Friends,

I have spent many many hours trying to think of a way to share the lessons I have learned from more than 20 years of parenting and a decade of serving families as a traditional naturopath and herbalist. I simply do not have time to effectively answer every single question that I am asked in person, and sadly many who WOULD ask me a question don’t even try because I can be hard to reach by telephone unless you are a midwifery client.

I think I have found a way to solve this that is affordable, convenient and thorough. I’m going to only send you this email/post once – and I won’t be bothering anyone again with the information. Just click “delete” if this doesn’t help you. That’s all I’m after: helping people reach their healthcare goals however I can!

I am publishing a free weekly health newsletter that you can sign up for it here.

And I have a 10 lesson eCourse available now called Family 1st Aid. For more information on that CLICK HERE.

I wish you all the best – and hope to hear form you all soon!

Yours,

Kelly

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Momentum

I’m tired tonight. I’ve driven roughly 600 miles this week, and that’s not counting driving for family matters. That adds about another hundred miles or so. Now, I’m not complaining. I’m really not. I am blessed beyond words, and HUMBLED by the number of colossally awesome families I meet in a given day. For instance:

The last minute meeting with a gal I’ve only talked to in passing that turned into a real “Ah-hah!” afternoon while we both nurse our babies and spoke of ways to improve MOTHERING support in our community.

The family I served this week (albeit BARELY!) who will leave for Mexico as full time missionary’s as soon as this baby’s birth certificate arrives. The mama wants to learn about herbs and homeopathics, and essential oils – she wants to mother her family to the fullest in a possibly hostile and surely third-world environment.

The family who is trying their level best to deal with well-intentioned but sometimes annoying family members who question their choice to homebirth. To see the GRACE with which they do this, and the STRENGTH behind their choice is astounding. I’m SO proud of them for standing their ground REGARDLESS of the choice they make (hospital birth vs homebirth really isn’t the issue here).

The young family that chased me down on the highway because they recognized my vehicle and wanted to see me again (I served them at their birth a few months back). We chatted about organic farming and their recent chicken killing activity over a latte’ at Starbucks. Well, I was the only one with a coffee… and I HAD quit until THIS week hit me! The conversation ranged from that to rare hogs to missing hens and non-GMO corn. Oh, and I got to cuddle THE sweetest baby boy who is getting SO BIG!

Really, I could go on and on. The text conversations with my sister-midwives, my daughter’s dreams of life after high school, my oldest calling home (sniff, sniff), my wonderful sons and husband who cook and even clean in my absence with nary a complaint. They even let me sleep the afternoon away until I can reclaim my home-post. 🙂

The real meaning behind my original statement is that when one is walking out their life-calling it can begin to move really really FAST. Once things get going the momentum is breathtaking! I know Staples has an EASY button, may I have a SLOW one? Because I certainly wouldn’t want to stop, skip or fast forward this journey. I simply would like time to enjoy it a bit more. 🙂

Touching me… touching you…

Sweet caroline…. good times never seemed so good…. I’ve been inclined to believe it never would… -Neil Diamond. Only a midwife could pull a birth analogy from a Neil Diamond song. 🙂 “Peri-natal psychologists and midwives I’ve talked to have … Continue reading

Boy oh boy…. CASTOR OIL

Of all my posts on this blog, the one that has stirred the most controversy is the one on Castor Oil for Induction. The article I posted wasn’t even a blog post, but a short synopsis of the research I did to support MY POSITION on the effectiveness of castor oil as an induction method.

Just today I received a rather snarky response to the article claiming that I “didn’t effectively research” and was “one-sided” putting women who might read it and “not do their own research” at risk. Oh, and that I cited an article/study that was irrelevant to the use of CO as it relates to induction. I cited many articles, many more than one, and AGAIN: I was writing this article as an assignment. I had to SUPPORT my position. And I did just that.

Geesh. I’ll approve the comment, of course, all in fairness, but I think the author went a BIT too far in her umm…. criticism? of my post.

Listen, it’s a free world out there. I post my thoughts and positions relating to birth on this blog ‘cuz it’s mine. 🙂 You are free to comment, critique, whatever. Just be fair. And remember that is IS my blog, and as such I can post MY thoughts and positions on it.

