Mary Lou Singleton- Extended Interview

26 12 2016

Radical feminist motherhood was the topic of the last edition I worked on during my time with WLRN (Women’s Liberation Radio News), which I left after finishing this edition. Mary Lou Singleton is a friend and radical feminist, a midwife, a real activist who has been very involved in the fight for women’s reproductive and bodily rights spanning decades. I interviewed her and we discussed a variety of health topics revolving around how women attempt to take care of our bodies in a culture that devalues us as women and as mothers at an institutional and systemic level, which typically goes unquestioned, even amongst serious radical activists.

mary-louMary Lou is a member who has been on the board of directors for WoLF (Women’s Liberation Front) which is suing the US government over Title IX changes removing sex-based protections to include ambiguously, “gender identity”. She is also known for being one of the co-authors to the Open Letter to MANA (Midwives Alliance of North America) regarding their woman-erasing language. She is also one of the contributors to the new book, Female Erasure.

Since WLRN is not hosting the Extended Interview, I felt it needed a home. And, since I run this radical birth (and feminism) blog, I felt that this home could be here, and in honor of Mary Lou’s birthday today. She is a lovely human being and someone worth listening to. I find her to be brilliant in a way that is incomparable in today’s culture of line-toeing and newspeak, where even those who rebel against corrupt systems unwittingly play into them.

She will challenge your thoughts and provoke you to critically analyze your preconceived notions– even if you are already a radical. She talks about cognitive dissonance in liberation movements, how Planned Parenthood is actually a patriarchal organization, abortion access, “doula, inc.”, the significance of undisturbed unassisted birth, hormonal birth control and ejaculatory sex, vaccines and the medical industrial complex that extends into gender and childbirth and every facet of a woman’s existence– designed to separate women from their own fierceness. And, so much more.

For more from Mary Lou Singleton, check out the following links.

Are We Women or Are We Incubators?Feminist Current
On Sacred Biology (with Michelle Peixinho Smith) – Deep Green Resistance repost from Transition Radio
How the Gender Identity Movement is Hijacking the Fight for Reproductive SovereigntyThinking Differently, feminist conference, London 2016
I Was Warned About ‘Stop Patriarchy’On The Issues





The Importance of Excluding Onlookers From Freebirths

13 12 2013

If you’re going to be of service to women and want to be taken seriously, having a well-rounded education is important. There are many things you’ll want to know before you can safely feel adequate to provide “care”. One important thing to know on laboring women is, when it comes to witnessing their homebirth, UC (unassisted childbirth) is not a spectator sport.

ImageEven if you allege to be hands off, the problem of the observer is one hopefully known to all UCers and would-be UCers. It is one of the reasons (maybe even a main reason) why many women decide on freebirth at all. One of my favorite writers on natural birth, Michel Odent, talks frequently of the mammalian needs in birth. Of our four basic needs, privacy is one of them. Without it, the mother senses danger and this complicates the labor.

‘To give birth to her baby, the mother needs privacy. She needs to feel unobserved.” –Birth and Breastfeeding, Michel Odent. Any doula, midwife, or doctor should read this book. 

You can read more here: Do Not Disturb: The Importance of Privacy in Labor, Judith A. Lothian, RN, PhD, LCCE, FACCE, The Journal of Perinatal Education- Advancing Normal Birth, from the US National Library of Medicine- National Institutes of Health (PubMed Central). Sidenote: This link also discusses the fetal ejection reflex, for the interested.

Now some may argue that it is possible to give a woman a feeling (or an illusion) of privacy and still have onlookers or caregivers. I will not debate that at this time, but I will state that if one is trying to observe a birth to determine their own readiness to venture into the fields of midwifery and the like, this learning experience is a detriment to the mother.

“There is no privacy without a feeling of security.” –Birth and Breastfeeding, Odent.

Anything you bring into the birthing space, the mother can sense. Any fears, hesitations, reservations, doubts, lack of confidence, lack of understanding of anything, lack of skill, lack of intuition, she spots like a dog smells fear. She taps into her primal state and the neocortex (rational, human, intellectual thought) attempts to disengage. If she has the awareness in any aspect of her consciousness that you are here to test yourself, this can generate feelings of insecurity in the mother. This is particularly true if you are not in an intimate relationship with her. Feelings of insecurity and lack of privacy will, again, complicate labor.

