Wednesday, May 26, 2010

Friends in the news

Here are a couple cool articles about this "natural birth trend" and they are about friends of mine.
Our local Paula Bernini Fiegal's Birth Center was in the news again with luscious photos of her St. Louis Park mama's at her new Birth Center on Excelsior Blvd. Read the Star and Trib article.

And Orgasmic Birth Website posted a Hudson Reporter newspaper story about a New Jersey family who birthed at home with two midwife friends of mine after being inspired by Orgasmic Birth and Business of Being Born.
We found in Minneapolis as well that watching the dynamic duo of natural birth videos, Business of Being Born, first, which raises the issues of birth location and providers, and then watching Orgasmic Birth, second, which shows why the uninterrupted physiological process of birth holds the most potential for an ecstatic or orgasmic birth experience. Orgasmic Birth is coming out as a book this June as a companion for the fantastic DVD.

The Seventh Moon Homebirth Midwifery service is Vicki Hedley and Sabine Kennon, Certified Professional Midwives. I got to ride up to Ottawa last fall with these ladies, and we picked up a fourth midwife in Montreal, all the while Vicki saying she wouldn't make it through a surprise breech birth. Well recently Vicki arrived at a fast moving surprise breech birth. The baby boy did great. And more surprisingly (to herself at least), Vicki did great, too, staying very calm throughout.

Monday, May 24, 2010

Doulas reform health care for 1.5 million

Another sample of real Health Reform! Thank you, Illinois Senator Durbin!! He worked hard, with others, I'm sure, to get federal monies for community doulas.

"Research shows women who use doulas have a significantly lower risk of cesarean, use of medication and other interventions, which helps to reduce rates of maternal and infant morbidity and mortality. (The Doula Book, MH Klaus, JH Kennel, PH Klaus, 2002) During the postpartum period, doulas offer education, support and assistance with newborn care and family adjustment.

Senator Dick Durbin (D-IL) inserted the funding for community doula programs into healthcare reform legislation citing the success of the Health Connect program in Chicago, a program that provides doulas to low-income families and teen clients at no cost.

"In Chicago, we have seen how the community-doula model can improve the odds for those young moms and their babies. The Chicago Health Connection [now HealthConnect One] pioneered this model. The group trained mentors from the community to work with at-risk moms, many of whom had few ideas of where else to turn." says Senator Durbin.

Chicago's channel 7 news interviews Laura McAlpine of Health Connect One See Channel 7's Doulas Become A Household Name. A legislative mini-history of Illinois support for Community Doula Programs and a good description of doulas, the difference between doulas and midwives, and what a community doula is (in today's terms). Exciting development!
Visit or

Sunday, May 23, 2010

Minnesota passes Birth Center Law

"Time to celebrate!

"The governor signed the birth center bill into law this morning, May 21, 2010! You can see for your self at:

"What an incredible day for birth centers, midwives, and childbearing women! We are the first state to have equal reimbursement for CPMs written into law. Women on medicaid now have expanded birth options. And CPMs are now a medicaid provider type! We have a great birth center licensure bill that other states can use as a model. What an incredible journey.

"Thank you to everyone who contributed to this effort!" Kate Saumweber sent this announcement out to the midwives in Minnesota with the exciting news. In her email she acknowledges many of the midwives and birth activists working towards this historical event. My own midwife, Mary Rossi, CNM, was one, she caught my first born in 1977!

Just like birth, what is expected to go in a predictable pattern sometimes does not, but the blessing reveals itself in its own way. Kate Saumweber, aspiring midwife and excellent help to the MCCPM group here in Minnesota, and now to Naturopath and CPM (Certified Professional Midwife) Amy Johnson-Grass of Health Foundations Birth Center shares the news with the Minnesota midwifery community. Kate described the last hour decision of one of the bill's authors,

"...[B]y the hard work of our House Author, Rep Maria Ruud, our birth center language was included into the omnibus budget bill during the special session. "

Midwife Connection online newsletter published a celebratory article by CNM, Brielle Stoyker,

