Posts Tagged ‘home birth’

So You’re In Early Labor. Now What?

Monday, April 24th, 2017

 

One night, you are awakened from slumber at the beck and call of your compressed bladder. No, wait. That’s not it. There’s a crampy tightness that feels familiar. Where have you felt that before?

Menstrual cramps! It feels crampy. Weird. You decide to get up and move to the bathroom. After a few minutes, you get back and bed and feel more cramps. Hm. Weird.

Could this be it? It could be! This is it! You’re finally in early labor!

You know this because the contractions are coming, no matter what you do. You’ve had a big glass of water. You’ve gotten up to pee. You’ve had a snack. You’re content to let the rest of your house rest while you anticipate the birth day to come.

So you’re in early labor. Now what?

You think back to what your midwife told you, and you remember that she gave you several things to do during this slow building time.

  1. Let Your Midwife Know. As soon as you know you’re definitely in labor, she’ll want to know. She or her assistant might swing by to check on you and baby, or just triage you over the phone, depending on what’s happening and your needs.
  2. Rest. This is not the time to try and “get things moving” by taking a long walk, doing nipple stim, or anything else that is supposed to speed things along. This is the time to conserve energy. If you can talk through your contractions, you can sleep through them.
  3. Eat & Drink. Whatever time your labor starts, eat normally. One good meal is often enough to sustain you through the work to come. No food is off-limits, though it’s wise to keep in mind that you may throw up, so avoiding choking hazards or harsh foods might be a good idea. Comfort foods are wholesome, nourishing, and encourage happy hormones. Also, keep drinking. Water, juices, herbal teas that you enjoy, smoothies, and broth are all great candidates. Whatever sounds good.
  4. Do Life. There is no reason to put off that quick trip to the store to get milk and bread, or going to the movies. There is no reason to go out if you didn’t plan to, but just going about your day, doing your best to ignore what’s happening. At this point, it’s really no big deal, and it helps your progress if you can be content, happy, and moving.
  5. Distract Yourself. Sometimes, especially when it’s your first baby, it’s so hard to keep your mind off your contractions. But the rule of thumb is that you must ignore them until they demand all of your attention, whether you like it or not. Conserving energy in early labor is paramount! Don’t use breathing or coping techniques from your classes yet either. They contribute to the sense of time, and can make you far more tired than you need to be. Instead, watch funny movies, go to the park, go out on a date with your partner, bake a birthday cake, start a slow cooker meal for after the birth, or call a friend to chat.

I like to tell people to “be in denial” about their labor until their labor gets all up in their face! Just take care of yourself, pretend like everything is normal, that nothing is going on, and let your body keep the secret just a little while longer. You will be shouting to the world in your own way soon enough, so save your breath. Smile. 

“To move into active labor, a woman must give up ideas of how she thought labor might be; in other words, she must surrender.” ~Elizabeth Davis in Heart & Hands

Open up to the path your labor has chosen, and surrender time.

Grace & Peace,
Tiff

Your Job Must Be So Fun!

Tuesday, August 23rd, 2016

baby looking at title, your job must be so fun
This is the most common response I get when I share with someone what I do for a living. When I share that I’m growing into midwifery.

If all we did was snuggle babies and drink margaritas, I suppose this statement might be true.

But this job isn’t all baby snuggles, and it rarely involves even a chance at a margarita.

Fulfilling? Yes.

Rewarding? Absolutely.

Fun? Not so much.

That word, in fact, minimizes what midwives do. It reduces it to the same level of a weekend hobby. Is there joy in this work? More often than not, yes. While the joy inherent in this work is a big part of what sustains a midwife in the long haul, there is so much more to it. There is a hidden side of midwifery that many don’t see or understand, and it is this hidden side that flashes before my eyes when someone comments that my job must be “so fun.”

This is not a job anyone signs up for to have fun. This is a job we sign up for because we are compelled. It is an irrevocable call on our lives.

As Desirre says, “It’s a calling that follows you around until it catches you.” We often don’t even realize it’s our calling until one day we awake to the startling discovery that we cannot escape what we are meant to do. And what we are meant to do is to be “with woman.”

We are meant to be midwives.