“Most women who understand what is going on are keen observers not only of their own actions, but of the reactions of those about them to every fresh event or incident. I have laid stress upon the sensitiveness of the mind of a parturient woman; if you wish to deceive them, you will fail.”

Confidence rests upon the knowledge of perfect preparation.”

“During labor, women spot doubt in a doctor’s mind as quickly as a kestrel sees a rat in the stubble… However good an actor or however suave a humbug, confidence has no counterfeit.” – these quotes from Childbirth Without Fear, Grantly Dick-Read.

The woman in labor, sensing any lack or fear on the part of anyone present, is hormonally receptive to those suggestions. This initiates the Fear-Tension-Pain cycle. Labor becomes hard or even dangerous for woman and child.

It is more important that we honor and respect the birthing space of the laboring woman and her most basic, primal needs as a mammal than to use her as a test subject for our own reassurance and education.

There are other ways we will be able to give ourselves a proper education on birth and physiology in order to ascertain in what capacity we may be of assistance to birthing women. Like the saying goes, “reading is fundamental”. I urge people to read, read, read, and learn everything they possibly can about true physiological, natural birth and the actual needs of a birthing woman in labor.

Privacy is one very basic and simple method of providing safety in the birth space of a well-prepared woman. We live in a culture, though, where the most basic methods of prevention are overlooked in favor of the most technical hands-on repairs we can put our logical minds to. But, what if we could avoid those dilemmas?

For example– Instead of relying on knowledge of which massage, drug, or herb will treat a post partum hemorrhage, what about understanding the seemingly invisible causes? The brain-body connection has a lot to do with our most commonly feared childbirth complications, and yet our culture does precious little to recognize and avoid creating the issues to begin with. We must look to the interconnectedness of our systems, hormonal responses to environment and stimuli, etc. If we were to know the birth process from an unhindered, natural, physiological perspective, know the stages of labor through all non-intrusive signs, and respect the mother’s primal birth space needs, our shopping lists and interference levels would dramatically decrease. Healthy, normal births would be the result.

I have noticed that there are many UCers or those researching UC are preoccupied with the fix-it methods, though. They read almost exclusively midwifery and obstetrics texts (if they read at all), they focus on which tools or drugs or herbs can be used in a pinch to solve a dilemma or crisis. In the process, we are neglecting the very root of why freebirth is so important– the undisturbed aspect of birth only it can provide. When we more fully grasp what is primal and physiological, our tools and medicines become more and more useless and unnecessary. This is  such a worthy goal! To lose sight of that and to attempt to mimic health care professionals in all regards in many ways defeats the purpose. We aren’t trying to take over their work, we are trying to transcend their methods.

In other words… If I wanted a medical approach to my care, I would hire a medical professional. But, I digress. Because I associate onlooking with interference, I have touched upon the issue of hands-on as relating to eyes-on. Getting back on track–

For anyone questioning if they could handle the pressure of attending births for a living, I would strongly advise they find their confidence elsewhere than at a woman’s freebirth. I would suggest educating oneself to the utmost of one’s abilities, reading books like the ones quoted here (as opposed to a lot of the more mainstream, feel-good, interference-happy “natural birth” literature). I would recommend reading things which are very pro-unassisted childbirth, where lack of attendants is understood and encouraged on a scientific level, because this will provide technical and biological knowledge and a foundation for what makes this birth safe. That is knowledge that would become confidence-instilling for anyone of the right composition to attend women.

Even starting as a trusted doula for attended births of people you are personally close with (at home or in hospital) can give one an idea of their own abilities. Anything… anything to avoid adding hindrance to what could otherwise be an undisturbed birth. This would be one of the gravest insults to natural birth and the natural birthing woman. The needs of a woman in birth are more important than any education we hope to glean from their experience for our own gain.

In order to properly care for a woman, we must first be able to put her needs above our own wants. Anyone unwilling to do that already has the answer to their own question– they are not prepared to attend her. Let us not behave the way that doctors have which caused us to leave the hospital environment in the first place.

“Every woman is different, and so are her needs in childbirth,” you might say. Yes and no. Psychologically every woman is different. The complex thought processes that make up our personalities and make us especially human varies. On the primal level, however, all of our needs are the same.