SO I will say again: I do not believe castor oil is safe for use on a scarred uterus (ie: VBAC), and may cause some really funky labor patterns in any woman’s uterus. Bottom line: I believe that induction disrupts that wonderful chemical symphony that the body (and the baby) creates to begin labor WHEN IT IS TIME. So whether it’s castor oil, prostaglandins, Cytotec, WHATEVER, fundamentally I believe it changes the energy that surrounds a birth when compared to one that begins spontaneously.  And ***I*** believe it changes it for the worst, not the better.

And again, I’m a US citizen and am entitled to post just that: my beliefs. And for the record, they are based on MOUNTAINS of research, not a “whim” and certainly not without a great deal of care and thought as to the possible implications my beliefs might have on others who read them.

I will be quite transparent: I do not believe induction is safe, healthy, natural or any of the other commonly used adjectives that commonly surround it. I believe induction is sometimes warranted, but within very limited parameters and with VERY careful consideration given to the implications of that decision. I do believe a woman has the right to choose it, but also believe she should be fully informed.

And since “anyone can google castor oil induction” and find out how to do it with little information provided on the risks, I thought a balanced response to that information was in order. 🙂

So… hit delete, or whatever you want to do – that’s cool (free country after all) but don’t accuse me of being cavalier with information that just might save someone’s life and the life of their baby. Because I certainly am not.

Induction Doubles Risk of Cesarean

Ok, so if you’re going into a hospital that has a 30% cesarean rate, and you go in for an induction, does that make your chances of a cesarean go up to 60%? Probably not, but it did make me ponder. SO many of the induction I hear about from friends, relatives, etc. end in a cesarean. To say that half of them do is not a stretch.

CONCLUSION: Labor induction is significantly associated with a cesarean delivery among nulliparous women at term for those with and without medical or obstetric complications. Reducing the use of elective labor induction may lead to decreased rates of cesarean delivery for a population.

LEVEL OF EVIDENCE: II

(C) 2010 The American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists

Here is the article just published with these stats:

Labor Induction and the Risk of a Cesarean Delivery Among Nulliparous Women at Term

Ehrenthal, Deborah B.; Jiang, Xiaozhang; Strobino, Donna M.

Obstetrics & Gynecology. 116(1):35-42, July 2010.

doi: 10.1097/AOG.0b013e3181e10c5c

VOICES: VBAC Women Share Their Journey

OH, it’s such a beautiful little book! Keep in mind that this is coming from the publisher directly (since it takes about 3 months to get it onto Amazon) so it ***CAN*** take 4 weeks to arrive. It shouldn’t and probably won’t, but I did have to warn you. I SO hate waiting for books!

Voices contains a full chapter of statistics and research surrounding VBAC success rates, real risks vs. fear-based risks, and the TRUTH about the risk of uterine rupture compared to other obstetrical emergencies. I’d like to say that this book was written for women wondering if their care provider is “right” that it is too “risky” to try to VBAC, but doesn’t have time or energy to sift through a mountain of studies or a pile of books that include only a small section on VBAC. It is also written for the woman who knows instinctively that she will have a VBAC and needs to win over a partner or care provider. But…

The real power of this book are the women’s birth stories. They are SO powerful. They are the true, real stories, unedited and unadulterated. They stand on their own. You will be changed by them. If you don’t understand what the “big deal” is about VBAC, then this book is for you as well.

At the end of the day, I believe in women having the right to birth as they choose, on their own power and in the climate and surroundings of their choosing. For women choosing VBAC and for their care givers, this book is a vehicle for those freedoms.

So many women today face VBAC “bans” or so many restrictions on their labors that they walk in the door with one foot in the operating room. Let’s put the TRUTH out there. I believe women are wise – and capable of making decisions based on facts, not fear.

Domicilary Obstetrics

Here in the US, homebirth midwives normally seek to remove and distinguish themselves from the term “obstetrics”. It conjurs images of sterile green hospital walls, episiotomies, paternalistic care, and the dreaded bed and stirrups of 2nd stage.

