Posts Tagged ‘homebirth’

Doulas and Home Birth

Monday, May 4th, 2015

Is there benefit to hiring a doula for a home birth? I say YES absolutely.


An oldie but a goodie, from Desirre, in honor of International Doula Month.

As a seasoned doula who has attended home births as labor support and now an  intern midwife who clinically supports the mother, I believe that many women can keenly benefit from a doula when having a home birth.

The most simple reasoning is that the doula is there physically, emotionally and educationally specifically for the mother and family just like at the hospital or a birth center. She (he) is an integral part of the birth team.

  • The doula will likely be laboring with the mother first, providing a continuous care support framework for when the midwifery team arrives.
  • As the midwifery team sets up and prepares the space clinically, the doula is right there maintaining the comfort, peace and encouragement of the mother. Often lessening any disruption that new people in the environment can cause.
  • The doula is there SOLELY for the mother and husband (partner), step by step, eye to eye while the midwifery team is there to first and primarily clinically assess, maintain safety and be unobtrusive as possible.
  • The doula offers guidance and suggestions for position changes, physical/emotional comforts and helping to ensure the mother eats, drinks, voids and rests.
  • The doula gives the husband (partner) the opportunity to rest, have less stress, do the very best he/she can do along with enjoying the process more.
  • A doula can be present specifically to help with the other children.
  • A doula’s presence offers reduction in any interventions and cesarean.
  • A doula’s presence offers increased satisfaction with birth, bonding and breastfeeding……….

Simply put. A doula being present at a home birth is effectively the same as at a hospital or birth center, with the general exceptions that she would have to help a mother and family self advocate or navigate  institutional policies,  protocols and staff.

I again say YES to doulas at home births.

 

 

Homebirth: The Basics.

Monday, March 2nd, 2015

General Information

The Safety of Homebirth

Other

My Favorite Colorado Springs Midwives

A Little Birth Poetry.

Tuesday, January 20th, 2015

Birth is amazing.

I attended three in the space of about 40 hours this weekend. Two butter births on a Saturday morning. Both filled with intense power and work, capped by peace when they were all over. The other a triumphant victory, and a step toward healing of a past rough experience.

Women are incredible.

There was the most spectacular sunrise on the way to one of the births. I have never seen one that struck my heart so deeply. The very sky seemed on fire. Too bad I was driving, and couldn’t capture it to share with you. A fitting beginning for the act of creation that is birth.

Though the baby didn’t enter the world with the dawn, the dawn greeted him anyway.

I was struck, as I watched each mama work hard to bring her baby to her arms in her own way. Each one unique. No two women labor alike. And thousands do it together everyday. What a marvelous sisterhood we share!

I was reminded, yet again, why I do this work. Why I am a doula. Why I want to be “with woman” as a midwife. This work is sacred. Beautiful. Insanely difficult. But so very worth it.

I rarely write poetry, but I hope these verses hit home. Each one represents one of the mothers I served this weekend. They’re kind of silly. Just haikus, but I had fun writing them. Enjoy.

Labor at sunrise,
Intensifying slowly.
Care, quiet, tranquil.

A hint, it’s coming.
Giant, crashing, clamoring,
“I can’t, but I did!”

Freight train rolling fast,
Can’t quite keep up, but she does.
Dad meets tiny pirate.

How did you spend your weekend?

Grace & Peace,
Tiff

Childbirth Education Myths 1

Monday, January 27th, 2014

Over the next several weeks, Team Preparing for Birth will be debunking some common myths surrounding childbirth education classes. Check back every Monday to see the newest post.

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MYTH #1: “I’m having a homebirth, and my midwife will do all my education.”

Home birth families often see childbirth classes as an extra, rather than a valuable and necessary tool to help them have the birth they are hoping for. The most common objection they have is that they will be able to get all the education they need from their midwife. While midwives do educate their clients to some extent, this perception that they can (or should) cover everything is a myth, for several reasons.

1) Education is not a midwife’s job.