We are all mammals, we have built-in instincts designed to protect ourselves and the species. We do not deny our other needs as “individual”– whether a woman needs food, water, oxygen, sleep, and shelter is not up for debate based on her individuality. We all require these things as our physiology dictates. As mammals, we have physiological and hormonal reactions to childbirth events and our environment– even over the subtlest of things– that may go unrecognized or misunderstood to the untrained eye. Since it is the primal nature which gives birth, not who we are psychologically, it is the primal which we should be careful to honor!

What a woman chooses is her right, but it sometimes becomes a battle of what she is willing to partake in on the psychological level versus her most primitive instincts. I would not want to battle with the instincts, personally. You cannot reason with them.

So, even if a woman planning a homebirth or freebirth is gracious enough to invite someone to her birth as an observer or onlooker, this does not mean it will not in some way have a negative impact on her birth. A woman would be unfair to herself to promise someone that she would be comfortable with their presence (and it would be unfair for the onlooker to accept, with that knowledge). The primal need for privacy and the intuition of the laboring woman will strongly overtake most conscious psychological desires she has to be sharing, educational, brave, outgoing, or accommodating. Even a peaceful, knowledgeable, and experienced freebirther may find such an invitation to be a naive and inhibiting undertaking in hindsight. Whether it becomes merely a nuisance or precipitates a crisis, the would-be birth attendant must ask themselves, “is it worth it?”

Anyone considering UC for themselves should likewise acknowledge and honor their deepest needs in childbirth and respect the science of the process. This is the way you give yourself the best, safest chance at the healthiest birth.





I Call For a Return to Primal Birth Wisdom

22 10 2013
from La Razón

from La Razón

Woman in Mexico gives birth on the lawn of the hospital after they refused to admit her while in labor, telling her to come back tomorrow. Irma Lopez was obviously planning a hospital birth, and so understandably was fearful of this unplanned UC. NOT the ideal, at all.

“I didn’t want to deliver like this. It was so ugly and with so much pain,” Lopez told the Associated Press.

Apparently this is an example of the treatment indigenous people in her area are accustomed to. A lot of them are “forced to give birth at home”… wouldn’t it be great if we could help them give birth at home, wean them from a system that mistreats them and which they don’t need? Wouldn’t it be great if we could reconnect them to primal, natural birth so they could actually deliver with less pain and more joy? And there’s an excellent chance we could help them have better success and health in childbirth in terms of outcome, too.

In America, there is a similar problem with the indigenous and minorities receiving less than stellar hospital treatment, having higher maternal/infant mortality and morbidity rates than those in the majority, etc. The assumed connection is that their lives are treated with less value. They are not taken as seriously. It could be argued that their quality of life during pregnancy suffers when compared to the majority, which contributes to poorer birth outcomes, and this also may play some part. Either way, it becomes a racial/cultural/socioeconomic issue that we need to address. This is where birth being an issue of feminism, human rights, and racism all coincide.

Can we foster autonomy for women in childbirth which is rooted in the return to traditional wisdom? Can we re-emphasize the solemnity of birth and honoring your inner wisdom and instinct? Do we do this merely by trying to spread the word?

If so, let’s try.

At the very least, if every woman (regardless of background) were prepared for an unassisted birth (even just in the event that help is not available), she could do so in a much more calm and less feared way than this poor woman endured.

Here, print this book out. It’s a great start.

The following are excerpts from Red Medicine: Traditional Indigenous Rites of Birthing and Healing, by Patrisia Gonzales (which can be purchased here, courtesy of The University of Arizona).

This Indigenous woman’s declaration of the sacred act of birth as a ceremony led me into a terrain of practices, of forms and symbols surrounding birthing squats, of umbilical cords, placentas, and trees of life as I looked for further expressions of this ceremonial knowledge.

During ceremony, we must rely on something beyond our cognizant powers and allow spiritual matter to appear, produce, recede, return.

As I helped Native women birth at home or in hospitals and clinics, the reminders that birth in North America has become increasingly medicalized would present themselves in phone calls. A Native woman would want help to prevent a threatened induction because Western time measurements that dictate clinical protocols asserted that she was overdue…

In the 1970s, US women challenged the medical model of pregnancy and childbirth as they sought to reinstate lay midwifery and traditional midwifery care, which had been banned or made illegal in numerous states from the 1940s onward. Indigenous communities especially experienced a loss of communal ownership and a loss of individual sovereignty for women and families as births moved from home to clinics and hospitals. The ceremonial knowledge surrounding birth became restricted by clinical settings and protocols. And yet, as I would explain my research to Indigenous elders and ceremonial leaders, they would nod quite matterof- factly that “birth is a ceremony”-as if it were so obvious it did not need to be stated.

