Thursday, February 26, 2009

Thank you, Salma Hayek

When I was nursing my youngest, now 19, three of us breastfeeding mothers would trade off with our babies and toddlers for two hours of free time each week. Occasionally during that short time, if one of my friend's babies was hungry I'd nurse them. They would do the same for my baby. Breastfeeding is a normal way to nurture a crying baby.

That's a drop in the ocean of compassion that Salma Hayek showed a hungry baby on her tour of Sierra Leone. She grew up hearing the story that her Great Grandmother had nursed a starving baby in Mexico. What would be more natural?

And Salma, its not addiction, its oxytocin. Continuing to breastfeed past the first year of life is not comparable to alcholism...though she may have made that comparison in jest. Why, its simply motherhood.

I'm voting Salma for the most beautiful mother in the motion picture world.

One more Pulsatilla try

Well, After 38 hours of labor, our 5th posterior baby within two weeks, was born OP.

Starting at home was useful. Progress began to improve following ten abdominal lifts done while maintaining a pelvic tuck (flattening the lower back). Still, labor was so gradual and back pain returned. When homeopathics, herbs, water tub, and even intradermal water injections don't work as anticipated, a woman just might decide to go where the narcotics are.

This mama did decide to transport to the hospital for an epidural, and subsequent Pitocin. These interventions are seen, in our homebirth culture, as meddlesome when used routinely but can be useful tools. After a couple nights of closely spaced contractions, persistent back pain and no sleep, narcotics may move over from the no list to the gotta-have-that list.

Arriving in the hospital at 6 cm, the baby was already low in the pelvis. The chin was nicely tucked. I said posterior, but I'm not sure I can say "persistent posterior." The forehead came posterior, the face began to turn as soon as emerging, the chin started to come anterior and once the head was out the baby faced the mother's right thigh. Then, as the shoulders began to come the baby suddenly turned her face directly OP again. Should we coin a phrase, "mobile posterior?"
I have a video of a nice big boy making these very same rotational moves. His story is at Spinning Babies, The Long Labor That Wasn't. Only this labor was long. Contractions were 3-4 minutes within three hours of the water breaking (first sign of labor) and were not often much further apart so rest was hard to come by.

The Pulsatilla had no noticible effect. Either that or my observational skills are lacking. The baby was already deep in the pelvis, most likely in an OP position. I think the Pulsatilla didn't make a dramatic effect, as it certainly did with the preceding four, perhaps because the head was so low when it was given. Pusatilla's softening effect of the lower uterine segment may have allowed the baby to descend in this position, but the Pitocin would also help descent.

Posterior babies who stay posterior through to "time of delivery" have a bit less than 50% chance at a vaginal birth, by literature reports (Lieberman and others). I think our homebirth families have a better statistic than that due to freedom of movement, eating in labor and, so often, excellent partner support. Her partner's willingness to go on with a positive attitude is tremendously vital.
We so appreciate the nurses and doctor willing to abide with this family who needed their help but was also determined to maintain many of their values and choices within the institutional setting. As for the Pulsatilla, 4 out of 5 isn't bad, and those first 4 were particularly dramatic.

What a gift to see this little girl nursing vigorously with her mama and her mama and papa's tears of joy.

Wednesday, February 25, 2009

Posterior labors at home

Among the three Trillium midwives, Clare Welter, Emme Corbeil and myself, we had 4 posterior babies at the beginning of the labors last week. Yes, in one week.
Each of these women took a deep dose of Pulsatilla. I'm not saying which dose, because I'm not prescribing here, I'm describing.

Three of the women took Pulsatilla before labor began, and each began labor soon after, within days. Each dilated fast and each baby emerged OA. Was the quick start after the remedy a coincidence? Was it because of the snow storm? One woman, who was having a planned hospital birth with Emme as support person, took a dose when labor wasn't picking up after a full day. Her labor then took off and she had the baby quickly.

Now we have another mom in a slow labor. Hard to tell if baby was OA or OP in this particular mom. After a day of SROM, and a few other OP symptoms, we tried the remedy.
I'll let you know.

Meanwhile, enjoy Jessie's Girls, a blog with Theia's birth story and how Jessie helped her OP baby rotate in a deep tub of water.