MN Passes Bill to License Birth Centers, Save Midwives from Reduced Payments

Brielle relayed the CNM's motives who worked so hard on the bill, "Our intention was just licensure, but because it included fiscal savings, the bill became a bit more complicated....Certified nurse-midwives (CNMs) in MN are currently paid at 100% of what physicians receive for their services under Medicaid, and we would have been brought down to the 65% Medicare rate. But, because of the new federal health care reform law that will raise Medicare reimbursement for CNMs to 100% beginning in January 2011, we were able to persuasively argue that imposing a 35% reimbursement cut would be unfair and contrary to the intent of federal policy. In the process of working with legislators and lobbyists, we were able to whip up an amendment to exempt CNMs from the Medicare rebasing! On the last day of the session, both our amendment and the birth center bill were passed by both houses, and the bill now awaits consideration by the Governor. We have our fingers crossed that the bill will soon become law. For the hard work it took to get this far, special thanks go to the American Association of Birth Centers (AABC), MN midwives, as well as midwives and their supporters across the US."

This is an amazing and important acknowledgment for CNMs (Certified Nurse Midwives) and for CPMs (Certified Professional Midwives). Working together on this project is promising that unity can expand and continue. Having a two-tiered midwife credential in this nation need not be any more confusing than having two types of physicians that catch babies, family practice and obstetricians.

In Minnesota, we believe women are smart (and men are good looking...) and can find the midwife, or doctor, for that matter, that fits their needs. We are also practical and fair. Midwives should get paid for the fine work they do. Their birth statistics are excellent overall. Hopefully, this is another midwifery statute that is a model for the rest of the nation. (Our Traditional Midwife law for CPMs is one of the very best!)

Thursday, May 20, 2010

A beautiful controversary on breast feeding

The Breast Way's interview with James Akre.

Read a perspective that will take you deeper than the jingle. A symphony beyond our time, but one that will be playing soon upon the hearts of mothers and the lips of babes:

"Removing this inert pediatric fast-food from the kitchen pantry and returning it to where it got its start – in the medicine cabinet for emergency use only – requires a society-wide shift in popular, health-professional and political thinking. Deconstructing infant formula is one of the most important tasks at hand. "

Q. Okay, breast is normal. But surely infant formula is second-best isn’t it?
A. No, the second-best feeding option is obviously other breast milk, for example expressed milk from a child’s own mother or milk from another mother in good health, whether directly from the breast or a human-milk bank.

There's lots more!

Saturday, May 15, 2010

Art-a-Whirl Belly Mapping

First thing, today, Vic and I picked up my glass fusing pendants from Glass Endeavors and stopped out back of the 331 Club to hear The Roe Family Singers with Vic's Kurt playing mandolin. Kim and Quillan Roe's little 15-month-old girl, Elspeth warmed up with the band by grabbing the mike and imitating her mama.
Kim and Quillan stopped a moment with they saw Vic and I walk up and said how much they are recommending the Spinning Babies Website and how it helped them so much just before they had Elspeth. They mentioned that before, but as they are suddenly surrounded by pregnant friends their finding the site is useful to have as a reference for their friends, as well. That was fun to hear! And you should go hear them play Monday nights 9:30 at the 331 or first Friday and Saturdays at the Sea Salt right above the Minnehaha Falls. What a nice day. I continued on to take the glass and more Belly Mapping booklets over to Everyday-Miracles in the Waterbury Building.

Everyday-Miracles Doula Program enjoyed a busy open house today during the North East Minneapolis annual Art-a-Whirl. The center was filled with painted belly casts, oil paintings, craft and baked goods.
Lots of neighborhood art lovers strolled through, along with children, doulas, families and supporters. Meg Novak was there supporting their prison outreach doula program. Rae was everywhere and so were more volunteers for whom I wished I'd gotten their names.