I have interviewed hundreds of elders from across the Americas regarding Indigenous knowledge, establishing a narrative record of ancestral memories. Beyond the medicine of words, I also began to learn and follow medicinal teachings, exposed again to the teachings of numerous elders.

These birthing narratives demonstrate an Indigenous understanding of birth as a process that is larger than delivery of a baby.

These symbols reveal how pre-Columbian peoples associated sacred powers with birth, particularly feminine powers. These powers continue to be called upon.

“For Gonzales, a central guiding force in Red Medicine is the principal of regeneration as it is manifested in Spiderwoman. Dating to Pre-Columbian times, the Mesoamerican Weaver/Spiderwoman—the guardian of birth, medicine, and purification rites such as the Nahua sweat bath—exemplifies the interconnected process of rebalancing that transpires throughout life in mental, spiritual and physical manifestations. Gonzales also explains how dreaming is a form of diagnosing in traditional Indigenous medicine and how Indigenous concepts of the body provide insight into healing various kinds of trauma.

Gonzales links pre-Columbian thought to contemporary healing practices by examining ancient symbols and their relation to current curative knowledges among Indigenous peoples. Red Medicine suggests that Indigenous healing systems can usefully point contemporary people back to ancestral teachings and help them reconnect to the dynamics of the natural world. ”





A Peaceful Birth For Christmas

29 11 2012

Would you like to give the gift of comfortable birth freedom this holiday season? Now you can. Of all charitable donations you could possibly make, this one might be the most personal and hit closest to home.

Give Birth Freedom for Christmas, Click here

Maria is expecting right around Christmas Day, and just like the Virgin Mary, she is looking for a room for the night. Also like the Virgin Mary, Maria gives birth unassisted. She is not a first time mother and is experienced. She just needs our help to make it happen.

Maria will be staying at a hotel (in the USA). We will not be disclosing specifics to protect Maria and to protect her birth from interference. Her hotel will have a fridge and will cost over $100 a night. She will need at least one night, but if we raise any extra $, it will go towards Maria having more time at the hotel for rest or in case of longer labor. Maria’s hotel will be 2 minutes from the nearest hospital in case of need. She has a local back up OB with privileges at all the local hospitals.

Why the Need?
She does not live alone. Maria had to move into her current home after Hurricane Sandy. Maria’s living environment includes individuals who are non-supportive of the homebirth she seeks, and any attempts to do so would result in interference.

What We Need (Needed: Donations & Volunteers)
One Hotel Room for at least one day (monetary donations; plus tax; we also factor in the fees they charge for us to accept funds in this fundraiser)
Bonus: Extra days in the hotel (monetary donations)
Bonus: food dehydrator (donations of product or $– please contact us if you‘d like to gift the item; these cost around $130; plus shipping costs)
One Treasurer: an additional person with access to the fund who volunteers to make themselves available to myself and Maria when she needs us for the birth. Must be on-call, and must either provide Maria & I her phone # for text or call at any time of day or night, promising to be try to always be reachable. Alternatively, must be reachable by Facebook and constantly accessible by us (preferably via phone app, with immediate and reliable notification abilities). Please e-mail info@theperfectbirth.com to inquire about helping.

Maria’s baby at 15 weeks

How the Money Will Be Used
Once we have enough for the room, it will sit in the fund until needed. Any additional after that will go towards a food dehydrator, which Maria will use for treating the placenta. The money allotted for this will be used to immediately purchase and ship one to her so she will have it on hand when needed. Any additional after that will go towards extra nights in the hotel.

Myself and one other Treasurer (needed, see above) will be contacted by Maria when she is starting labor and ready to check in. Either of us will then immediately book the room for her.

She’s already at 36 weeks, so please make your donations today in case the baby comes early!

Click Here to donate to birth freedom for Christmas, now. Thank you and have a wonderful, warm, comfortable, loved-filled season.

The fine print:  Maria has stated and it is on record that she is solely responsible for this birth. She has in writing removed all liability or responsibility from myself and anyone else donating or participating in this fundraiser.





