How Much Say Should the Government Have In Your Birth Choices?

3 11 2014

It’s really hard because the system SHOULD be in place to protect us and to know better than the laypeople, to be the authority in terms of wisdom for our health. They pose as this, but they are not. Common sense is gone, and the average person may often know more about their own health than the doctor they visit. It’s about profit$$$. It’s even about misogyny or patriarchy when it comes to maternity care, although few see it that way.

If I walk into a hospital and demand heart surgery even if I don’t need it, should it be granted because a) I’m the consumer and b) we’re afraid I’ll go do my own back alley heart surgery to myself? If a woman walks into a hospital and demands a C-section at 28 weeks, what of that? I know that’s far fetched, but my point is that we obviously intend to draw the line somewhere. This time, in Oregon, that line is generous at 39 weeks. Big whoop.

You can’t allow potentially off-balance medical consumer$ to order any drug or procedure off the menu like it’s Burger King,

Birth King-- have it your way.

Birth King– have it your way.

and at the same time, our docs and midwives shouldn’t treat us like idiots and force us into procedures or prescriptions that are actually violating and damaging.

Education, education, education. For both doctors and consumers. We need to radically overhaul the whole system, but the system is built on medical arrogance as it is. I won’t hold my breath, and in the meantime we should stop forcing mothers to do things that don’t sit well with them. We are maiming our society.

As for me, I know better, and so I birth outside the corrupted system. Myself and my babies will not be hurt by the essentially crazy practices now standard to “normal” maternity care. And yes, Florida sucks for this topic. But so does the US and lots of places. I wish women knew just how deceived they were and just how actually simple birth was. We would heal the planet and have a million times more peace. We are terrorizing women and babies with false fear, sadistic authority, and brutal practice.

Re: childbirth in its minimal, natural state, free of coercion or assistance, it reminds me of this paraphrased Buddhist quote:

“When you realize how perfect everything is, you will tilt your head back at the sky and laugh.”

I need to see more women laughing.





You Know You’re a Hippie Mama When (My Version)

17 07 2011

I came across this blog and was intrigued, because hey– I’m a hippie mother, right? I just knew I would relate to the post, and then surprised myself in that I differed a bit more than I thought. Below is their list (italics = theirs), and I’ll do cross outs to tweak it to better fit me. Maybe it will better fit you, too?

* you rent bought a birthing pool

It wasn’t even a birthing pool, it was a kiddie fish pool.

My reasons: 1) Why rent when you could buy? After all, if it’s something you can reuse, you can give birth in it again. 2) Where was I going to rent from? I couldn’t do this from midwives… I no longer had any. 3) I had it on good authority that the kiddie fish inflatable pool was just as good as (if not, better than) the ultra expensive birth pools. Those cost just as much to rent as to buy the kids pool. If you want to buy them outright, that’ll be hundreds.

(Granted, my experience had some ups and downs that I don’t care to repeat, so I may fork over the hundreds next time, after all.)

* you are intent on using hypno-birthing over an epidural Hypnobirthing sounds okay, but it also sounds like just another indoctrination into a particular method of birthing or coping, which doesn’t appeal to me exactly (like Lamaze, Bradley, etc.).

If hypnobirthing works for you, that’s cool. I almost tried this. Before my midwife asked me to leave her care, she was going to give me some CDs or downloadable files, because she thought it would help me get through labor more easily. Of course, I never got this info after we “broke up”, so I guess I’ll never know. It’s not something I’m seeking on my own, but am not opposed to learning more about it.

I’ve had an epidural before and can tell you that it is both great and sad. Still, I do advocate not getting the epidural if you can help it.

I advocate birthing naturally, and to me, hypno and epi both seem to be a little more involved than I find necessary. I’m an advocate for birth as simple.

*you have a doula or had a homebirthing midwife

Never had a doula. Had a few homebirth midwives. That experience was one of my traumatic births (my “wake up call”), and then we broke up before I did my third birth, the unassisted one.

* you secretely wish Ina May could be with you at your child’s birth

I don’t want anyone to be with me at my child’s birth! I don’t care how cool they are, I don’t need anyone.

* you know how to tie a moby

Nope. No idea. I think this is babywearing, right? I think it’s kind of cool as a naturally assumed method, for sure. I’m not too big on it as a craze, or a lifestyle gimmick. I’ve always wanted to carry my babies around in something like a papoose, but I never learned how. I would be open to this, though. It probably wouldn’t be part of a club, clique, or contain a name brand, I’m guessing.

* you regularly wake up with a kick to the stomach or a baby ‘self-serving’ from your left boob

This one is fairly true! And I dig it. It’s kind of cool. And, it usually is the left breast. Weird.