Like the “witches” and wise women of old who quietly served women and their babies with dignity and a deep knowledge passed down over time. It is our inheritance, and it carries with it the weight of responsibility, accountability, and power. The calling of midwifery is inescapable for those who hear it, and insurmountable for those who only wish to.

It is “fun” for no one.

There is, however, fun within the work. Laughter and joy are bricks in the foundation, and this work could not be done sustainably without them. The joy of watching a father’s eyes light up at the first sound of that pattering heartbeat. The laughter when big sister has to have her tummy measured too, or big brother insists on helping us hold the Doppler.

Of course, there’s the ultimate culmination of joy, the crowning glory, when that slippery wet tiny human is lifted into a mother’s arms, ready to meet the great wide world. The moment heaven itself pauses to rejoice at another everyday miracle.

The arrival of a new soul on Planet Earth is no small thing. It is a great mystery and marvel, and it is midwives who have always been there, very near the heart of it all, acting as ushers and servants making way for the tiny new being and his mother to step into life together.

Fun?

No.

Miraculous, joyful, powerful, fulfilling, important? Yes.

Ultimately, this work is eternal, impacting future generations forever. And that is a weighty thing, not to be taken on for anything less than a deep and abiding call.

Grace & Peace,
Tiffany
Student Midwife

30 Days of Gratitude, day 18: Scrubs.

Wednesday, November 18th, 2015

thankful 2015 day 18Scrubs. Those ubiquitous uniforms worn by most health care workers. Whether they are hospital issued, color-coded for security, or fun designs to please the kiddos, they are a genius invention.

Today, I am thankful for scrubs.

Many midwives don’t feel quite comfortable wearing them to births, as they feel it brings a too-clinical/medical air to the home birth environment. I get that, in some ways, and can empathize. However, I happen to disagree.

Here are a few reasons why:

1) I have yet to meet a mother who takes issue with scrubs being worn in her home. (That’s not to say there aren’t any, just that it doesn’t seem to be the norm in our area. I’m sure I would accommodate if a request were made. Though, I’d insist on the pants at least…)

2) Our job is, in fact, clinical. It just happens to come from an entirely different worldview and care model. A midwife’s responsibility is still rooted in clinical health and safety, though it goes far beyond that into supporting wellness. It makes sense to wear clinical duds.

3) At a birth, we are often likely to be “baptized” with various bodily fluids, and you can’t beat a good pair of scrubs for drying time. Not even a bathing suit dries faster. I can’t imagine having to finish work at a birth in sopping wet jeans.

4) They are snazzy. We can express ourselves with the wide variety of options available though I have yet to find TARDIS scrubs…help me out?

5) They are easy to clean. Seriously. It’s like they’re incapable of holding stains. So, I can essentially guarantee that I will look professional.

Their only downside? Those elastic waistbands like to migrate downwards. A lot. So, midwife’s crack might be a thing. Totally worth it, though.

What are you thankful for this fine fall day?

Warmly,
Tiffany Miller
Childbirth Educator, Student Midwife

30 Days of Gratitude, Day 6: A Warm Bed

Friday, November 6th, 2015

thankful 2015 day 6The days may have been warm, but the nights are getting pretty darn chilly in these parts, so we are all finding ourselves thankful for our warm beds. There is nothing more satisfying to on-call birth professionals than falling into our own warm bed after an all-nighter. Except, maybe, that first cup of coffee upon awakening. I think it might be a tie.

“It includes lots of my favorite things: my pillow, quilts, sleeping, and (usually) solitude,” quothe Erin, one of our midwife assistants and childbirth educators.

I think it’s safe to say that it goes for all of us.

Beds are incredible places, full of dreams, cuddles, and the cool side of the pillow. Our beds are our havens. Some of us have a little coffee station close by, so as to be able to drink that first cuppa without leaving the cozy sanctuary.

Some have beds full to the brim with children, those natural hot water bottles of cuteness.

Some have beds that move, making reading in bed more luxurious, and lower back pain less noticeable.

Many have bedside tables stacked with books, and have a hard time choosing which ones we’ll be reading from evening to evening.