Medicine Vs. Midwifery: Divide & Conquer

7 06 2012

The stage:  North Carolina.

The background: Women have just lost the opportunity to birth legally with midwife attendants at home.

The scene:  One midwife, CNM Deb O’Connell, shuts her doors. It’s a sad day for women of her state, she laments. With no doctor to back her practice, she is moving on. But what you may not know is that Deb did this to herself.


Deb is associated with an infamous retired OB who spends her days blogging about how stupid homebirth is. Deb is a member of a group that proudly claims they are fed up with natural birth. And Deb chased down loss mother Michelle on my page just to dig into her about her own homebirth loss, and her peaceful attitude toward it, because it really irked the hell out of her clique friends.

Before I go any further, this is not a post to pick on Deb. I’ve seen that happen for others already at the hands of Deb and her friends, and I think it’s ugly and it sucks. I certainly don’t want to be mean or unfair, but I also think it’s something I should talk about, so I’ll try to do it as civilly as I can. If you want to understand the political climate of birth today, you have to discuss the players, who they align with, and what they profess to believe. I’ll be accused of picking on her, or delivering a low blow, but I promise I will be kinder than I’ve seen them extend to others. Unfortunately, the group I mention often lays mercilessly into anyone they disagree with, but the moment a single one of their own comes under scrutiny or criticism, suddenly they become the morality police. All things considered, I assure you this is not about retribution. I’m examining something I find peculiar and shedding light on what is really going on here. That’s my intent.

I understand that the internet gives most of us a disconnect from who we speak to plus an extra set of balls, but care should be exercised with our words, particularly by professionals who are supposed to have sensitivity and compassion. I think sometimes tone is misunderstood, too. Let me apologize in advance, in case I misunderstood anyone’s words or intent, and I welcome the opportunity to be corrected.

North Carolina recently lost a number of babies during homebirths, I understand. This caused alarm and attentiveness in the medical community. Although, they were itching for a reason; the Board of Medicine was reportedly seeking reports of homebirth horror stories. Just days before her own birth, Michelle’s midwife dismissed herself from Michelle’s care, resulting in a horrifying birth— repeat C-section hospital experience she felt forced to endure.

Michelle has had both CNMs and CPMs. These are two classifications of midwifery. The first requires one to have nurse training first. It is arguably more “educated”. Some consider it only more medicalized, and thus less desirable. The latter requires independent midwifery training, typically lasting several years. Different states vary in their requirements for that credential, and some people consider the credential a joke. Others are thankful for the option to use someone who is more naturalistic, holistic, and not a “medwife”. To each her own. Due diligence, follow your instinct, and all that jazz.

Now this is the part where I remind you that I am not even a “fan” of midwives. Why? Read my book and you’ll see why. My most horrific birth was under the care of homebirth midwives. But I’ll tell you what I am a fan of:  choice. Just because I want every woman to be spared of the horror that I felt in my second birth does NOT give me the right to crusade against removing a woman’s right to birth with a midwife– ANY classification of midwife– if she so chooses.  I have the right to tell my story, to have a Facebook page and a book explaining my point of view, and let women make their own choices from there. What you do with that is up to you. Either I move you or I don’t. Either you believe me or you don’t. I’d be taking it too far and wasting my time if I picketed against midwives or hospitals. So, although I’m not promoting midwife use at all (CNM, CPM, at home, or in hospital), I sure find myself defending them all the damn time against staunch anti- groups.

You could say the removal of legal homebirth midwifery was a “win” for me, the UC “evangelist”. More appropriate would be to say it’s a win for the infamous retired OB. Although neither one of us promotes the use of homebirth midwives, one main difference between she and I is that I strongly feel that loss of choice and options is not the way to keep people safe. The best way to keep people safe is to provide them as many safe and healthy and legal options as possible, try to put the information out there, hope they educate themselves, and let them make their own choices. Neither Amy nor I can make anyone feel what we feel. And it is about feeling, not fact. When you break things down enough, the line between fact and opinion becomes really blurry (after all), doesn’t it? Forcing anyone into anything is more likely to lead to true recklessness and rebellion, panic, illegal and less safe means, etc. Eradicating any form of midwifery then is, in my opinion, foolish.

