full of win

It’s been an INSANE few weeks, hense my lack of posts recently. Since I switched from working nights to days, I have been more busy with family on my days off and when I’m working I barley have a moment to drink my coffee hot, let alone type out a post (which I was able to do at night). Anyway, I am sporting a brace on my left wrist/thumb for a few weeks thanks to tendonitis in my thumb. Why/how you ask? From lifting my children, of course! No seriously…this pain had been coming and going for a long time. Nothing worth really worrying about until it became constant and then BAD. Like, WTF is wrong with my hand bad. So now I’m supposed to “rest” my thumb for 2-4 weeks to help the tendons heal. This is impossible without the brace and with it, I am so annoyed by it and I can’t even get gloves on over it without looking like a fool! Hopefully not much longer….

I’m loving that I have taken the summer off from school. Last summer, I had a baby the end of May so I had the whole summer off of school AND work. Pretty choice if you ask me. This summer has been packed full of sunny days to the splash park, working, late thunderstorms, and a butt load of sunblock. Seriously, we are almost out of all three of the bottles I bought back in May. But I can safely say that we have only all had one minor burn each (minus the baby, thankfully!).

Wanna really know what I’m up to all the time? Follow me on instagram. @midwife101

And just for fun, the internet has been so full of win lately, so here are my favorite links I’ve been loving.

This America’s Got Talent audition. You guys, I did NOT see that one coming and both B and I were in tears from laughing so hard!

All you fans of birth will love this video. It’s incredible. Dad is racing to the hospital with a GoPro on his head as his wife labors and delivers…where? Watch to find out!

This post about what happens after you have a baby. If anyone is truly wondering what my job entails, read #10. That is me, squating in front of you! ;) I love it. I love taking care of women in such a precious, delicate time in their life!!

Do you like the Sam Smith song Stay With Me? Well, my buddy from college, Tyler Ward, is kind of a big deal on youtube and this is his cover of the song. Beautiful!

And lastly, because it’s Thursday, here is a throwback post about what defines a term baby.

Have a great day!

all done

As of four nights ago, Evelyn and I have stopped nursing. It was coming slowly over the last month as I watched my supply tank and her interest fade. I let her do 90% of the leading and followed the “don’t offer, don’t refuse” mantra that many weaning mamas had suggested. I stopped pumping at work when she turned one, which I was so glad to be done doing! Any mama who must pump for any reason knows how hard pumping is!

breastfeeding has been an incredible journey for us and I am so thankful we were able to do it successfully. I can understand why so many women have a hard time getting past the first 3-6 weeks because it is SO exhausting and painful. Maybe not for everyone, but for most. I wanted to share some pieces of wisdom that I learned throughout our 13 month journey.

  • Let baby lead, you follow. Meaning, feed on demand. This can seem tricky, especially as they get older and more assertive. I always let Evie do the leading as to when she wanted and needed to nurse. Just a month ago when she spiked a random fever she nursed all day long! I’m sure it was more for comfort than for anything else, but it’s what she needed and I knew that is what was best.
  • Nursing strikes happen. We only had one true strike when she was around 4 months old and I spent almost two weeks pumping and bottle feeding, only after I’d attempt to get her to latch first without success. Then one day she decided to just come back to nursing.
  • Find a great lactation counselor. We have an awesome program through our hospital and I swear my LC is the Mother Theresa of breastfeeding! I called her often and she was always available to help talk me through any concerns I had. I also went to the weekly check in group where I was able to weigh and feed Evie to see how here weight was doing. We didn’t go every week, but it was nice to be around other moms and get any questions I had answered.
  • Buy good nursing bras and tanks. I lived in these things and found that, at night, a tank was perfect for nursing!
  • You can get through teething without being bit–often! I tell ya, when Evie popped her first tooth at 5 months I thought our nursing days were numbered. I was so worried about her biting me. I’d heard horror stories! She managed to get 8 teeth by the time she was 10 months old and she only bit me a few times, usually due to a bad latch. But we got through it!
  • Surround yourself with support. Make sure your partner is supportive and if he is not, give him a swift kick…no really…he needs to embrace this amazing gift you’re able to give your baby! You’ll also want support from your girlfriends.
  • Nurse in public, cover or no cover, whatever is most comfortable for YOU and your baby. I never had a problem with nursing in public and I used a cover sometimes but Evie hated it. Then, as she got older she became so easily distracted I’d have to go hide somewhere quiet to get her to nurse. Just do what is most comfortable for YOU. :)