Some have our beds gloriously to ourselves, and it has become our haven when we are overstimulated and touched out from a day caring for other humans–whether they be our own tiny humans, or our clients is immaterial.

Beds, beds, glorious beds on a cold and biting autumn night, or a crisp day after a long birth. They are things of beauty, whether made or unmade, spartan or covered in fancy pillows, king size or queen or full or twin. They are our beds, and we thank God for them on this lovely day in November.

What are you thankful for today?

Warmly (possibly from my bed),
Tiffany Miller
Student Midwife, Childbirth Educator

30 Days of Gratitude, Day 3: Community

Tuesday, November 3rd, 2015

thankful 2015 day 2Today, Team Preparing for Birth is grateful for the community of birth professionals and birthing families here. We have a special dynamic in the Colorado Springs area, thanks to a few pioneers of community building here–Desirre Andrews among the most vocal supporters of a unified community for her entire career. She says:

We live in a unique region that has excellent in-person and online connecting points for pregnant and postpartum families. Midwifery care for home or hospital birth is readily available. There are all types of doulas, several educational options, and fantastic lactation support accessible locally.

I’m thrilled to have Preparing For Birth as part of this thriving community since January 2003.

Specifically, Desirre has cultivated a strong community in the Preparing for Birth office space. We share our space with three other midwives and their assistants, as well as childbirth/breastfeeding educators, and a doula. (I’ll save those for another post!)

The four midwives confer regularly, share the client load when needed, and back each other up regularly. This is one of the safest ways to offer home birth, for both our clients and the midwives. Desirre has worked hard to build a solid foundation, and it proved itself invaluable this year. It was a tough year for all the midwives in the office, but they have walked it with grace, unity, and a stalwart courage I have never seen the equal of.

I am proud and grateful to be a part of the community here, and I hope to contribute to its structure as I grow in my own career as a midwife.

It’s Day 3. What are you grateful for today? Share in the comments, and link to your own blog post, if you have one!

Warmly,
Tiffany Miller
Childbirth Educator, Student Midwife

Fall Childbirth Class Schedule

Wednesday, August 5th, 2015

Fall Childbirth Class in Colorado Springs
Thanks so much for your patience as I took a break from blogging while I was away at the CAPPA conference in Tucson, then hit the ground running with several births nearly as soon as I landed back in the Springs! That said, we are gearing up for a busy season.

Our fall childbirth classes are on the calendar, which you can check out HERE.

What I want to highlight are the names of our Saturday workshops. Since we began offering them in the spring, I have gotten a lot of helpful, specific feedback from Saturday students, and am excited to offer our new “Tool Kit” Saturday schedule!

It’s shorter. It’s sweeter. It’s more relevant than ever.

Plus, we have way more fun than is probably good for any of us!

Here’s the nutshell version of each new Tool Kit class:

  • Early Pregnancy Tool Kit: Nutrition, fitness, specialty diets, what to expect in the 1st and 2nd trimesters, care providers, and birth locations.
  • The Natural Birth Tool Kit: Planning a natural or home birth? This is the class that will equip you to handle labor, birth, and that first “golden” hour.
  • The Epidural Tool Kit: Planning to have an epidural? This is the class just for you! What you can expect, how it all works together, and that first “golden” hour.
  • The Newborn Care Tool Kit: More than just diapering, this class covers what you really need to know about your “4th Trimester.” Getting out of the house, parenting styles, babywearing, bonding, and more.
  • The Postpartum Tool Kit: This class covers topics rarely discussed. Relationships, family planning, emotional/mental health, and even basic logistics.
  • The Breastfeeding Tool Kit: Everything you need to know from nipples to normal feeding to nursing in public. Bonus: This class is for your partner too!

We also have some fabulous specialty “Tool Kit” classes:

  • The VBAC Tool Kit: This class is especially geared for those going for a vaginal birth after cesarean(s). The nuts and bolts of stacking the deck in your favor, no matter where you are choosing to give birth.
  • The Teen Tool Kit: This class is in the works, so stay tuned for the first scheduled appearance! It will be a two- or four-week Tool Kit just for teen moms and their support partner(s). We’ll cover the basics of coping with labor, breastfeeding, and sex ed.

