Some things…

just never change. I have personally changed and grown SO much over the past…errr…. couple of decades…. that is is always a surprise to me that change is so difficult for some. A few of my children really struggle with it, but I personally and invigorated by NEW THINGS. What is really spectacular is when someone “NEW” turns out to be something “old”… and it’s better than what is “current”!!! I recently stubbled onto an old article on the importance of SALT for pregnant women. This particular article was an advertisement, endorsed by a physician, written in the 20’s. He was seeing so much swelling and lethargy that he posted the ad in his own name and on his own dime. His solution came from a long family history of farming, where lack of real salt is a common factor is preterm birth, lack of appetite and the general downturn in a female animals productivity.

Certainly, female HUMANS aren’t exactly the same as other female mammals from a physiological (or ethical) perspective. However, a woman’s basic need for trace minerals (found in sea/real salt) & potassium (also found in real salt) increase during the childbearing year. Swelling is your body’s way of screaming for more fluid and in all but the rare cases of true eclampsia can be “cured” by the liberal use of real salt and the removal of the commercially available fake kind.

Here is an “advertisement” (and I apologize for that) for Real Salt (the brand). There is just so much good information here on why real salt is important that I’m linking to the entire file. Enjoy the reading!

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into the light…

The sunshine streams gently through the window. Dawn is breaking and a mother is gently guiding her baby into the light. Lace curtains flutter with the spring breeze. The smell of lilacs waft through the window. Dad watches in awe – say’s, “You just worked harder in 7 hours than I have all year.” The midwife stands ready, prepared for whatever… or nothing… that might need her attention. Siblings wait outside the door hoping to soon hear the coo of their new brother’s cry.

And it comes. Lovely water birth – vaginal birth after cesarean – the birth everyone told her she couldn’t have. After two cesareans she was told “Your chances of a vaginal birth are zero.” 
 
She beat the odds. But she wasn’t lucky. The research shows the risk for uterine rupture when attempting a vaginal birth after cesarean is somewhere around 3%. Of those 3% an unknown number of them will result in a fatality of the baby and life threatening hemorrhage in the mother. The risks are certainly real but often over-stated. Hospital policies usually hold the trump card and women are increasingly being forced to look at out-of-hospital options if they wish to attempt a VBAC. To illustrate the ridiculousness of some policies – the mother described above had 2 cesareans and then 2 subsequent vaginal births. She was THEN (with her 5th pregnancy) told she was now allowed a vaginal birth since she had previous given birth by cesarean. No mention to her of the data showing her risk of uterine rupture after 2 VBAC’s decreased to the percentage that every pregnant woman faces. No mention of the fact that POLICY dictated this physicians statement of her odds and not research.
 
If you are faced with making a decision regarding a vaginal birth after cesarean – follow your instincts. The benefits are numerous and the risks of repeat cesarean are often not mentioned or are understated by care providers. There are many online resources that can bring you to the data you need access to in order to make an informed decision about your birth. 
 
 
Look for local ICAN (International Cesarean Awareness Network) chapters with monthly meetings for support from other mothers. Local breastfeeding & mom’s groups can also be venues for finding an out-of-hospital providers or freestanding birth centers in your area. Whatever decision you make – make in an informed one. Your decision deserves the respect and support of your care provider. Don’t settle for less.

Big things…

come in small packages they say. But they come in big packages too. One of the “big packages” that comes with midwifery care is the apprenticeship model of learning. It’s not enough to read about, “practice”, and then take a test to become a midwife. The apprenticeship model includes hundreds of hours following around an experienced midwife, asking questions, packing bags, asking more questions, practicing, seeing, watching, being still and in the background, being in the front and center of the action, sitting in the other room, and sometimes (finally) gloving up and being ready to catch a baby! And only THEN do we “take the test”! 🙂

I’m so thankful for the midwives that were willing to see me through my apprenticeship. To be willing to be available for a student is almost like adopting a child. Even if they don’t need that much from you in terms of actual TEACHING, you are putting your name on the line – saying that you are responsible for what they do and don’t do correctly, being willing to be accountable for your actions and theirs as well is a big commitment and I’m thankful for those who took that responsibility for me. The gift is immeasurable in it’s enormity and I will forever be thankful. This is one of those things that you simply must be willing to do if you become a midwife. “Each one teach one” is not only a cool slogan – it’s a way of life for quality midwives: to train up women in traditional midwifery care while balancing the political and legal challenges that factor in to everything we do.

With that being said, I’m pleased to announce the addition of two more students into the Dar a Luz family of Student Midwives! I’ll be posting introductions and photos as soon as their preliminary requirements have been met. To current clients, you may be meeting these women soon at prenatal and postpartum visits. Future clients in the northland area – you are in for a treat. I’m expanding my services in the area (that means LOCAL prenatal care!) to accommodate these students learning needs and offering a significant discount for those of you willing to participate in this process. Rest assured, I am still the one accountable for your care and YOU are in charge of what the students do and do NOT do for your care. It can be individualized for your level of comfort with the student. However, I can promise you that the students who work with me work VERY hard to be ready for this phase of their training. And they are ready or I wouldn’t put my neck out there for them. 🙂

If you are interested in promoting quality midwifery care and would like more information on working with a student midwife under supervision please give me a call for more information! Kelly @660-383-6059