That’s all for now! I am  sad this is over, but glad to move on from this and to build our relationship in a different way as she grows.

we need GREAT midwives

This post is coming to you as I have had several days to think about the amazing reactions I’ve had to my most recent post My Thoughts on Home Births. The thing about midwifery is that there are way too many distinctions of different kinds of midwives. Just a few: Lay, Direct Entry, Certified Professional Midwife and Certified Nurse Midwife….the only thing you need to know is that a CNM is the ONLY type of midwife with a clinical degree in nursing. That means she (or he in some places!) has a high school diploma, bachelors in nursing, masters in nursing and nurse midwifery certifications and degrees. I’m taking a rather slow and easy road to midwifery, but if one is on the normal track to becoming a midwife straight out of high school, then she will have been in school for at least 6 years, if not more in some cases. She also must take continuing education in basic life support, neonatal resuscitation, suturing, etc. CPMs, Lay, and Direct Entry midwives may have some pre recs to take before entering a program and in less than 3 years they could be on their own catching babies, mostly at home. Those midwives are not certified to work in a hospital or in some birthing centers. All this to say…education makes a huge difference and as I said in the last post about home birth, I am a HUGE advocate for education, both of the provider and the patient.

I say this because, despite my not being a fan of home birth, our country still needs good great home birth midwives. People who want to give birth at home, educated or not, are going to give birth at home and they should do so with a great midwife. The most ideal home birth midwife would be a CNM. I know a few CNMs who actually attend births at home. This area gets sticky depending on different state regs, but in Colorado, it is allowable. Now, does she carry liability insurance? Probably not because it is too expensive to do so. Would I hire a midwife to attend my birth without liability insurance? No, because that also means that my insurance is most likely not going to cover a dime. Regardless, we need to accept that, while home birth is not the safest place to have a baby, that it’s still going to happen and they need to be attended by great home birth midwives.

What does a great home birth midwife look like? In a perfect world, she is a CNM and has experience working in a hospital setting. She has a relationship with the local hospital in which transferring is not looked at with such negativity and she carries liability insurance. She carries a post-patrum hemorrhage kit with her, along with a tank of O2, an IV kit with plenty of fluids and oxytocin. She has THREE assistants..not just one or two. These are also CNMs who have just as much experience and understanding in labor, birth, and newborn care. She also only takes on truly low-risk moms. In a perfect world, right? For now, our focus should be on having the same standard of midwifery care at home as we do in the hospital. That scope needs to include the same amount of schooling and continuing education that is required of CNMs today. If you know anything about education, you also know that those standards change constantly and in my experience, become more thorough and strict. That is great! Midwifery is a profession just like any other and you wouldn’t hire someone who was not fully educated to take care of you and your baby, right?

The reason we need great home birth midwives is because we need to lessen the number of neonatal deaths. Since families are going to make that choice whether I agree with them or not, we still need to have educated, great midwives attending those births. We need to continue to hold midwives accountable who have had deaths or complications made because of their lack of education or preparedness.

Remember, we don’t want to bury our babies twice, or even once if we can! #notburiedtwice

3 Links

Here is a list of links to some great articles around the web right now. If you want something featured, leave a comment! Thanks.

10 Scientific Ideas That Scientists Wish You Would Stop Misusing:  This is a fantastic article. Makes you seriously think about what “proof”, “theory”, “natural” and “organic” actually mean.

The fact that science never really proves anything, but simply creates more and more reliable and comprehensive theories of the world that nevertheless are always subject to update and improvement, is one of the key aspects of why science is so successful.