Also – we are so excited to be planning the first ever Preparing for Birth Trunk-or-Treat on Halloween this year! Watch for details as we let our nerd selves loose in a Comic-con style costume party! Sherlock, Doctor Who, Lord of the Rings, Harry Potter, Stark Trek, Star Wars, and more! Bring the kids, get your blooming belly painted, and get your geek on with us!

Thanks for hanging around!

Warmly,
Desirre & Tiffany

This is where your pregnancy comes in!

Monday, May 4th, 2015

childbirth classes
We at Preparing for Birth are always striving to be more and more relevant to our clients and students, and we cannot do that without input from you! We are starting up the ol’ blog again, but we would rather not write about anything that you are not interested in. Of course, we want to cover new ground as more and more new evidence and information come to light, but it’s always nice to revisit topics that are key to you, our readers.

So, would you be so kind as to share in the comments what topics you are most interested in reading more about? Here are some ideas to get you started:

 

  • Doulas: Labor, antepartum, postpartum, and more.
  • Informed consent and conscious agreement.
  • Pregnancy myths debunked.
  • Home birth and midwifery.
  • Client and student birth stories.
  • Photos and videos.
  • Podcasts.
  • Book and product reviews.
  • Birth art/poetry/music.
  • Childbirth education.
  • Tips, tricks, and hacks for pregnancy, labor, birth, postpartum, and newborns.
  • Babywearing.
  • Breastfeeding myths.
  • Pregnancy fitness.
  • Pregnancy & special food needs (vegan, paleo, etc).

What else would you add? This is where you come in! Leave a comment, and share what you would like to read about here!

NEW Class Schedule at Preparing For Birth!

Tuesday, April 28th, 2015

Click to go to registration page!

Click to go to registration page!

Have you registered yet? We are accepting registrations for our May/June and July/August classes! Register for July/August classes by June 1st, and receive an early-bird thank you gift!

Here’s what our Tuesday night line-up looks like:

    Essentials for Childbirth 4-week Series

  • May 5th-26th
  • July 7th-28th
  • Essentials for Postpartum 4-week Series

  • June 2nd-23rd
  • August 4th-25th

Wondering About Weekend Options?

    Early Pregnancy Workshop*

  • May 9th
  • July 11th
  • Essentials for Childbirth Condensed

  • May 16th
  • July 18th
  • Life With Baby

  • May 23rd
  • July 25th
  • Essentials for Postpartum Condensed

  • May 30th
  • August 1st
  • Basics of Breastfeeding

  • June 6th
  • August 8th

Specialty Workshops (COMING SOON!)

  • VBAC Intensive Workshop
  • Embrace Grace Childbirth Essentials
  • And more!

While we’re at it – I want to hear from YOU! Since we’re starting up the ol’ blog again, I want to know what topics YOU are most interested in! What would you like Team Preparing for Birth to write about?

I’d like to open with a Q & A series. Email any question you have regarding home birth, midwifery, doulas, childbirth education, pregnancy, labor & birth, breastfeeding, and/or pregnancy fitness to tiffany@prepforbirth.com, and we will answer all your questions in series over the next several weeks.

Grace & Peace,
Tiffany

Interviewing Your Home Birth Midwife

Thursday, September 22nd, 2011

Interview Questions

  •  Why are you a midwife?
  •  What is your training? Are you certified? If yes, with whom and why? If no, why not?
  •  Are you licensed in the state of _____?
  •  What is your scope of practice?
  •  Are there any circumstances (physical, emotional, and/or spiritual) would you not take a woman as a patient?
  •  When would you risk out a patient?
  •  What is your style of practice (laid back, hands on, managing)?
  •  How much time will be spent with me during each appointment? Do you come to my home or do I come to your office?
  •  At what intervals will you see me during pregnancy?
  •  What can I expect at a prenatal visit?
  •  What routine tests are utilized during pregnancy? What if I decline these tests?
  •  What herbs or supplements do you like your patients taking during pregnancy?
  • At what point in labor do you normally arrive?
  • What positions are you comfortable catching in? Birth stool? Hand/Knees? Squatting? Standing? Water?
  • What does your cord clamping protocol look like?
  •  What do you do in the event a complication arises during labor or birth?
  • When would you transfer a patient?
  • What percentage of your patients do you transfer to the hospital? Cesarean rate?
  •  How are post-dates (post-42 weeks) handled in your practice?
  •  Do you ever encourage induction by pharmaceutical, herbal, AROM or other natural means? If yes, please describe.
  • What does postpartum care look like for me and my baby?
  • Do you have a midwifery student or an assistant that attends births with you? If so, what is her role?
  •  Who would attend me if you are ill, had an emergency or are at another birth?
  •  Briefly please describe the types of births you are most and least experienced with.
  • What if I hire a doula? Are there restrictions on the doula I may hire? If yes, why? What is your perception of the role of a doula at a home birth?
  • Do you have a back-up physician?
  • What do your fees cover?
  • Do you take any insurances?
  • Should I take childbirth education classes? Do you recommend any? What do you cover?