Just as obstetricians are not childbirth educators, neither are midwives. Just because midwives are more likely to do more education than an obstetrician, does not mean they give comprehensive education, and they should not be expected to. That is not their job.

Rather, a midwife’s primary job is to maintain the clinical safety and health of the mother-baby dyad. This will involve some education, yes, but only as a by-product of good midwifery care.

A good midwife will encourage her clients to be active participants in their care by reading, taking classes, and educating themselves proactively, instead of passively relying on the lack of intervention common to home birth. Midwives want clients who are thinking women, who take responsibility for their own care, and who can integrate what they learn in practical ways.

 

2) The reality of transport.

Another downside to relying solely on your midwife for childbirth education is the preparation for hospital transport. Realistically, around 10% of women and babies need something that cannot be offered at a homebirth, for whatever reason. It is not a midwife’s job to prepare you for the hospital.  Her job is to prepare you for birthing safely at home. Therefore, an expert on the hospital system is needed to prepare a birthing woman, in case of a transport. Most midwives spend very little time in the hospital, due to the low transport rate, so their expertise on local practices may be limited.

On the other hand, childbirth educators work very hard to stay up-to-date on all policy changes, protocols, and the general attitude of the staff in local hospitals. They often work (or have worked) as doulas, and have regular opportunities to interact with staff in the local hospitals that midwives simply don’t have. (This is not a criticism, merely a reality.)

While a midwife can go over what a typical transport looks like in her practice, a good childbirth education class will be able to prepare the client for what a hospital birth will look like. She can help the client to understand how to navigate the environment, and teach her how to communicate with the staff effectively.

 

3) The birth tool belt.

Midwives know that most women need a wide array of pain management techniques available to them, since an epidural is not an option at home. While a midwife will teach her clients the importance of stress management, emotional health, and relaxation, there is no substitute for a good independent childbirth course where you can actually practice tried and true techniques from all kinds of sources. This creates a solid foundation of knowledge, provides varying perspectives, and allows the birthing pair time and space to learn or review valuable tools for labor.

 

4) Prenatal appointments can only cover so much.

Even though midwifery appointments are much longer than typical obstetric appointments, it is still a very limited amount of time for a woman to learn all she needs to know about birth. Not to mention the birth partner, who may not be able to attend very many of the appointments. Childbirth education can fill in the gaps, empower a birthing pair, and provide opportunity to practice valid techniques in a real-world environment.

It is never wise to assume that your care provider will simply take care of everything, no matter who they are. Leaving the decision-making and responsibility solely in your midwife’s hands is not fair to her, to you, or to your baby. You owe it to yourself to take a proactive approach to childbirth education.

 

EMAB and Doulaparty Team Up

Friday, June 22nd, 2012

 

 

Join the #doulaparty on Twitter or follow along at DesirreAndrews.com, June 22nd 6pm PT/9pm ET to kick off summer birth work with something extra special!

 

I am very excited that Earth Mama Angel Baby is sponsoring this weeks live chat. EMAB has amazing products for all types of birth professionals and families.

 

A note from the EMAB Team:

 

Are you a midwife, doula, nurse or obstetrician looking for pure, safe products to comfort postpartum mamas and brand new babies? You’ve come to the right place! Earth Mama Angel Baby offers safe alternatives for your clients who are concerned with detergents, parabens, 1,4-Dioxane, artificial fragrance, dyes, preservatives, emulsifiers and other toxins. Earth Mama products are used in hospitals, even on the most fragile NICU babies, and they all rate a zero on the Skin Deep toxin database, the best rating a product can receive. Earth Mama only uses the highest-quality, certified-organic or organically grown herbs and oils for our teas, bath herbs, gentle handmade soaps, salves, lotions and massage oils.

Earth Mama now offers a Birth Pro Cart for wholesale pricing available for birth support professionals! Join Earth Mama Angel Baby on the #doulaparty chat Friday June 22 to talk about their new shopping cart plus answer any questions you may have. Earth Mama will be giving away Postpartum Bath Herbs and Monthly Comfort Tea, Mama Bottom Balm, Mama Bottom Spray, and a grand prize of their new Travel Birth & Baby Kit!

