Everyone Else is Doing it, So Why Can’t We? More on Stillbirthday.

21 09 2012

Even though members of the Raptors (anti natural birth group) and mentors and members of Stillbirthday (such as Lisa, Bambi, and Liz) are very angry that midwifery is supposedly lacking standardized education and licensure across the board, that isn’t stopping the new grief mentorship organization from doing something similar.

You know the old saying:  if you can’t beat ’em, join ’em.

Recently someone who was considering being a Stillbirthday Doula contacted me for more info after some concerns and arguments were raised on The Birthing Site. When I informed her of the reasons why people were very
wary of the founding of this group, she thanked me and expressed relief that she hadn’t paid for the training yet.


Apparently, Heidi has created and defined a doula credential, which she oversees the education for and approves, and charges $200 for it.

So, like the concern one may have over self-governing and self-regulating midwives, one has to wonder why this would be acceptable.

As far as I can tell, this is a completely made up credential built around Heidi’s brand (stillbirthday), that is designed by, taught by, regulated by Heidi herself.

Now it makes a lot of sense why she was so heavily promoting Stillbirthday, even in inappropriate moments…

… and why she took such great offense to my question-asking, calling it bashing her “dead son’s legacy”. I was threatening a form of livelihood.

I’m not trying to take food out of her mouth or do anything to intentionally hurt anyone, contrary to how I am being portrayed and will undoubtedly continue to be portrayed. However, it doesn’t take much to see that what Heidi is doing is and always was the makings of a business; a business which models its self-righteousness and self-professionalism off of the same (perceived) invented and unregulated credential/professionalism of the midwives Stillbirthday supporters so vehemently oppose.

Below are some examples of the kind of individuals that support, endorse, and are even actively involved within Stillbirthday. This happened on a blog.

Lots of anti-natural birth comments followed, which I found very telling considering that this was a blog intended to be about the virtues of Stillbirthday and Heidi. Her supporters were very single-minded, but let’s face it– it did suit the tone of that entire natural birth bashing blog post. Then this happened:

The $200 invented doula specialty credential is not all Heidi has for sale, though. She offers many things you can purchase through her site, one of which is a Stillbirthday cake.

For $15, Heidi will take a pound cake and put the signature stillbirthday zero candle on it, light it, and use frosting to write your baby’s name on it. She then takes a photo for you to download. Then, she takes the cake to a hospice, where they refrost it and use it.

This seems like Heidi’s version of names in the sand, a project run by a woman called Carly Marie. Carly Marie is also a loss mother, and this is her legacy– she writes your child’s name in the sand on a beautiful beach at sunset and takes a stunning photo of it, to memorialize your precious baby lost. Seen here, she did one for Vylette (of Justice for Vylette).

Carly Marie does charge $20 for this service, and there is a waiting list.

Other items for sale via Stillbirthday include:

  • 20 Stillbirthday business cards– $25
  • A Stillbirthday Loss Doula Handbook– $5
  • Sponsorships– ranging from $25 to $100.

Luckily, not “everyone” (as Dr. Amy has said) is on board with Stillbirthday. People who were not hip to the game are becoming hip, and with the help of posts like these, the word is getting out to innocent and unsuspecting people that something here is amiss.

There are those, however, who argue that Stillbirthday is a “very needed resource”. I disagree. One, it’s not needed. There are tons of amazing resources out there for grief and specifically infant grief and pregnancy loss. This program fills no void that was previously lacking. Two, the individuals involved in the program having such a scandalous past and present where birth and baby loss are concerned also makes the program very much not needed. Women have options, and there are lots of them, and many of which are very stable and healthy and unbiased.

They say birth is big business. Apparently, loss can be, too. Please keep that in mind, even when people you like or groups you have trusted become overly insistent on something seemingly fishy being anything but. Beware of not being allowed to speak, and questions being shot down or hush-hushed.

I think I’ve been clear that I am not trying to deprive Heidi or anyone for that matter of proper grieving or even the right to earn money. We all have things to cope with which pain us, and we all have families to support financially, which is completely understandable. I would never begrudge anyone that, even people whom I dislike or disagree with. Before, in prior posts, I was more concerned with questioning ethics and double standards, but at this point I really need to call into question mental stability. I’m sorry, but these are very disturbed, sick individuals we are dealing with.