Dear Pink: Thank You for Breaking the Breastfeeding Mom Mold: I love this quippy little article about how badass Pink is when it comes to breastfeeding. America needs to take a massive chill pill and realize that boobs are for breastfeeding, not sexual satisfaction.

A Woman’s Body is Made for Childbirth: Interesting opinion piece on “natural” childbirth, meaning vaginal and without medication. I have a post coming up soon on what “natural” actually means and how it’s getting lost on all the NCBers.

Have a great day!

on life (currently)

Again, I want to welcome all my new readers! I had no idea the impact my post on home birth would have and I am so grateful for all the positive feedback. Nearly 1000 views in one day! I broke a record you guys!! Thank you!!!! I am assuming that any negative thoughts are being kept to yourself–that’s fine. I respect that. If you know me personally, then you know the last thing I want is to hurt anyone. However, there is a place for this conversation and I encourage you to share your thoughts, no matter what they are. As I said, it’s a very touchy subject. So welcome. And thank you for being here!!

A few weeks ago I decided that this midwife-to-be needed to share more personal posts. This is one of them. An update on life. 

Last week I worked 3 nights in a row. Around 5am one morning, we had a very precipitous birth come in! Baby came as I pushed the delivery table into the room and mama was still on the bed she was brought up on from the ER. It was incredible! The adrenalin rush of everyone finding their place and job was amazing to watch. The midwife was actually there, which I feel is rare for a night time delivery which is so fast! Dad told me they thought baby would come in the car, but thankfully they made it in time.

I went home, slept and came back only to have ANOTHER precipitous birth! Mom was at 4cm complaining of pain and pressure. Then like that she was crowning! The other tech made the delivery table just in time for baby to come, delivered by an amazing nurse. He had a nuchal cord X1 and I have to be honest–I just learned what that meant! Nuchal cord means that it’s wrapped around the neck and X1=1 time. This made me recall a mama we had awhile back who had a non-reactive stress test. Baby heart tones were poor and she was nearly 41 weeks. She was taken to the OR and baby had the cord wrapped around SIX times!! YES…SIX!! Baby was fine. :)

Anyway, after two precips in one day, I was ready to roll! I am on a birth high!! I am so happy to be in this profession and cannot wait to learn more. I was thinking to day that, after a month off, I am ready for school again! Hahaha…I am thankful for a summer off with my kids though, and once I start class in August I know I will be so busy I will be wishing we were back to the time off.

I’ve been marathon-watching Big Love. I love watching shows about weird and interesting lifestyles. I watched it way back when it was still on but missed several seasons so I started over. I love the family dynamics.

Evie is down to nursing one time a day. I am feeling so much peace about it! I did not think it would be this easy. I think the thought of weaning was more saddening than the actual act of doing it. It feels natural and I’m letting her be the guide. Tonight, she nursed once side but refused the other. And so it goes…

my thoughts on home births

I have thought long and hard about writing a post like this. It’s a touchy subject, especially in the natural childbirth (NCB) arena and I’m still having a hard time finding my words but I’ll try.

When I was pregnant with Logan, I had no desire to ever enter the medical field other than working in administration. When I was 28 weeks, we watched The Business of Being Born and I thought my world was turned upside down. I cannot explain how one documentary on childbirth, home birth, and how OBs are only surgeons, changed my mind in 90 minutes and made me question every decision we had made up until that point about our care. We were with an OB office and had a decent, uncomplicated experience so far. We had started going to natural Bradley Method childbirth classes and learning more about the birthing process. But as I reflect on that time almost 5 years ago, I am dumbfounded how easily influenced I was, and how I tried to manipulate my  husband into thinking that a home birth was the only way and that hospitals were just a place where they wanted to perform all these interventions so they could get more money.

Um….crazy thoughts, right??

