically carried you out, because a stretcher will not fit down most hallways without causing damage or taking too much time. I assure those are the two most uncomfortable options in the world. While I almost cried at the thought of you crawling down the hallway, it probably was unfortunately your best option.

Thank you for opening my eyes to your perspective. Its humbling to me, who is so comfortable in a medical environment, to get an insight of how scary it can be to others. The information is great, and I’m considering a third birth and possibly a UC. I really am thankful for your efforts in writing this book and I can’t wait to finish!

For me, I was able to envision your day with a scary accuracy only because I have been that well meaning paramedic before. Your story gave me the ability to view the scene from the other side instead of from the clueless medical provider.

I started considering going UC last year when we decided we wanted another child. While my first labor was a horrendous induction from pre-ecclampsia turned ecclampsia while pushing , my second was what doctors would like to consider textbook perfect for an induction. We induced when the signs of pre-e started, it was a very quick labor, with a very healthy baby. Everything was as perfect as a medicalized birth could be. The only nagging feeling was that my daughter did not choose when to be born. In the Jewish faith, it is believed that the child chooses their birth time. This coincides with my mothers belief of astrology which your fate is heavily influenced by your birth time. I kept wondering if I have given my child a fate (perhaps a struggling one?) they were not destined for by forcing them into the world early. I know it sounds insane, but I feel like I may have cheated my children the opportunity to be who they wanted to be in utero.

I considered lying to a midwife about my previous history, knowing no mw in their right mind will come near me. Then I decided to go on with an OB and lie about our conception date and refuse ultrasounds so they didn’t induce until spontaneous labor started because they assumed this was too early. We decided this might put me in a compromising position if they tried to stop the labor or induce because of growth size, and could lead to too many tests for GD and otherwise. Finally [my friend] mentioned that I have been on the “catching” end of a childbirth, why not do it ourselves. My husband laughed and said “why not?” We started reading into it, and sadly we had to table the idea when I miscarried in the second trimester (and you’ve heard my horrendous cytotec story, which leads me to further think I’m destined for UC!)

I haven’t yet felt ready to start trying for another child, but I’ve been feeling that nagging “empty uterus” feeling that says I’ll be ready soon! Right now I’m in the learning process of UC once again, and looking into the legalities.

 I’m just really thankful for your book! I’m hoping to be return to working on the ambulance in the next few years, and if I ever encounter another woman in labor I have a better idea of how scared and inconsequential she must be feeling!





Have You Gotten Your FREE ‘In Search of the Perfect Birth’ Yet?

25 01 2012

That’s right. Starting yesterday, and for a VERY limited time, you can get In Search of the Perfect Birth (Kindle Edition) FREE on Amazon.

US link: ISOtPB on Kindle
UK link:  ISOtPB on Kindle

Don’t have a Kindle? Neither do I– you can still get the book. Most of our readers are getting theirs via phone or PC. If you haven’t already, join the hundreds of other people who’ve grabbed it, and make sure you tell people about this. It’ll be over soon.

I have been so, so happy at the amazing response we’ve received. So many pages have graciously shared us, and people have been messaging and commenting wonderful things. I hope you will enjoy the book as much as they have. Thank you to the following pages who have so far shared this free book news with their awesome communities.  Stop by and visit them and see if you like what they have to offer. So many people have been helpful, so I might be forgetting someone– if I have, please, let me know!

Facebook:

The Skeptical Mother  I hope to expose the truth and dispel the lies that are often spread by opponents of homebirth and natural childbirth.
Lactastic Mommy- Your BFF (Best Breastfeeding Friend) [she shared it, twice!] This page is devoted to helping moms and dads with all things breastfeeding in an open, nonjudgmental forum.
Unassisted Childbirth/Freebirth  Unassisted birth also called Freebirth, is giving birth without the assistance of a professional birth attendant.
Undisturbed Birth  Birthing in Freedom
The Mom: Informed  We provide information and web links for parents.
Natural Pregnancy & Childbirth  Pregnancy, Natural Childbirth, Waterbirth, Homebirth, Breastfeeding and more.
Funky Little EarthChild  The gentle and not-so-gentle ramblings of a voice for those who cannot speak.
Know Better, Do Better Birth Services   Birth Doula and Placenta Encapsulation Services
Freebirth Australia  A website about freebirth, for freebirthers, by a freebirther!

Twitter:

@esalibirth  Esali Birth: We believe providing knowledge to our students allows them to be removed of cultural stigmas and fear tactics placed on many of us by society.

 

We are #1 at Amazon Kindle in the Pregnancy/Childbirth category. ♥ In the UK, we are currently ranked #18 in Personal Health on Kindle.

If you haven’t helped us spread the word, you’re missing out on being a part of an extremely great group of people. If you haven’t read it yet, join the hundreds of mothers, activists, doulas, and midwives currently reading the book. The positive feedback has been tremendous… I am truly blown away.

Be on the lookout for another giveaway starting tomorrow. Our book will still be available for free, so this will be something running simultaneously, and it is baby related (of course). Are you curious what it is?





Winners of Elizabeth’s Birthday Giveaway Announced!

22 11 2011

We had a modest turn out– 322 entries– but we finally have our winners! They are…

#214 Lisa Schorp

#102 Kyra Sewell Birth Doula

They won by following me on Twitter and liking me on Facebook. Thanks for participating, ladies! I will also contact the winners by e-mail to notify them of their win. Make sure to let us know what you thought of the book after you’ve read it!

We’ll be doing more giveaways real soon for the holiday season, for things other than just my book. We have all kinds of baby/mommy goodies planned for giveaways, and if you’re already a fan or following us, you’re one step ahead! We’ll keep you posted.








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