* your doctor speaks to you slowly (like you must be from a foreign planet) when you decline their vaccination schedule

My doctor did try to dissuade me from declining vaxes. He’d been with us before our change of heart, so he’d been the one administering some of the first vaccinations. We didn’t have a lengthy talk, but I said what I had to say and he said what he did, and then he didn’t push it. And hasn’t since. Now all three of our kids see him, as we have when we started over 7 years ago. Pretty cool, huh? Having a doctor who will respect your choices and not hold a grudge about it is a nice find!

* you have been carrying around a potty since your child was a newborn

I think portable kid potties are kind of gross. (Sorry!) I take my kids to the toilet. And yes, even my infant, who has peed there a couple of times successfully.

* your baby’s first food is a big ol’ chunk of veg (not a puree) mashed potatoes.

Each baby! Will try on #3 in a month or so.

* you have a pail full of stinky (cloth or compostable) diapers in your house

The only thing that smells is the diaper genie housing the disposable diapers. Ew.

I have a couple of small wetbags for the cloth that I’m using on our newborn (I’m a cloth diaper newbie… third time’s a charm!) and they never smell. I did, however, buy a trash bin to use as a diaper pail. Now I just need some diaper pail liners.

Does anybody have a favorite? Something cool, stylish, easy to use, no-smell, etc.? Let me know what you like best and why. Here are some I was seeing on the internet. If you have an opinion on them, tell me what you think.

 

* you do a dance for joy when your kid does their first sign

I always wanted to teach my kids signs, but never got around to it (just like a number of foreign languages I hoped they’d learn). I have signed and sung the manual alphabet since they were babies, but not in a way that was often enough, or ever caught on. We communicated in ways which were specific to us. I understood their “language” when others didn’t. I understood their looks, their nonverbal cues, gestures, and ways of expressing things. My daughter was a late speaker and yet we had no problem talking with her for the first few years of her life. We do have a sign language book that she has been reading now that she is older, however.

Anyway, what we have done was our thing and it has worked for us.

* your child’s toys are Waldorf approved

I don’t know nor care about Waldorf. Is that wrong? I’m sure it has its value as does most any thing or method, but it always comes across as gimmicky to me, and again, I’m not looking for indoctrination.

Plus, I like things that light up.

* your back aches from carrying your one year old round in a sling

My back aches anyway. The only slings I ever owned were store bought and had a cut-off at 20 lbs.

* you are always being told how cute your kid looks in that amber necklace

I only recently found out about the amber teething necklaces. At first I thought it seemed weird, gimmicky, or maybe a slight bit nutty. But, like many things that strike me nutty at first (unassisted childbirth, anyone? eating the placenta, anyone?), just that spark of interest and inquisitiveness gives way to learning and inspiration. I would really love to try am amber teething necklace on Sage.

And, it will look cute on him. He’s already my little Buddha, so he’ll be extra hippie-ish in his necklace. But, I wouldn’t be doing it just because it is cute, and not all babies look cute in it. (Sorry.)

*you are breastfeeding a child who can speak in whole sentences

Extended breast feeding is just really not for me. My 2 year old is just starting to speak simple, complete sentences, and I stopped breastfeeding him about a year ago.

If it works for you, I won’t judge you, but it’s one thing I’ve never really been that into, personally.

* you teach your kid that gluten dirt is yucky

And, they still get to play in dirt. They don’t have any allergies or conditions, so, we’re good.

* you find yourself singing along to the ‘hello song‘… even though there is nobody else in the car

I have no idea what the hello song is, but I have laughed at myself for realizing I was, alone, singing children’s songs to myself.

Even better, my kids and I listen and sing to music their parents like, because it’s cool.

* you think Mayim Bialik rocks  is okay and that tiger-mom is a bit doolaley   demented

WTF is a doolaley?

* you think exposing your kid to germs is good for him  but pesticides are hazmat

I’m not a germophobe or germophile. I like to keep my kids away from sick people and nasty stuff, but I don’t carry around sanitizer with me. I use natural methods of cleaning as well as toxic ones. I get organic stuff when I am able. I’m not overly committed to or against either one, but I see the points of each. I think there’s a balance we have.

* you eat your placenta

Not the whole thing, and never thought I would… but I did!

How many of these can you tick? Frankly, two or more and you are a hippy-mamma! I know, I know, you don’t think of yourself as a hippy…  I do. the question is ‘do other people?’ For the record, I am not the hippiest hippy in the valley, I tick 14 out of 20 of those. Now, fess up and leave a message if any of these sound like you :p Feel free to add your own on, too! via You know you are a hippy-mama (or papa) when… « Loving Earth Mama.

So, obviously hippies come in a variety of shapes and sizes, and like most of this stuff, it’s interesting and usually harmless to compare and contrast. I just wanted to color in my shade of hippie for you, since some of it was too mainstream for me, while other stuff was too unusual for me.

All in all, I think you are a hippie mother or father if you do things because you feel you are in tune with nature and the needs of your children, and are trying your best to fulfill them without sticking to the rigid standards and expectations of others in society (and that includes other so-called “hippies”).  🙂

[I did like the blog post from Loving Earth Mama, and felt that it was done from a peaceful place. My two cents here are just to sort of spin-off of that and are in no way coming from a mean-spirited place.]