Even still, we checked into our insurance options and switching providers and to a home birth was not something our insurance would cover. Good thing since our son had a spontaneous pneumothorax at birth. When I shared this with a local home birth midwife recently, she said it must have happened when they tried to suction him since he had meconium in the waters and she had never seen a spontaneous pneumo in her 30 years of doing home births. Not so. I have a video of Logan laying on my chest immediately after birth and you can tell he is really struggling to breathe and cry. And he didn’t actually aspirate any meconium. Had we been at home, it would have taken at least an hour to transfer to the hospital if the midwife attending was able to quickly determine that there was something wrong. By the time Logan was an hour old, he had been treated with an oxygen hood, chest xray, and diagnosed with the pneumo. It was, by far, one of the scariest nights of my life, but I am so incredibly grateful that we delivered in a hospital with a level 3 NICU.

After his birth, I found my passion. It took many months for me to accept it, but I knew pretty quickly that my career path was about to change. I toyed with the idea of what kind of midwife I wanted to be. I even considered home birth at one point but I never felt comfortable with the liabilities and risks. Even as I type this, I feel a lump in  my throat. My husband also expressed his concerns and thoughts and we have always had a deep understanding with each other that if one of us felt strongly about something, that we would respect each other’s thoughts and feelings on the subject. He’s a very easy-going guy and for him to feel strongly about my career path means the world to me.

Since then, I have busted my butt to really figure out what kind of midwife I want to be and what I believe. I know that there are good CPMs out there, just like I know there are good OBs and CNMs as well. This is not a post where I am going to knock CPMs and talk about how terrible they are and how home births should be outlawed. I’m not that close-minded or disrespectful. What I will say, though, is that I do not agree with the safety of home birth and how it is portrayed in the NCB. I think it feels like brainwashing and I can say that as I was one of those new mamas feeling the pull to make a rash decision without any education behind my choice to have a home birth (or not). I can say that I felt brainwashed into thinking that OBs were just surgeons looking for the big bucks and that they have no invested interest in their patients. In general, this is not true! I know and work with some incredible OBs, both male and female (not that that matters). I also know some OBs who I would not want to be under their knife, but isn’t that the case about any thing? You can have good lawyers and bad lawyers, good engineers and bad engineers, good OBs and bad OBs. 

There is a huge part of me that wants this to sound like I am a devil’s advocate, comfortable with either side of the debate of home birth vs hospital birth but the truth is, and what I believe, is that there IS a difference and that there are countless statistics showing how much safer hospital births are than home births. I am not going to list those here because most of us know how to use Google and other people have already gone the distance to do all that work. This blog is one of them. And here is another.

Long story short, I am not a fan of home births. I respect you if you’ve had one and if you are planning on having one, I hope you’re doing everything you can to learn about risks and complications for both mom and baby. Post partum hemorrhage, nuchal cord (around the neck), shoulder dystocia, meconium aspiration…just a few to name as complications that can happen even to a low risk healthy mom. Some of these become even greater risks if mom has other identifying factors, but they can still happen. I had a mom come in recently who had been laboring most of the day. She came in to be checked, was a 3, contractions kind of all over the place so she was sent home. She came in later that night when I was on and was a 6, but complaining of terrible pain in her stomach and baby heart tones were pretty low, despite position changes and even after contractions ended. Baby was not recovering and something was wrong.  We rushed her to the OR and it turns out her placenta was abrupting. Had we waited much longer both of them could have been in a world of trouble and had she been at home…I don’t even want to think about how badly that could have turned out.

I am constantly learning. The more I learn, the more I realize that home birth really is not a safe choice. It wasn’t for me, and for so many others it has ended in absolute tragedy. I have worked in the hospital for over 3 years and in that time, no babies or mothers have died due to something we were able to treat them for. Yes there have been hemorrhaging and codes and even an amniotic embolus in which both mom and baby survived!!

In closing, I would like to officially join the #notburiedtwice movement. I’m not going to go into detail about it here as I’d like to encourage you, dear readers, to find out for yourself. I am a firm believer in self-education and this is an opportunity for you to do just that.

Thank you for reading and allowing me the space to express these tough feelings. All I ask is that if you choose to comment, be respectful.