You Birth How You Live

https://parenting.nytimes.com/pregnancy/domino-kirke-doula

Doula Domino Kirke on why your birth providers are so important, and how to choose them wisely.

(Blog posted in its entirety from NYT Parenting.)

As far as I was concerned my midwife was going to have my baby for me. She was God’s gift to birthing. She had so much confidence, and trusted the birth process so intensely, that I fell instantly, wildly in love with her.

This was an age-old habit for me. Show me an older woman who knew her place in the world, who told me she knew better than me, and I was putty in her hands. To say I have mommy issues is an understatement. My mother is a shrewd businesswoman. She’s sexy, critical and the most intimidating person you’ll ever meet. I cowered around her until my teenage years, then developed blood-curdling rage towards her. Around the same time I was diagnosed with manic depression. I was the first daughter, the first pancake. I didn’t know who I was if she wasn’t looking me up and down, checking to see if I measured up.

At 25 I became pregnant and needed other people to sign off on just about everything I did. I didn’t trust an intuitive bone in my body. Pregnancy became an invisible cloak I hid inside with lofty ideas of who I would become once my baby arrived. I felt safe pregnant, in a container made just for the two of us, and our potential.

I met my midwife late into my pregnancy. I left my first midwife’s care after she advised against a home birth. She said my relationship wasn’t stable enough, and with my history of sexual abuse, was skeptical I could sustain the intensity. How dare she!

In a storm, I found a cowboy. I was in awe of her ego and her stories of grandeur — the same way I was in awe of my mother. I was experiencing transference, when the feelings and dynamics from childhood relationships are applied to authority figures in adult life, or, in this case, to medical professionals. In the birth world we have a saying: we birth the way we live our lives. Now that I’m a doula I see it constantly — but at the time, I wasn’t capable.

I didn’t want my mother or any family members in the room during my labor. Little did I know she’d be there anyway; my midwife activated and occupied all the same spaces. There in my charming one-bedroom apartment in the middle of January I labored as a little girl, no one there to remind me how old I actually was, or what I was even doing there. Although my mother was across the East River in her own home, her tentacles reached in and grabbed us all.

After 24 hours of labor I felt my midwife’s disappointment. I was her last client before her vacation, and I couldn’t have the baby fast enough. The tension between us was thick and felt by everyone, especially the sweet young doula who also struggled with her authority. Doulas are there to support birthing parents, while midwives provide medical care, yet my doula broke like I broke, and was of little help to me.

After laboring at home for nearly three days, my fever rose. I was whisked to the hospital and diagnosed with a uterine infection, resulting in an emergency cesarean.

CreditSarah Blesener for The New York Times

The experience inspired me to become a doula. I knew there was so much more I could have received emotionally during my labor. My partner at the time was terrified and exhausted, and my doula wasn’t in her power. What I truly needed was a nurturing presence to counter all the old energy that occupied my system around my childhood caregivers.

It has helped heal me to become that presence for others. These days I train doulas, and we teach them not to bring their baggage to the most important moments of someone’s life —because it’s not about them. We are there to listen and watch, and to help our clients meet their goal, whether it is a hospital induction without fear or a loving home birth. The relationship is a two-way street; when we meet our clients, we want them to pay attention to how they feel about us, too.

We encourage our clients to treat their doctors and midwives the same way, and to ask loads of questions: Do you follow evidence-based birthing practices? Do you differentiate between high- and low-risk pregnancies? If yes, how? If I am considered low risk in my pregnancy, will you want to manage my birth? If so, what can I expect? What is your cesarean birth rate?

[Doulas can be for everyone. Read our guide to choosing a doula here.]

When they ask these questions, we encourage our clients to note how their midwives and doctors respond to them. Do they make eye contact? Is their tone harsh or punishing? We want them to not only observe their medical caretakers, but their own feelings as well. Are they upset by their doctor’s harsh tones? If not, why?

One client of mine complained about her doctor every time I saw her. He’d rush her, give her evasive answers about procedures and protocols, and speak down to her like a child. When I helped her realize her feelings around it, she said, “But how do I ask for things if I don’t know they are missing?”