And the first sign of this is, they don’t even recognize nor acknowledge the concerns we all have about them. They treat it as totally fantasy, and act as though it doesn’t exist. To this day, all my screen shots are called “creative”. The truth is swept under the rug, like so many “murderous midwives”. Heidi and others tell people that my goal is to inflict harm, or gain readership. Truthfully, I lose fans whenever I post these. I do it not because it helps me at all, but because it might help you.

So in the end, if you can’t defeat all of midwifery and natural birthing, just do like you think they do– be sweet to everyone, earn their trust (sometimes by lies, bribery, or flattery), create your own credentials, and make that money.

How Knowing Your Body Can Help You Have a Better Birth Experience (Guest Post by Felicia)

29 05 2012


Felicia’s kids


The following is a guest post from our friend Felicia, who is a doula. She runs the Facebook page Peaceful Baby Doula Service. She’s had SIX labors.  ~ Elizabeth




Knowing Your Body in General
Having basic knowledge about your body, especially your reproductive system is extremely helpful in aiding you in conceiving, pregnancy, labor, birth, breastfeeding, and postpartum experience. Listening to your body, and the signs that it gives you to communicate what is going on, or what it needs, will help you to have a better birth.

Pregnancy is a very important time and taking the opportunity to get in touch with your body will help the next 42 weeks go by faster, and with ease. Educating yourself about the normal birth process, knowing that all women’s bodies are different (so some women take a longer time to grow a baby), and trusting that your body is NOT faulty are very important things that need to be known in order to have a satisfying birth.

Felicia in labor. Home water birth is achievable for most women. Usually it just requires the right knowledge, planning, and support. At the minimum, it requires being in tune with your body and trusting your instinct.

During the period of trying to conceive, listening and paying attention to your body can make this period shorter and easier. Your body gives signs and you have symptoms of when the optimal time to conceive is. For more information about this, I recommend a really good book by Toni Weschler, Taking Charge Of Your Fertility.

The Cervix
Things like what your cervix is, what it feels like, normal complaints during pregnancy, and abnormal symptoms can all help ensure the future is more appeasing. Since your cervix plays a vital role in the birth of your baby, I find this is a very important aspect of the human body that is overlooked.

Felicia, seen here, is experienced in giving birth in hospitals and at home.

Most women rely on the doctor to tell them if their cervix is open, effaced, etc. — but they really don’t *understand* what this means, other than the day they are meeting baby is near. Most women don’t know that it’s ok to touch their OWN cervix and a doctor really never needs to check (but you can). Some are afraid they can hurt something trying to figure out their body, but since you are the one being touched, the likelihood of you hurting yourself is very minimal.

There is a higher chance of something going wrong with someone else (i.e., a doctor) having his hands in your vagina, because he doesn’t know what hurts, how hard to go, etc.

Knowing When to Ask For Help
Listening to your body can save you, on so many different levels. There are times when laboring women have listened to their bodies, and knowing that something was wrong sought out help-resulting in life-saving help for their selves, and their babies.

The end result: a perfect birth. May you all find yours.

From C to UC in 6 Labors: Guest Post From Felicia

17 04 2012

The following is a guest post from our friend Felicia, who is a doula. She runs the Facebook page Peaceful Baby Doula Service. She’s had SIX labors. Here she takes you through her history with labor so you can see how she came from being a C-section patient to being a determined unassisted birther.   -Elizabeth

I’ve had clients ask, strangers, and family. Everyone wants to know:  how do you get to where having an unassisted birth is comfortable?

I’d have to say the simplest answer is I know, and trust my body. I’m very in tune with the signals my body gives, and what they mean. I know my body inside, and out. Sex education taught in public schools leaves a lot out. I learned that lesson, when I became pregnant, and I learned even more about my body the more I became interested.

At 12 my menstrual cycles began.  Nobody bothered to explain why or how it happened. I was just handed a package of pads and sent on my way.  I became pregnant at 16, and still, I knew hardly anything about my body.  I figured out what my problem was at about nine months pregnant- I had expected EVERYONE ELSE to explain to me what was going on, and went along with what decisions were made for me, instead of doing my own research and educating myself. Eleven days past my due date with a threat from my OB-GYN to induce, I started to research. A little late in the game, eh? I learned more about my body in those 2 days than I had been taught my whole life. I googled “ways to naturally induce” and “what can make you go past your due date”. I learned what to look for on my body to determine what way my baby was positioned in my body.

I had an Occupit Posterior baby, I learned– after researching the spoon like dip in the area under my belly button. I also learned this could cause the body to hold the baby in longer.  Then, I began reading up on signs of labor, what happens during each stage, and what happens to the baby.