How Music Can Hinder, Not Help, Your Labor

5 07 2011

Dr. Michel Odent talks a lot about the primal labor state and the neo-cortex. When giving birth naturally, the laboring woman enters a different state of consciousness. It is essential for us to allow ourselves to become immersed in this state in order to have a fearless, unhindered, natural labor with as little pain as possible (in some cases, none at all, and entering the realm of orgasmic).

Stimulation of the neo-cortex is then, in the case of a natural labor, the enemy.

The neo-cortex is the center for what we commonly consider our intellect. It is the part that allows us to be logical and also creates our sense of inhibition, giving us our civility and our modesty. When we are being stimulated intellectually or feel we are being watched, the neocortex is active. This is not conducive to a laboring woman getting in her right birth state. This leads to birth tensions and complications.

It is inadvisable to engage in discussion with the birthing woman. Mammals and females in labor need no distractions. They naturally focus inward and shut out the outside world. Dark, warm, quiet surroundings are critical for her to maintain this space of consciousness safely and have the best possible labor and birth experience/outcome. This is the physiology of birth that I am keen on referencing often. To not heed this would trigger her adrenaline, fight/flight, and lead to unnecessary complications and interventions.

Whether she intends to be stimulated or not, whether she consciously feels threatened or not, the presence of certain stimuli will trigger the woman to refrain from fully engaging in the appropriate state as a means of instinctive protection of her vulnerability in the primal physiological birth state. What this means is that even too brightly lit of an environment can hinder her from birthing naturally in a peaceful way.

If discussion stimulates the neo-cortex, what other things will? Television, where there will be narration and dialogue and perhaps jarring noises and rhythms. Light, as we’ve already discussed. Feeling cold. Feeling observed, so onlookers or even the presence of video cameras.

What else? Music.

Is music required during labor? Many women prefer it. When planning for our natural births, the question comes up all the time. “What do you listen to during labor?” We like to set the mood, feel we are creating a personalized soothing birth experience for ourselves. People exchange ideas on what to listen to ranging from religious music to nature sounds, world music, yoga CDs to tribal drumming, etc. And then there are people like me, who dared to merely place their iPod on shuffle. [If you want to know how that turns out, it’s in the book!]

Certain beats and lyrics, however, may cause– without the woman’s total awareness— a stimulation of the neocortex. The effects can sometimes be felt violently. If beats are too aggressive or up-tempo, the neocortex is activated. If lyrics are sung, a woman in labor may unwittingly be drawn into listening to them or giving them even the slightest attention, keeping her from the true meditative nothingness of the primal consciousness her birthing body seeks.

Odent states:

Our neocortex is originally a tool that serves the old brain structures as a means of supporting our survival instinct. The point is that its activity tends to control more primitive brain structures and to inhibit the birth process (and any sort of sexual experience as well).

The neocortex is supposed to be at rest so that primitive brain structures can more easily release the necessary hormones. That is why women who give birth tend to cut themselves off from our world, to forget what they read or what they have been taught;  they can find themselves in the most unexpected, often primitive quadrupedal posture; I heard women saying afterwards: ‘I was on another planet’. When a labouring woman is ‘on another planet’, this means that the activity of her neocortex is reduced. This reduction of the activity of the neocortex is an essential aspect of birth physiology among humans.

This aspect of human birth physiology implies that one of the basic needs of labouring women is to be protected against any sort of neocortical stimulation. From a practical point of view it is useful to explain what this means and to review the well-known factors that can stimulate the human neocortex.

Language, particularly rational language is one such factor. When we communicate with language we process what we perceive with our neocortex. This implies, for example, that if there is a birth attendant, one of her main qualities is her capacity to keep a low profile and to remain silent, to avoid in particular asking precise questions.

via WombEcology by Michel Odent – In-labour physiological reference.

 

Odent is clearly saying that we need to drastically cut out neocortex stimuli; yet music, one of the favored relaxation tools of birth, is a such a stimulus.

If you absolutely insist on having or trying music during your labor, the best kinds which will be far less likely to provoke thought and cause inadvertent stimulation of your neocortex would include anything down-tempo, without lyrics, and with relaxed, unobtrusive rhythms. Yoga CDs, nature sounds, and mild tribal drumming will probably be the most likely to do the trick. Avoid anything that may surprise you, trigger memories, or cause you to think. Static and calm from the external are the keys to entering your best physiological state. The external needs to be able to fade into nonexistence, for you. You need to be able to tap in to your more instinctive self, so give yourself the best tools you can to achieve this. Like most things in birth, less is more.

If you think your body will know what it is doing and birth this baby no matter what music you have on, you’re right… but having the wrong music versus having no music could be the difference between pain and pleasure in childbirth.