She wasn’t wrong. It’s challenging to make these connections to your past, and difficult to ask for things you didn’t receive in your most formative, vulnerable years. A provider who doesn’t set off every warning bell in your body will be a game changer for your birth experience, no matter the outcome of the delivery. Even if you have little choice of your doctor or midwife for financial or insurance reasons, there are volunteer doulas — so with effort, you can find a caretaker that makes you feel seen.

We don’t know what we deserve most of the time, but I’m telling you, you deserve better. Get louder, get bigger and surround yourself with extraordinary love when choosing your birth team. It might be the first time you’ve ever done such a thing, but I promise it won’t be the last. You can challenge your past. You can rewrite the play.

Pregnancy Is Literally As Hard As An Endurance Sport

https://www.scarymommy.com/pregnancy-hard-endurance-sport

As it turns out, I am closer to an endurance athlete than I ever imagined. That’s not my opinion, that’s what six researchers found in a study published by Duke University that focused on finding a limit to human endurance. Apparently and shockingly, pregnant and lactating women live in the limit zone. What the what?!?

(Click link above to read the article)

Third Stage of Labor – The Most Taboo Part of Childbirth

https://www.motherrisingbirth.com/2019/09/third-stage-of-labor.html

The third stage of labor is everything that happens after the baby is born, the part of childbirth that doesn’t make it to the movies.  The delivery of the placenta, the most taboo part of childbirth, encompasses the third stage of labor.

Compared to the rest of labor, the third stage of labor is the shortest and easiest of all the stages.  Labor is over, your baby has arrived, and now everything is over.  Or is it?

(Click link at top to read on motherrising.com)

MOM TALK: MY SURROGACY JOURNEY

http://www.mothermag.com/surrogacy/

**Trigger warning. Story includes mention of a 24-week loss.

Like new mother Jennifer Talesfore so eloquently details in her essay below, surrogacy is a practice often shrouded in mystery and judgement. We hope reading her touching personal narrative of love, loss, and hope brings a better understanding to the families going through the surrogacy process and other challenges along the path to parenthood. -KHZ

(Click link above to read this beautiful essay)

Early-morning births are genetically programmed

https://www.economist.com/news/science-and-technology/21741136-small-hours-provided-evolutionary-advantage-early-morning-births-are

 

“THE notion that nothing good happens after midnight does not seem to apply to times of birth. Around the world the peak hours for vaginal births that have not been induced by drugs fall between 1am and 7am; the numbers then dwindle throughout the rest of the day. This has led many scientists to believe that giving birth during the early morning offers some sort of evolutionary advantage, perhaps gained long ago when hunter-gatherer mothers and their infants would benefit from having their group reunited during the small hours to help with care and to defend them against any predators.

The problem with this theory is that almost all the information on the timing of human births comes from modern, urban settings, such as clinics and hospitals, which could produce artificial conditions that skew the variation in timings. Not so, it turns out. As Carlye Chaney of Yale University shows in the American Journal of Physical Anthropology, early-morning births are common to communities with both modern and traditional lifestyles.”

(click link at top to read this fascinating article on economist.com)

 

Give bicarbonate to pregnant women to ease delivery – new study

Fascinating!

http://www.telegraph.co.uk/science/2018/01/17/give-bicarbonate-pregnant-women-ease-delivery-new-study/

Women struggling in labour should be given bicarbonate of soda to boost their chances of a safe and natural birth, a study suggests.

British researchers say the commonly available chemical, given in drink form, rectifies acidity around the womb and could significantly reduce the number of women forced to undergo emergency caesarean sections.

(click link to read about this new study)

Prodromal Labor 101: What It Is, What It’s Not and How to Cope

https://www.motherrisingbirth.com/2017/11/prodromal-labor-101.html

Despite prodromal labor not being mentioned in the most common pregnancy books, you’ll still hear it frequently being discussed among friends, with care providers and in online communities.  Because of this discrepancy, it makes sense that there is confusion and frustration surrounding the topic.  In this post I hope to define prodromal labor, but more importantly offer onlutions and encouragement if you find yourself experiencing this frustrating phenomenon.

The reason why prodromal labor is not mentioned in pregnancy books is because it is more commonly known as pre-labor or even misnamed as false labor.  It seems as if our birthing culture uses these three terms interchangeably – prodromal labor, pre-labor and false labor.  This is so confusing!  If this has confused me, I bet I’m not the only one wondering what’s going on.

(click link above to read on MotherRisingBirth.com, an amazing resource…)