I had a successful vaginal birth, in which I stayed home the majority of my labor, and got to the hospital with only minutes to spare. The entire labor only lasted 7 hours. I REALLY wanted a home birth, but living with my mother– a registered nurse– I couldn’t get her to agree, so I wound up at the hospital.

I learned even more about my body during my second birth.   Due to my inability to KNOW my body, and a recommendation by the obstetrician overseeing my birth, I had a Cesarean Section. My baby was persistent Occiput Posterior, and labor had started with my water breaking.I was in labor for over 24 hours, and  I was so tired I think I would have agreed to anything to get it over with. I believe I learned more about my body during my recovery time then I ever wanted to know, which was part of the reason why I ended up in that situation. I learned my body didn’t react well to anesthesia, or any drugs for that matter. I learned exactly how important sleep was to my body (during labor I went 24+ hours with no sleep due to my contractions). I learned there are SO very many nerve endings in your uterus (and how oh so painful it is to have them cut apart). I learned that there were so many consequences to my decision to agree to major surgery– emotional pain, as well as physical.

nerve endings firing

I learned that sometimes when your nerve endings are severed, they don’t grow back-so you experience fewer sensations in places that affect your sex life– for the rest of your life. I AM STILL ANGRY WITH MY DECISION TO AGREE TO A UNNECESSARY CESAREAN, AND FOR MY OB TO SUGGEST IT WITH NO MEDICAL REASON. A woman’s body is an amazing thing; it can tell you so many things if you just listen.

My third labor was really more emotionally enlightening about my body than anything. I learned that if I set my mind to something, my body could be coaxed into anything. Labor really is mind over matter. With Pitocin induced contractions, but my determination to NOT have any ill effects from anesthesia, I had a successful VBAC. I also learned my body does WAY better at controlling the contractions so I could deal with the rushes. You’ll have doctors, nurses and even some women tell you Pitocin induced contractions are just like natural labor— but they are LYING!

My fourth labor I learned the mind is such a powerful thing. I chose a home birth, and had so much stop and go labor that when labor really came, I had no idea I was in “real” labor. I cleaned the house, cooked breakfast, lunch, and dinner, while my husband was sick in bed. I learned exactly how much the mind can block out (I was in active labor, and didn’t realize it until I was 8cm, just 20 minutes before baby came).

My fifth labor I wanted to do alone. I did tons of research on birth, learned how to check my own cervix, I learned about the NFM (Natural Fertility Method), signs that might indicate a need to transfer, what to have in my birth kit, how to monitor ME and the baby. I couldn’t get my husband on board, though-so I reluctantly called the midwife who lived an hour away, and took THREE hours to get there. I labored alone and even though I could have delivered without her there, subconsciously I waited until the midwife got there, and baby was born 5 minutes after she arrived.

My sixth labor I decided that nobody was going to tell me how to labor. I wanted full control of my labor, my pregnancy, and the birth. I decided not to find out the gender of the baby (because I knew it would drive other people bananas not knowing, ha-ha). I did a couple prenatal appointments with an OB/Midwife-alternating due to hyperemesis, but never receiving full prenatal care (I did my own– tested my own urine, took my own blood pressure, monitored the baby, paid attention to my body (keeping track of headaches, what made me sick, checking for swelling) and just paid really close attention to my body in general. I felt so much bigger that pregnancy– and couldn’t figure out why. I had lots of back pain too– way more than regular. I learned so much about my body– [more about] what my cervix was, what it felt like, what position it was in.

At around 39 weeks I finally figured out why I had so much back pain. Something just didn’t feel right, as I checked my cervix and I knew what I was feeling wasn’t a head… our little one was breech! I automatically began reading, and researching about breech birth and also how to attempt to turn my little one. I prepared my husband for what I might need help with if baby was breech and what might happen (so he wouldn’t freak). At just 3 days before I gave birth (already past my due date at 41 weeks and 1 day), my little one decided to turn transverse. I worked on getting her completely turned, using many methods.  I went to bed with a fierce backache, but when I woke, baby had turned in my sleep. I am so glad I had not hired an OB, which would have suggested induction way before any of this took place. MY body knew baby wasn’t in the best position, so it held off to go into labor until AFTER baby decided to turn. My body had been yelling at me the entire pregnancy and once I listened, it responded!

On a side note, don’t EVER let an OB tell you that  a LARGE baby won’t move out of the breech position; my little one was NINE pounds, a whole 2 pounds heavier than any of our other children. She moved, just when SHE was ready, and with a little encouragement.