Touching me touching you…

“Our culture may be changing, but our evolutionary need for touch remains the same. Babies’ brains are designed to expect closeness and proximity — to be held for their safety, psychological growth, physical growth, mental growth, to aid and stabilize their physiological processes and keep their immune systems strong. Touch is not an emotional fringe benefit. It’s as necessary as the air we breathe.”
~James McKenna

I was at a family event yesterday and saw two mothers. One mama carried her baby in a Moby Wrap, tucked safely inside, sweet and snug as a bug. She had a diaper bag on one shoulder, and her toddlers hand held on the other side. They both looked content and happy. The other mother carried her baby in one of those big bulky infant carrier/carseats. Neither looked happy or content. Baby was screaming loudly, mom’s posture was twisted to one side – loaded down with diaper bag on one side and carseat+baby on the other.

I can’t say enough about how different the mother’s AND baby’s appearance and demeanor are when using a carrier versus a carseat. Try it! The benefits of wearing your baby are far-reaching, both physically and emotionally, developmentally and relational.

Our Services

Dar a Luz Women’s Care offers homebirth services in these areas and private birth suites at our lovely freestanding center in Sedalia,Missouri. We also offer monthly classes including newborn care, breastfeeding, childbirth and sibling preparation. Our Mama Club meets monthly as well and explores a new topic with guest speaker each time! Call for a visit and come see us!

660-383-6059

Dar a Luz Women’s Care is pleased to also offer well-woman care as well as thyroid, non-hormonal fertility education and whole-woman nutritional support.

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. 🙂

Finding culture…

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Forget about fancy French boarding schools or etiquette classes… turns out you can BUY it! Cultures that is.

From kombucha to kefir to yogurt and sourdough, LIVE food is quickly experiencing a renaissance due to the enormity of the health benefits it brings along. This time eating healthy actually TASTES GOOD, unlike a decade ago when “no-fat” was all the rage. You’ve not tasted fresh bread until you have tasted fresh sourdough bread with cultured butter on top and a glass of raspberry kombucha to wash it down with.

We’ve all seen the Activia commercials… “beneficial intestinal flora” is now something that many American’s have at least heard of. Better than yogurt or acidophilus powder in a capsule, real – living – cultured food contains more probiotics than can be counted!

Benefits of Cultured Foods
If you are wondering how in the world to get your CHILDREN to try fermented foods, here’s a great place to start.
My favorite place for purchasing your starter cultures is Cultures for Health.
And lastly, here is a great jumping-off point for creating traditional food fare.

This return to traditional food doesn’t begin OR end with cultures though… think grass-fed beef, home-grown vegetables and sprouts, fresh ground grains for bread, soaked grains for cereals and granola, free-range eggs and raw dairy. The list is endless.

You might be feeling overwhelmed with the BIG-GIANT-ENORMOUS makeover your recipe book likely needs if you’re going to try for this changeover, but don’t give up. Think:

SIMPLE. PLAIN. OLD-FASHIONED. TRADITIONAL.

Start there and implement cultured foods into your daily menus. Once you have a system down for creating old-world cuisine in your thoroughly modern kitchen, it’s SO simple you’ll wonder why you didn’t do it sooner.

And if you’re wondering what culture has to do with birth… Midwifery Today published an article on GBS (group B strep) infections and lacto-fermented foods. Though there is no established protocol for using fermented foods to prevent GBS infections, the logic there holds thrilling possibilities for preventing this serious (but rare) complication of birth.

It’s all in the packaging!

 

Modern media has proven that you can wrap up just about anything and people will like it: IF the wrapper catches your eye!

Well, wrapping your baby isn’t a marketing ploy – and the cute factor is what’s INSIDE your baby wrap! There are many reasons to wear your baby. I love this website’s list. I can’t vouch for the items they have for sale as I’ve never purchased a wrap or sling. They are too easy to just make yourself!!!

Seriously though, you don’t have to spend $50 – $100 on a good baby carrier. My favorite to-date is a lovely length of fabric I purchased from the $1/yard table! No sewing required!!!

If you are new to mothering, you simply must give wearing your baby a shot. It will quickly become your favorite accessory. 🙂

Here are a few more links to get you started:
The Baby Wearer
Rebozo Way
Ask Dr. Sears

My favorite with sewing instructions:
Wear Your Baby

And if you need to “see” how to use a wrap, thank goodness for YouTube!
You Tube Wrap Videos

Like butter on a hot skillet…

some babies just slide right out. 🙂 And it really has nothing to do with their size.

Ok, MOST babies slide right out. The position of the baby & the mother work synergistically to produce the optimal size/shape/orientation of the pelvic outlet: that will maximize the opening while minimizing trauma to the mama/baby duo. I just love how it works… so beautifully. When left ALONE to labor/birth, mama with instinctively move into the best position for pain relief and opening up… it’s a beautiful thing.

I’ll admit, it is sometimes tempting to do “just one little thing” to help things along, and when mama wants us to that is exactly what we should do. But midwives are woman-SERVANTS not woman-MASTERS and I do not believe the midwife should control the birth space or dictate what happens there in any way. She guards/she watches… she HOLDS THE SPACE while the mama/baby do their dance, daddy in the wings, and witnesses the beauty.

On this lovely day I was witness to just such a dance. And it WAS beautiful. 🙂

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