So, Deb and Amy and all their closest internet friends storm the web talking about the dangers of homebirth, how natural birth ain’t all that, and make fun of people who are “anti-science” (read: not automatically faithful of and loyal to pharmacy, technology, and medicine— in other words, questioners), yet now there is an upset because Deb in particular is forced to close her doors. After I’ve seen the way she has treated women, I would think this is actually a positive that she is no longer in a position to serve. To me, the utter lack of respect I have seen from those with the title of midwife, doula, nurse, grief mentor, or doctor leaves me in indignant disbelief.  Those people don’t need to be “serving” women, if that’s what you call serving. But to not put 2 and 2 together and figure out that one’s own attitude led to one’s own downfall is beyond me!

A lot of generalities and assumptions are flying around, and they are really only divisive. CPMs are shitty. Homebirth is stupid and reckless. Michelle’s loss was preventable. CNMs are good. I think it’s obvious after seeing what happened in North Carolina that when you sweepingly say that one type or one practice is unsafe, you’re condemning a hell of a lot of people you know nothing about. Stillbirths happen, tragic births happen, but we already know that. It doesn’t change the fact that people deserve the right to choose their birth, anyway. It doesn’t matter if you agree or not. Deb is a CNM and doesn’t approve of CPMs from a professional or ideological standpoint. That’s fine, she’s entitled to that, and I don’t care about that. Amy believes that all homebirth is stupid and reckless. She’s entitled to that, and I don’t care about that. Forcing your beliefs, your ideology, on others is what I care about. What I care about is the intense rallying I keep seeing against either homebirth, natural birth, or CPM birth. When you rally your support behind people who are so against the removal of a choice, do not be so surprised when your own goes, too. When you play with fire, expect to be burned. Duh!

To Deb O’Connell, formerly of Carrboro Midwifery, she probably feels that the baby got thrown out with the bathwater. Her buddy Amy, who thinks homebirth is for morons, I can only assume feels North Carolina finally got something right. Then again, she also feels that gays are selfish to parent and that women should stay with men who beat them (for the children!) or they are selfish, so I don’t know why anyone puts much stock in her “professional” 1990s OB opinion. It’s slanted, anti-woman, and frankly, passé.

Let me let you in on a little secret… most normal, average women choosing a midwife have no real preference or concern over which letters follow their names. I know I didn’t even know the difference when I first started with midwives. What I cared about was that I could tell they were professional, compassionate, and a good fit for my family. I had to think they deserved my trust and respect, and a lot of that is instinctive (believing whether or not you can count on someone). I can tell right away if someone is unprofessional or lacking education. It’s part of the reason I dumped a new set of midwives on pregnancy #3 (ironically, they were CNMs). It doesn’t matter whether I was right or wrong to choose the midwives I did (that’s on MY head, anyway), because how I felt about my births has nothing to do with their midwife classification. It was about me, Elizabeth, the person, and who they were as people. Letters after a name cannot tell you whether someone is competent, caring, or respectful. That can only be ascertained on an individual basis. Michelle realized that, too, about her loss, and she has been hounded about it ever since (by this group).

So, most natural birthers really do not worry nor care what classification their caregiver falls under. Both credentials come with immersing education. Yet, a war is being manufactured pitting CPM against CNM. The real war is big medicine versus midwifery. A common tactic in any war is divide and conquer. You pit them against one another and let them do the work of unraveling themselves. “A house divided against itself will fall.” And so, now when the inevitable happens– a loss of all types of (legal) homebirth midwifery– why were any involved foolish enough to believe they were exempt from the chopping block? Didn’t they recognize that this was the goal all along? I argue that midwives are being played like pawns, and this is the result. They’ve had to struggle so long to be viewed as professionals in their own right, and now their weakness is being used against them. It’s pitiful.

Know your real enemy, because if you aren’t careful, next time it could be you losing your rights. So, North Carolina, I am so terribly sorry for your removal of legal choice. I know that in some regards, you were done a favor… someone(s) who was misrepresenting herself and aligning with people who are enemies of choice is taken out of the equation. However, so was everything else. Now it’s a doc, UC, or a renegade midwife. Which will you choose?

 

 

 

 

 

 

“Don’t waste your time, Elizabeth.”… So I put it all in a delightful blog! 🙂
CLICK this image to sign this petition: North Carolina Medical Board: Allow Physicians to continue supervising homebirth CNMs in NC

 





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. 😉





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.