Sunday, January 23, 2011

Can I Help You? Please?

Please, let me make a difference.

Reward my hard work with a listening ear. See my passion for what it is - genuine care for you and your baby. I'm not crazy, or fanatical. I just believe in a way to give birth that veers from society's norm, but is a path that is as old as time itself. When my eyes light up when I find out you're pregnant, and I ask your birth plans, it's not because I'm looking for business. More than wanting clients, I want more success stories! I want you, my dear friends and acquaintances, to be successful. I don't ask your birth plans to make you feel inferior. I don't make little suggestions or ask questions to test you. I do it because I care.

If I give you a book, will you read it?

If I suggest an article, or make a comment about a new study I read, will you consider it?

If I look like I want to cry at the story of your planned c-section, can you please forgive me?

If you tell me everything you think I want to hear, but then go do the exact opposite of what you say, can you please, please not expect me to act joyful and OK?

If I suggest you allow your baby to come in his own time, do you understand that I do it because I want to help you ensure that your body and baby are ready and you won't end up with an unnecessary c-section?

If I probe about a fully natural delivery without epidural, do you know I am not sadistic and wanting you to have pain, but wanting you to have few complications and a successful breastfeeding relationship afterwards?

If you're a Christian, could you consider for even a moment that God designed you to give birth, and that you are not broken?

If you're not a Christian, could you consider that God designed you to give birth, and that you are not broken?

Lastly, can you forgive me for making this personal? This path I am on as a midwife is not about me, it's about babies and mommies. It's about your future health. I just can't help but be sad at times, when I see those I care about completely disregarding everything I stand for. I have some dreams that are dying painful deaths.

Can I help you? Please?


  1. Couldn't have said it better myself. And did you know that 'cassiethedoula' was my apprentice for a short while? She had her third at home yesterday.

  2. No, I didn't know that! Congrats to obviously helped play a part in encouraging her choices!

  3. As long as this is personal -- can I just say, Jennifer, how much I love you? And your amazing heart? I hear you; I understand. I've wondered why I care so much about something that is so often misunderstood, undervalued or simply overlooked. I won't expound, cuz you already said all that needs saying so beautifully. I just praise God for your work and your break-able heart . . . but it sure ain't fun sometimes.

  4. I so identify with this! You knew I would. I am with you.

  5. well said...your passion is making a difference!

  6. I certainly relate! I am so very thankful I can do what I feel best for my children. Everything else, we just need to let go. We can sow seeds when given the opportunity, and rejoice when we inspire others, but dwelling on those who are uninterested in natural birth and baby care only serves to depress us, and doesn't accomplish anything. We live in an upside down world, and most seem to choose the established, artificial path no matter what we say. That's their right and their business, not mine. We are sad for their children, but speaking for myself, I just have to let it go. There is so much we can't control. I'm sharing all this to tell you how I deal with the feelings you describe. It all makes me so thankful for my own children, who have been naturally birthed and cared for, and not at all conventionally raised. For everything that I have no control over, I let it go. For my own sanity. This is so much harder when it's someone you dearly love, but I have to let those go, too. Not the people, but my heartbreak over their choices. I pray you find the peace and balance you need to walk in what can be a very hard place at times. I love you!!!

  7. Revisiting this. My clients for tonight's childbirth class emailed me that they had to cancel. Her water broke & she was on her way to the hospital (that has 40-50% C-sec rate). 2 hours later, she had her C-sec. I'm in a daze & crying today, even though it's "not my problem."

  8. Sarah, I've almost posted several times to your FB notes about your client, but haven't. You just confirmed my suspicions, that she, along with her baby, is another victim of the "cascade of interventions." How tragic and preventable!

    A friend of ours is soon to birth her second child at home. She was so very deeply traumatized by her first birth six years ago that she would not even consider another pregnancy for five years. I was reminded of her story when I read your note about your client. Both women experiencing normal labor went to the hospital, and both wound up victims of the medicalized, hospital birth system.

    I know so many healthy women who had c-sections, and many other interventions, as a direct result of hospital protocol. Women believe they are safe in the hospital, not realizing that all the gadgetry and interventions they are told is to keep them and their babies safe is actually causing problems and complications and putting them in danger!

    In our area, almost all women are induced a week before their due dates. Not only do many of these women wind up with c-sections, they all experience many other interventions, and all are deprived of oxytocin, the love and bonding hormone. This is secreted during natural labor and birth, and leads to instinctive breastfeeding. Hospitals give women pitocin instead to artificially induce and/or hasten contractions, but there is no love in pitocin. Man can never duplicate what God creates.

    I remain convinced that home is by far and away the safest and healthiest place to birth. I just don't think you can have a gentle birth in our local hospitals. On top of their unneeded "management" of labor and birth, the automatic separation of mom and baby after birth is very detrimental for many reasons.