My role was to offer individualized Belly Mapping sessions with pregnant women and their partners. Two women were already waiting for me though I came an hour early. I love the look on one father's face when he felt the shape of his 30 week baby curled in side his Beloved. What a joy to give a little window into the miracle they carry within them everyday for nine months. We also demonstrated the Forward-Leaning Inversion with the parents and later, the Rebozo with Deb, who just got accepted into the U of M's Master's Program for Nursing with a goal of Nurse Midwifery. She was so excited to get a head start on a little midwifery lore.

Everyday-Miracles is a miracle to me, because Deb and Mary work so hard to serve high-need women and their families, whether the need is financial, social or even imprisonment. Most of the mothers, however, are healthy women looking for empowerment in the pregnancy and birthing process and during early parenting. Its so fun for me to pop over and do a bit of Belly Mapping with the pregnant women. What a gift to draw babies of the bellies of women glowing with wonderment.

Everyday-Miracles strengthens families through the parenting experience, by supporting and empowering mothers during pregnancy. They provide pregnancy and labor support as well as prenatal education in a supportive, non-judgmental community for at-risk pregnant women who desire pregnancy, birth and early parenting services, regardless of age or culture.

Everyday-Miracle Programs

Their clients receive (at no charge) pre-natal education, doula support, postpartum care. They offer:

  • Group prenatal educational classes in English, Spanish and Somali
  • Free doula services including prenatal and postpartum visits along with continuous labor support
  • Breastfeeding support
  • Car seat clinics and home delivery for Ucare, MHP and Medica participants
  • Breast pump education and delivery for Ucare and MHP participants
  • Prenatal Yoga on Tuesdays, 4, 5 or 6 pm. (Gail: I noticed that the 5 pm class often has Islamic chanting playing while the 6 pm has East Indian music.)

Thursday, May 13, 2010

Belly Mapping in Michigan Center

Patty Brennan is a Michigan Midwife and Doula trainer with a wide range of excellent and unique education for parents, doulas and midwives on her Center for the Childbearing Year Website. She offers a dual purpose Belly Mapping and Palpation class to parents and aspiring midwives. (What a brilliant idea!) Patty has nice things to say about my new Belly Mapping Workbook on Patty's prolific blog and on her website (She has a cute typo on my name, I think I'll claim it, "Gaily." Thanks, Patty!)

Patty's great idea is to bring pregnant women in their last trimester together with aspiring and fresh midwives so that the women and the emerging care providers can learn the mysteries of fetal positioning together. The mother's are empowered in validating and/or learning their baby's positions. Plus its a fun and popular gathering. It takes a special teacher to bring together an audience in which their are two varying goals. The goals of a Belly Mapping/Palpation class can fit well with outgoing parents and sensitive aspiring midwives. I'm guessing that the aspiring get a chance to feel the womb-babies of the visiting mothers.

This level of training would best be offered by a very experienced midwife who has had her hands on lots of womb-babies. Palpation is an art and it takes spatial skills and study in books for the details of flexion, lie, and presentations. There are several things that aren't in books, well, they are now appearing, as in The Belly Mapping Workbook which teaches doulas and fresh midwives as well as parents, and of course, my favorite all inclusive series, Anne Frye's Holistic Midwifery.

Patty is an excellent teacher with so many great and often unique classes.

Tuesday, May 4, 2010

Belly Mapping Workbook could be improved

Ahh, darn. I found both a mistake and an awkwardness in the center of my new Belly Mapping Workbook.
The mistake is in the circle depicting what should be the map of a Left Occiput Posterior baby but has an older map in that placement of an oblique lie (a baby lying diagonally in the womb). The words "bulge in hip" in that circle should be omitted and the word "wiggles" should be in their place, centered, above the symphysis pubis.

The awkward page is right across on the page to the left of the transparency. The words describing what is seen when the transparency is set over that page are on the opposite sides of the circle than they should be. Its not wrong information, its just put in the wrong place and someone could be confused unless they were astute to see that the placement of the text isn't the best.

I'll release a pdf page with the correction. It can be pasted over the page in the book with thin glue or contact cement. More soon.

Meanwhile, the praise for the book is blooming like our Spring here in Minnesota! People are loving it.
Read about the book, read quotes and see how to purchase one or even bulk copies.

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.