Points to ponder afterward:

  • Did you feel immediately comfortable and heard at the interview?
  • Was MW willing to answer questions in detail without being annoyed?
  • Are you comfortable with her scope of practice?
  • Are her expectations of you reasonable?
  • Are your expectations of her reasonable?
  • Are you able to take full responsibility for your decisions with this midwife?

All Rights Reserved Desirre Andrews Preparing For Birth 2011

Affording the Birth You Want

Monday, February 1st, 2010

Many times over I have heard something similar to “If only my insurance would cover the childbirth class, doula, that provider or birth location. Then I could have the birth I really want for me and my baby.” That statement sadly says to me that women are settling for a provider, birth location, type of birth even that would not otherwise be chosen.  Even so far as having a repeat cesarean because the insurance covered location or provider does not “allow” VBAC.

So practically how is someone going to get the desired provider, location or birth? First think of appealing to the insurance company to add a specific location (even home) or provider (even a  home birth provider) to the plan. This may or may not come to fruition, but unless the process is undertaken it isn’t even a possibility. Second, think outside the insurance box.  Be creative. I am a believer that almost 100% of the time there is a way. It may not be easy, simple, or lack stress but likely possible.

Here are some of my ideas for paying for the birth location, care provider, education, or doula support really desired.

Ask for family, friends, co-workers to donate to fund(s) in lieu of routine shower gifts (you will likely not use most of that “stuff” anyway no matter how much you think you will).

Trimming Down = Money Savings

  • Satellite/Cable tv – Lower or cancel service.
  • Cell phone – lower minutes, negotiate new fee structure, change plans.
  • Household utilities – Lower thermostat, take short showers, heat or cold proof home.
  • House phone – Get rid of all extras on phone that you don’t need or go VoIP. Even set-up answering machine.
  • Food – Grocery shop sales only (no impulse buying), use coupons, eat at home, brown bag to work, no more fancy coffee drinks.
  • Entertainment – Get Netflix instead of going out to the movies, visit with friends or family in their homes or yours.
  • Shopping – Cut back on extras you do not need to live.
  • Vehicle – Car pool whenever possible, only run multiple errands together, walk if possible, use public transportation is available.
  • Housing – Move to a lower rent area or to a smaller home. Even consider moving in with family to maximize savings.

Extra Cashflow

  • Sell any unneeded items via yard sale or something akin to Craig’s List. This can apply to second vehicle as well.
  • Take on a second job that can be done from home or even with a multi-level company.
  • Ask husband or partner to temporarily take on a second job.
  • Do you gourmet cook,  write, musically talented, sew, knit, paint or craft? You may be able to sell your creations or services.

Miscellaneous

  • Barter
  • Ask for payment plan.
  • Look for less expensive supplies such as a “fishy pool” versus renting an AquaDoula.
  • Choose a birth center or a home birth as the cost is significantly less than even a no-intervention natural hospital birth. Also your prenatal care is included in the fee unlike a planned hospital delivery.
  • Hire a training doula. Often a lower fee.
  • Start a savings account before you are pregnant.
  • Plan ahead and pay down any existing debt prior to getting pregnant or in early pregnancy.

I hope some “light bulb” moments are had and there is encouragement in the ideas. There is almost always a way.

If I have left anything off the lists, please feel free to leave a comment and I will add.