    Beginning with immediate cord clamping, which deprives the baby from much of his blood supply, and then continuing with baby being put in a warmer instead of on Mom, who is finally "allowed" to hold her baby, now wrapped in a blanket instead of skin to skin. Baby is then taken away again for all sorts of testing and observation, and to make sure his temperature and blood sugar levels are stabilized, both of which would be perfect were he left alone to nurse and have skin to skin contact with his mother!

    This all interferes with bonding and breastfeeding, and is very traumatic for the baby, who has never known life apart from his mother. The newborn should never be taken from his mom for any non-emergency reason.

    Sorry to write a mini blog post in your comments, Jennifer. The entire system of "care" for women and babies is very disturbing and upsetting to those of us who value birth as God intended, an intimate, profound, powerful, and blessed family event as when Jesus was born.

    And Sarah, I'm very sorry. We grieve, then we go on. There are others needing and desiring our help.

  9. I understand the views presented here but I'm slightly saddened by the inability to allow others their own beliefs. I had a friend who did it all the natural way. Home birth, midwife, birthing pool, everything. It all went fine until she had a massive hemorrhage just after giving birth. She barely made it to the hospital on time via ambulance and had to stay there for nearly two weeks. As a patient you have rights in a hospital, regardless of protocol. I'm not saying you have to like or advocate hospital births, but it should be respected that in some cases it is best and until the moment happens, the mother doesn't know if she needs to be there. It may be a natural one, but it is a fearful time as well. Fear of what could happen and fear of the unknown. It is fully possible to have an extremely nurturing and natural birth inside a hospital if you are willing be adamant about your wishes and take the time to let your provider know your wishes.

    Anyway. I'm not trying to start anything, but as a mother who had to have a cesearean, when I read things like some of the comments here, it's hurtful. I did what was best for my child, and I don't see how you can be "sad for my child" when he is a healthy and happy little boy. It just seems that while advocating your point of view you are leaving no room for the fact that everyone is entitled to their own beliefs. And just as you want to be respected for yours, the street runs both ways.

  10. Anonymous,
    I am very sorry that my comments caused you to feel hurt. That was not at all my intention, and I apologize. I was freely sharing my heart with others who are pained by our medical system of care for mothers and babies. I very much so respect the fact that everyone is free to make their own choices, and I am so thankful for my freedom to do the same.

    I actually don't share these types of thoughts with friends and family who choose hospital birth. They know I like homebirth and if they are interested, I'm happy to share my thoughts. But, I do not offer my opinion when they are going in for their hospital induction, or any other thing they do that I may not like. It's not my business. No one speaks negatively to me about my choice to homebirth, and I do not speak negatively to others about their choices.

    In our local hospitals, the wishes of birthing women are not at all respected. Perhaps in your area they are. That is a large part of the problem around here. Women are expected to submit to hospital protocol, which is highly managed from the time she enters the hospital to the time she leaves with her baby. Women are induced at 39 weeks, and even the few not induced are still given pitocin and more to speed things up. We have the 5th highest c-section rate in the nation. Inductions are dangerous, and many women "fail to progress" and wind up with a c/s. However they wind up birthing, all are subjected to dangerous cervical ripening drugs, most commonly cytotec, which is not even safe for pregnant women. They are all given pitocin, which causes such unnaturally strong, painful contractions with no break in between that most women must have an epidural to cope. They are all confined to the bed and hooked up to numerous tubes and machines. They are all put in stirrups to birth, and told when to push and for how long. Episiotomies and vacuum births are extremely common. All the babies' cords are immediately cut. The babies are taken from their mothers to the nursery.

    It is exceedingly difficult for a laboring woman to fight for her rights while in hard labor. I have only one friend who succeeded at avoiding all interventions in the hospital, and the staff was furious with her. She was a troublemaker to them, yet she only wanted to protect her baby. A nurse even jabbed her (the mom) with a vaccine while she was repeatedly refusing it. She managed to have a hospital birth with no induction, pitocin, epidural, etc, but it was not at all nurturing or peaceful. As someone who has labored and birthed, I can not even imagine fighting with people while trying to labor. A woman needs peace and safety to relax and labor.

    I have had so many friends tell me of how their desires were refused. One repeatedly begged the staff to bring her baby from the nursery. When finally brought her baby, she then angered the nurse when she nursed her child. Why? They were running a blood sugar test and it would skew their results!

    C-sections can be lifesaving, and I am thankful we have skilled, emergency care. I know many women who have had c/s, and only two were true emergencies. All the others were mostly first pregnancies ending in c/s due to hospital interference and the subsequent babies being c/s as well. A few were breeches or multiples, and very few doctors will "allow" a vaginal birth with these. Most doctors don't want to do VBACs either.

    I do not think any less of any of these women, and I do not judge them in the slightest. They are my friends and family. Few people I know have homebirths. I don't elevate those who do above those who don't.

    I hope I have been able to clarify and demonstrate that I am not wanting to hurt anyone, and I'm sorry again for coming across that way. It is not one shred of my business what another chooses, and I don't try to scare woman away from hospital births. I don't say anything unless she expresses an interest in natural birth, and very few ever do.