Thursday, December 25, 2008

Christmas Day - One year later

Reflecting back on December, one year after the death of my niece from brain cancer. I had expected to spend 2,3,4 days a week with my sister this month. Last year I was with her every day, but one, in the month of December as we cared for her daughter, in their home, until her death on Christmas morning. Our group only accepted one family for care this month, one family that Emme had helped before.

My niece, Meaghann, was a can-do person. She was bold and bright and ready for action. She was proud that I was a doula and a midwife. So it shouldn't have surprised me that she had plans for me this month. She seems to have orchestrated a connection with her that I'd be sure of.

It began with an invitation to a birth on my brother's birthday, Dec. 11th. The mother's midwife had a long drive and she was going fast. I was closer. Meaghann loved her Uncle Gordon, and he her. She was the first thing in his life that stopped his never-stopping activity and melted his heart. I remember the look on his teen age face the first time he held her.

Catching baby Ian that morning was a fun surprise, a little heads up for the next surprise.
On what would have been Meaghann's 36th birthday, the phone rang at 7:30. This surprise invite is told in part else where on this blog...maybe on Dec. 14th 08. I'd expected to be with Kathy that day for sure, but ended up at baby Tucker's birth. I couldn't reach Kathy by phone and when I stood quietly to "see" where she might be, I got that she wasn't at our Mom's that Sunday afternoon and so I could just as well stay at the labor which was going slowly. I "tuned" into what God's Will was for me to do and of course, thought of what Meg might think, me skipping out on her Mom. It was as if I could feel her suddenly saying with her wry wit, "Duh, you're a Doula!"

I'd told my midwife partners that I thought our next mom was going to go on Christmas and so I wasn't expecting to be at this birth. I'd reserved Christmas for Kathy. (My guys are so supportive and get this, and we were all to be together in the afternoon.)
But Emme and Clare said they'd call me just to keep me up dated. About 7 am Christmas morning Em called. Labor seemed to be moving fast. I thought, great, I can slip in, sit quietly in case they need me and be to my late sleeping sister's house right about the time she's wondering where I am. So clever, eh?

In a couple hours, we see that this birth isn't going fast, in fact, I think I can leave and come back. Kathy and I have a sweet morning. She says she's sad but not unhappy. She reads John 1 and 2 outloud to me while I make pumpkin pudding and wash dishes in her kitchen. Kathy read scripture to Meaghann every morning and they talked and then Kathy would (and still does) journal. When its time to drive to mom's, I ask Kathy if its ok to stop by the birthing family's home for an hour...

I arrive at 3 and "about supper time" the baby girl is born and its good to be useful. I get to my mom's about 8 and they're all still there. I snuggle up to my sister like we were kids and am glad she has me, her little sister. Later, I call to see how much the baby weighs, 11 and an half pounds! God is good and I guess I was where I was needed.

Its as if Meaghann gave me this gift. It would be just her style of humor, both her birthday and her Heaven day, her birthday into heaven. Like a wink.

And its good to have partners...

Monday, December 15, 2008

All together

Marion was the doula for a lovely couple having their first baby. I'm hoping they tell their story on the Spinning Babies Website. I'd gotten to meet them when their baby was still breech -he spontaneously flipped head down at 37 weeks gestation. Not surprisingly, he went on to labor in a posterior position. More challenging was his extended head (chin up, not flexed).

I got to be part of the action on day 3 of labor. Marion was so tired. She called at 7:30 am for some input but couldn't track the advice. I think she couldn't remember what sentence she started before she could finish it! So I asked if I could join them.

The midwife working with this couple was open and knowledgeable about maternal positions for posterior babes. I asked her, on the phone, as well as the parents, if it were alright to join them. I encouraged them to get started with as many of four techniques as they could, but emphasizing the Pelvic Floor Release. I mentioned that I had a story using these techniques on my web site and she surprised me by saying she had read it! (The long labor that wasn't)

  • Sacral floor release (a myofascial release)
  • Rebozo sifting (Manteado)
  • Pelvic Floor Release
  • Inversion (using the hospital bed with her elbows on the foot of the bed and her knees on the middle of the bed and then lowering the foot of the bed significantly)


Braving the predicted ice storm, I wondered what I'd find as the mom had already been 9 cm for some time. She was ready for some pain relief, and who wouldn't be. But I was hoping she could get that pelvic floor release in first!