Some Say I Am Brave

Tuesday, May 8th, 2012

Image from http://www.vickidonlan.com

Some say I am brave for choosing homebirth. To me, that’s like saying I’m brave for having a big wedding. No matter how involved the planning, we all know the real work of marriage starts when the wedding is over.

So it is with birth. Our childhood, our growing up, and our pregnancy is the training ground. Birth is the opening ceremony. Motherhood is the marathon.

Some say I am brave for choosing homebirth. Others would counter that choosing a hospital birth is brave.

I say choosing to become a mother is brave, no matter where you choose to bring your child into the world. I say learning to make fully informed decisions — guided by a beautiful hybrid of evidence-based information and your intuition — is brave.

Doing this often means going against the flow of society in general, and the tide of modern obstetrics in specific.

It means navigating endless resources, asking questions, and taking time to figure out answers. It means identifying, confronting, and processing fears, anxieties, and stressors that hinder you from being able to fully trust your body and your chosen care provider. It means letting go of a process we have very little control over, when all is said and done, and forming realistic expectations about your birth based on your unique emotional health, health history, and risk factors.

It means being able to tell your well-meaning loved ones that you appreciate their input, but that you are choosing a different way than they did. It sometimes means being willing to give up your ideal for reality — whether that entails a homebirth transfer, an unplanned cesarean, or an accidental homebirth.

The location of your birth doesn’t matter nearly as much as how you got there.

Navigating the road on this journey isn’t as simple as using GPS systems to decide where to turn. It’s less like a road trip, and more like a sea voyage. You may have all the tools in the world in your boat, but unless you use them, the horizon looks exactly the same no matter which direction you look. Sure, you can guess which direction is the right way to go, but you can’t really know unless you have a destination in mind, and you’re able to use the tools around you.

It’s up to you to pick up those tools and make use of them. No one else is really in that boat with you.

It’s up to you to be brave.

Where do you want to go?

Do your homework. Take nothing for granted. Never say never. Then, when you know where you want to be, pick up the tools you have and get yourself there. No one else can (or will) do this for you.

Some say I am brave for choosing homebirth.

What really made me brave was my willingness to open my mind and look beyond the status quo at all the options available to me. That was the hard part. What continues to make me brave is looking four little ones in the face each morning, and loving them in spite of the challenges that mothering them presents.

Some say I am brave. I say that all mothers are brave; some just have not figured it out yet.

When did you realize your bravery as a mother? In what moments have you been brave as a mother?

Pick up good books. Take an evidence-based childbirth class. Know where evidence-based information resides on the internet. (It’s not typically at BabyCenter, just FYI.) Ask questions of your care provider every appointment. Hire a doula. Look outside your box. Interview providers you might not have considered. Confront your anxieties and fears about birth – with professional help if you think you need it.

Grace & Peace,
Tiffany

 

A Glimpse of the Homebirth Difference

Tuesday, May 1st, 2012

A client of mine had her home visit from me this morning. It coincided, on purpose, with the 36 week homebirth visit from her midwife. I cannot say enough how lovely the experience really is.

My client was asked many pertinent questions about her physical and emotional health; her stress levels and what she’s doing to cope; her nutrition, hydration, and rest; and what she was hoping to have on hand at the birth for her comfort. Everything from essential oils, to where the birthing pool would be, to checking the availability of all of her supplies was covered. Then, oh joy! the midwife listened to the baby, and we got to stand in silence and awe of the precious sound.

I was delighted when my client allowed me to palpate her belly, under the supervision of the midwife and intern midwife, to get an idea of baby’s position.

Everything about this appointment was professional, warm, friendly, thorough, and centered on the mother – my client.

For a whole hour of her day, my client got to experience attention and love being centered on her and her baby. She got to be loved at the beginning of her busy day.

It was beautiful, and I can’t think of a single hospital experience — no matter how kind and warm the nurses are — that equals the time devoted to my homebirth clients. What a privilege to be a part of the journey of those who choose this “road less traveled.”