Monday, February 23, 2009

Why Gaskins Maneuver isn't used in hospitals

Ina May Gaskin popularized a solution for stuck shoulders which she learned from traditional midwives. When a baby's head is born but her shoulders are stuck inside, the mother is helped to flip over onto her hands and knees (if she is not already there). The act of the mother's rotation often frees the shoulders. Ina May keeps a registry of hands and knees attempts, and both and the MANA statistic data bases keep track of shoulder dystocia outcomes. Ina May has found this a very favorable technique.

Indeed, The Gaskin Maneuver is the first of 4 techniques listed in FlipFLOP, a memory aid for shoulder dystocia resolution, which I created.

Alison Bastien writes her frustration at finding out that physicians are often not using the Gaskin Maneuver - even though many acknowledge the usefulness of this technique! Read about the conversations she had one day at a medical seminar discovering the real reason why the Gaskin Maneuver is an underused lifesaver.

Saturday, February 7, 2009

Minnesota Birth is Live

Gail's new website, is live and growing. A referral source for birth and pregnancy related services and products in Minnesota. Word of mouth referral is key here.
Not meant to be a corporate site, this is a friendly, grass roots info site for birthing in Minnesota.
Its just developing, so be patient. Send your ideas to or post here.

Birth Centers in Minnesota

Read the health care article in the Minneapolis Tribune,
called DFLers vow to fight for health care aid.

Senator Linda Berglin, D, has shared her Birth Center bill wording with Minnesota Better Birth Coalition lead, Susan Lane. Susan then showed us Trillium midwives who have been attending the coalition meetings. Susan in fact, had showed Senator Berglin the Milbank report with the cost saving power of birth centers.
Senator Berglin had a bill written up in record time.
Go, Linda! Go, Susan!

There is not much opposition expected for this bill. All players are included in some way in the bill. The crashing economy is forcing some major money saving efforts and this one would save the state thousands of dollars quickly. 37% of MN births are paid for by state aid. A birth center birth costs approximately $5,ooo dollars compared to 8-15,ooo for a simple hospital birth, with no complications. Birth centers have excellent birth outcomes for low risk women and VBAC women (who are statistically rather low risk after 2 previous cesareans).

Inversion after baby flips?

Several women have emailed in asking what they should do after their breech babies flipped to head down. At this time, I recommend continuing to do a short, 30-second inversion on most days. Here is Chiropractor and Craniosacral Therapist, Carol Phillips helping a mother do an inversion and an inset to show the uterus hanging from the cervical ligaments. See more at Spinning Babies.

I believe the same soft tissue causes of breech are the soft tissue causes of posterior (excluding septums, anterior placentas, bony pelvis).
The breech baby, who flips head down late in pregnancy, after 33 weeks, let's say, in the 34-40+ weeks, and flips after the mother has had body work, done inversions, or some action to flip her baby,
is likely to settle in a posterior position.
So if the baby has his or her back on the mother's right, and or hands in front wiggling near the bladder (not a thump of the head, but a wiggle of the hands), then the recommendation is to continue the soft body work, including inversions. See inversions on the Spinning Babies website. Look under Techniques and scroll down to find Inversion.

Monday, February 2, 2009

British "Green Guru" says Abortion is green...

Responsible parenting, responsible child bearing, yes. But the the timing of taking responsibility is of crucial importance. What is our response-ability to our reproduction? Proactive or reactive? Health promotion or scramble to return to the male-model of normalcy (which, in this case, is not to be carrying an embryo).

Where is the discussion about holistic approaches to conception and preventing conception?

British parliment leader Jonathan Porritt blames parents of more than two children as irresponsible. He says aborting millions a year (and generally then burning with the trash) will prevent green house gases. This is a bit of a stretch.

To twist a phrase of Popeye's,

Violence is wrong even when it helps ya.

Lets come up with a solution that works, starting with empowering young women around the issue of sexual vulnerability and women in their late teens and 20s in how to determine who really is a good mate for them before conception changes how likely a father that a sexual partner is perceived.

Additionally, we could green -up birth quite a bit with washable, reusable absorbant pads, less garbage due to fewer interventions, and home births.

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.