This was a determined and clear minded mama who followed her instincts well and used all her resources to get through this challenging labor and bring forth her boy. Her mate was ever at her side and I don't think he slept more than a couple hours each 24 hour segment of this labor.

For the rest of the day a beautiful dance emerged. Not an easy dance, that's certain, but beautiful. Each person in the circle around this couple gave support and offered a significant gift to the effort.

We had a midwife that smiled and got right in with the maternal positions. She had the perfect balance of letting the parents lead the birth and keeping mom working --and feeling encouraged.
The nurses were positive, smiling and experienced. The nurse at the time of the birth herself had four posterior babies!

The Pelvic Floor Release allowed the first sign of progress in some hours. Right after it, the anesthesiologist came in and gave a light epidural. And the immediate check showed 10 cm at last. It was a first for me to (seem to) work so hand in glove with an anesthesiologist, but hey, every birth is unique! Other than that, my input was mostly smiles and the absolute knowledge that she could do this birth. (The midwife gave a verbal description of her internal exams so I could tell that the baby was going to fit with enough time and strong enough contractions. And yes, Pitocin was added following the epidural appropriately.)
The midwife had this mobile mom on hands and knees, sitting up right, and finally and most effectively, kneeling on the bed and hanging on to her husband's high shoulders. The head came down low enough now for the doctor to assist if needed. We rejoiced that a cesarean was pretty clearly avoided by this progress.

The doctor did come in and gave a try at manually rotating the baby's head. The baby's head came back to OP but he seemed to be able to have tucked the chin, because when he brought his hand out, the head almost came out with it! The baby was suddenly crowning. It'd now been close to 12 hours since Marion called me.

This little guy emerged so nicely once his chin was tucked; direct OP.

If permission is given, I'm hoping the mother's own story and a couple photos will appear at Spinning Babies.
I'm so happy to witness this birth. I'm sure they would have/could have done it without me, but what a wonder. Don't you wonder how we get to be blessed to be at Birth?? It did certainly take a team of
  • A mature and confident doula
  • A skilled and patient midwife
  • A nurse who smiled and did not act worried (as well as do all her tasks so professionally)
  • A doctor willing and able to do a manual rotation (though the baby would have been born about an hour later in this case, with out the manual rotation)
  • A doctor willing to trust the midwife and mother and let labor continue beyond the length of a usual 2nd stage (pushing stage)
  • And mostly, mostly,
  • A woman who was willing to continue against all logic and odds (in today's birth scene) and much of that was because of her mate's great support
  • and a doula that stayed the course with her for 3 days!
Happy Birthing!

Monday, December 1, 2008

Midwifery Now!

Midwifery Now! is a Minnesota midwifery 501C3 Organization listed in our state's midwifery statute as the agency responsible for submitting potential members to the Midwifery Advisory Board to the MN Board of Medical Practitioners.

We started MNow! in about 1998 as part of our legislative action. May 5, 1999 the Traditional Midwives bill was passed. The CPM credential is required for licensure in MN as a Traditional Midwife. Certified Nurse Midwives are licensed through the state Nursing Board.

Today we elected board members for the next 4 years. Co-Chairs, Jeanne Bazille, re-elected; Gail Tully; Treasurer, Amy Nyberg; Secretary, Tracy Meiers; Parent Member, Barb Stoss; Members at large, Sylvia Kosloski and Maureen Dahl. Retiring from the board were Kathy Ruggles and Kim Garrett who continue to serve on the sister organization, Minnesota Midwives Guild. Maureen Dahl is liason for MN Council of CPMs (MCCPM) and serves in both groups.

We hope to bring education and vision to parents and maternity care professionals and paraprofessionals through the coming years.

Changing the Earth by supporting Birth

Mothers bring forth life; medical corporations do not. Birth can be simple, powerful and loving. Fetal positioning, natural birthing and practical help for normal birth.