Grace & Peace,
Tiffany

From the Cheap Seats to the Choir Loft

Tuesday, March 20th, 2012

Image Credit: oxfordbaptist.com


As a certified “birth junkie,” it’s easy to preach to the choir. What can be difficult is getting new members to join. I think a lot of that is due to society’s general lack of knowledge about birth, and the entrenched medical mentality that is so difficult to overcome. Difficult, but not impossible.

I also think it’s partially due to over-zealousness on our part, as birth advocates. How we communicate about home birth is far more important than we think.

There are quite a few acquaintances and friends of mine who have chosen the lesser-worn path of midwifery and home birth care, at least in part, because of my influence.

I have been called a “home birth evangelist” by some. It was meant as a compliment, and I don’t mind the association.

I’ve been asked how I “do” that.

The short answer is: “I don’t really know.”

However, there are some things I know I don’t do.

For one, I don’t walk around with a copy of Ina May Gaskin’s Guide to Childbirth, hitting people over the head with it and screaming that home birth is the only way to birth heaven. Whatever “birth heaven” is.

I don’t wield statistics in favor of home birth like a weapon, with the goal of hacking to pieces any naysayer who would stand in my way.

I don’t preach that home birth is the magical panacea to all birth dilemmas.

Half the time, I don’t even bring it up unless it comes up naturally.

So, how on earth did I “convince” the women I did to choose home birth?

Well, I didn’t.

There is simply no way I can “convince” anyone to do anything. I can barely convince my children to make their beds; I cannot convince anyone that home birth is right for them, no matter how much I want to.

All I try to do is to meet women where they are in the moment.

My method isn’t super-scientific either. I didn’t even know I had a method until I tried to write about it. For better or worse, this is essentially how I operate:

I follow hunches that tell me when women are open to exploring other options they may not have been aware of. I follow hunches that tell me when all they want is someone to listen, and I keep my trap shut.

When the hunch tells me they’re open, I share how home birth might alleviate some of the difficulties they are dealing with in their particular circumstances, and offer to refer them to a midwife if they would like. I do this by asking them questions.

“How do you feel about talking to a home birth midwife about _________?” is the primary question that leads to a great conversation in which I find out more about what she wants in her birth experience, and why. The more questions I ask (especially those open-ended ones), the more I know whether or not sharing the home birth option is the right way to go.

I have learned to try to really hear the heart behind the stories women share with me. And, when I really listen, I often find that choosing a home birth would likely be a great way for these women to meet those needs they have that aren’t getting met in the medical model they’re currently under.

I think it boils down to the simple fact that I have something to offer that I can believe in, and that I am real and honest with women.

I have found that I can open doors for people that they didn’t even know existed. Even if they choose not to step through that particular doorway, they now have the option to do so, and therefore, become more active participants in their care. And a woman who is an active participant in her care is a well-served, happy woman with a beautiful outcome, no matter where she births.

Ultimately, I think my “home birth evangelism” works because women know that my desire isn’t to increase the number of home births — though that would be cool — but that I truly want them to fully understand all their options, and that I believe in them to choose the very best for themselves and their babies, regardless of what their actual decision ends up being.

They know that no matter what, they have a friend and supporter in me, and that is what leads them to take me seriously, and oftentimes, to take the plunge into the birthing pool in their living room.

Of course, once they experience their home birth, they become “evangelists” themselves, singing the merits of this fantastic, realistic, safe option to their friends and families in their own new-found voice of strength!

That, I think, is how we reach the people in the cheap seats, and bring them into the choir loft.

For me, it’s about genuinely caring, learning to listen and gauge a woman’s need, and educating sensitively the women I meet. It’s about balancing between that place where I don’t care how people react to me, and meeting women where they are. What does it look like for you? What can you do, today, as a birth advocate, to soften your message without compromising the facts?

Grace & Peace,
Tiffany

Homebirth Preparation Classes are Open for Enrollment in 2012!