I recently came across the term used in a most delightful way at the Homebirth Australia site.. It’s definition most creativily defining what homebirth midwives do:

However, domiciliary obstetrics is the ‘art of invisibility’ and without complications a woman gives birth herself, supported and aided by her midwife. -Jan Pilgrim

I would love to have turned that phrase. “The art of invisibility”. Yes! A watchful eye, careful watching, gentle hands. THIS is the art of the midwife.

Who’da thunk it?

A WOW news release on MedLine this morning regarding the safety of planned homebirths. Get this:

All of the outcomes studied occurred with comparable frequency in the planned home and hospital birth groups. These included intrapartum death (0.03% vs. 0.04%), intrapartum and neonatal death within 24 hours of birth (0.05% vs. 0.05%), intrapartum and neonatal death within 7 days (0.06% vs. 0.07%), and neonatal admission to an intensive care unit (0.17% vs. 0.20%).

[My note: actually, the numbers show slightly better outcomes at home. 😉 ]
“As far as we know, this is the largest study into the safety of home births,” the authors note. The findings, they conclude, indicate that with proper services in place, home births are just as safe as hospital births for  low-risk women.  ~ BJOG 2009;116:1177-1184

NOw of course this is a “foreign” publication (British Journal of Gynecology) so I don’t know how much credibility it will get here in the trenches, but WOW. Very cool that the news is getting out there to US med students and physicians!

Only if…

“It’s a numbers thing,” says Dr. Shelley Binkley, an ob-gyn in private practice in Colorado Springs who stopped offering VBACs in 2003. “You don’t get sued for doing a C-section. You get sued for not doing a C-section.”

I’ve seen this quote before, but it never quite made me as angry as it did this morning when I was reading it in the context of THIS TIME MAGAZINE ARTICLE. This California mom has to drive 100 miles to have the chance for a VBAC. Give me a break!

I understand liability, I truly do, and I understand that to continue offering care for the majority of patients, one must sometimes eliminate care for the minority. But hey. This is ridiculous. As a VBAC mom myself, I would have to drive at least 100 miles and then only have “permission” for a “trial of labor” within a very small window of opportunity. “Only if” my incision was of type A, “Only if “ my bag of waters hadn’t been broken more than 12 hours, “Only if” the baby was in a perfect position (by obstetrical definitions), “Only if” the labor didn’t last more than X number of hours, “Only” if it progresses well, “Only” if I would have continuous fetal monitoring, “Only if………”

By the time all of the restrictions had been placed on me I’d have a better chance of delivering my baby vaginally in a snow storm in the middle of April. Yeah, it happens, but rarely. Birth was not meant to be a 3-ring circus with planned events and bright lights.

This mom, in the Time article, said her biggest fear was the drive and that she might not make it to the hospital.

If only… she gets that lucky. It might be her best chance at a natural birth.

Midwifery in Missouri

For those of you unaware of the status of midwifery in Missouri, this stands to be a banner year for the cause here. Currently, a homebirth is legal but having anyone attend that homebirth other than a CNM or an MD is a felony charge. There is a court case coming up in the spring that could change all that, but in the meantime we need to make LOUD our support of professional midwives and our choices in regards to where we give birth.

Even if you aren’t a supporter of homebirth, if you live in Missouri and support ANY of the following, consider writing or visiting your representative about this issue:

  • Do you believe women and families should control their choices in healthcare, not doctors or legislators?
  • Do you support TRUE informed consent regarding healthcare decisions?
  • Do you support the idea that medical decisions should remain in the hands and hearts of the people that those decisions effect?
  • Do you support the idea that mothers and babies deserve high-quality, caring, safe healthcare regardless of where they choose to give birth?

If you agree with any of the above statements, then please, consider writing to your Missouri Representative today! If you are NOT a Missouri resident, but support the above or midwifery/homebirth in general: visit Friends of Missouri Midwives to see how you can help!

Again, many of us realize that this year’s elections will change our lives in numerous ways. Perhaps more so than any election has in years. Let this be the banner year for Missouri families as we seek legislation to increase their options for safe, affordable, empowering, fearless birth!