Saturday, January 14th, 2012

I have been blessed to join the team of educators at Preparing for Birth, in order to take advantage of a wonderful opportunity to be mentored by Desirre Andrews.

Under the Preparing for Birth name, I am offering classes in my personal specialty: homebirth. As a mother who has only birthed out of hospital, I feel a strong pull to equip and prepare women to birth in this non-traditional setting. Many women aren’t quite sure just what typical homebirth looks like, or how to prepare well for it. I aim to fill in that gap, and supplement the education your midwife is probably already doing with you.

The home birth preparation class is based in the evidence of healthy birth practices using a variety of techniques and tools for successful real life application by class participants.

  • Connect more deeply with your labor partner(s) and baby.
  • Learn how your body works and why during pregnancy through postpartum.
  • Understand how you and baby labor, birth and bond together.
  • Utilize tried and true techniques.
  • Be encouraged and grow in confidence for the entire process.
  • Practice role-playing of common scenarios.
  • Solidify your birth and parenting philosophies.
  • Sharpen communication and consumer skills for real life application.
  • Gain strategies and techniques for the postpartum period.
  • Apply knowledge and information into life skills.

View the complete class outline HERE.

Tuesday Evening Homebirth Prep 4-week Series

  • February 7th-28th
  • April 3rd-24th
  • June 5th-26th

What does it cost?

  • Homebirth Prep Class: $100
  • Homebirth Prep Class (military): $85
  • Homebirth Prep Class (community discount): $60
  • Ask about other options when you call.

Call or email me now to reserve your spot:
tiffany@prepforbirth.com
791-432-9712

Or register and pay online HERE.

I am also volunteering my childbirth education services at the Colorado Springs Pregnancy Center.

Grace & Peace,
Tiffany Miller CLD, CCCE

All We’re Really Trying to Say

Tuesday, December 20th, 2011

There is a misconception I have noticed among the general population in regards to birth professionals who advocate for the kind of birth outlined in the above photo. How surprised they are when they learn that doulas, childbirth educators, and midwives are actually all for advances in technology and care. We just desire that practice be driven by evidence, not by the shiny new toy.

Let me explain.

I think part of the misunderstanding lies in the belief that because birth professionals outside the medical profession unapologetically share what is scientifically verifiable to be the healthiest norms for mothers and babies, that we are therefore against hospitals/technology, etc. Nothing could be further from the truth!

Speaking for many like myself, what we really desire are two things: 1) True cooperation between hospitals, doctors, and midwives, so that women and their babies get the best, individualized care, and 2) Practices based on the most scientifically sound evidence, rather than the shiniest new toy or convenience for the care provider, or any other reason than the medically verifiable health and well-being of the mother-baby dyad.

Cooperation between the medical establishment and midwifery care isn’t an either-or proposition. Advocating for normal childbirth does not equal opposition to hospitals and all they offer.

Normal birth and all that it implies is a truth with a solid foundation of evidence – nothing more, nothing less. It is not a commentary on any individual woman’s story. It is not a value judgment on the choices made by any woman. Every birth experience is valid, and has inherent value. Every birth is still a miracle. Birth is always sacred and special , no matter how the precious little ones make their appearance.

Every birth is ours, as women, to own and learn from. The planned cesarean is no less valid than the natural home birth so many birth professionals support and love.

Information shared about normal birth is what it is: statements of fact, backed up by evidence, and fueled by an undeniable passion for helping women empower themselves to make truly informed decisions regarding the care of themselves and their babies.

A passion to change the world.

To change the world through loving women and their families, and building bridges of communication between women and their chosen care provider. If we can do those two things, the rest will follow so much more easily than if we tried to force it.

To accomplish the change we are advocating for, we need to speak. Out loud. About unpleasant, but truthful subjects.

And we need to do it all through the filter of love and compassion.

I encourage you to take our words to heart if you can. If it’s too painful – speak out. Find out why it hurts so much to hear about another beautiful home birth. You matter. Your voice matters.

Thanks for hearing me out.

Tiffany