Thursday, December 9, 2010

Sierra's Birth Story - A Halloween Treat

A Halloween Treat

Eleven days past your due date doesn’t seem like much…until you are living it out, getting more impatient by the day, fielding numerous “what’s taking so long” inquiries (as though you are in control of this phenomenon) and dreading the necessary induction if you reach the two week mark.

Multiple weeks of Braxton Hicks and phantom contractions made Saturday, October 30th seem pretty consistent with the past 5 weeks or so of waiting. The only difference was the regularity, but every six minutes of very mild contractions doesn’t mean a whole lot. Thus, we began our immensely long to-do list of last minute baby requirements and routine chores/errands. Item 1: finish packing bag for hospital on Tuesday, when we were scheduled to be induced. Good choice. We never made it past that.

While lamenting to my younger sister via telephone that things were not happening the way I desired, I felt my water break…at least I thought I did. It wasn’t a big theatrical gush, so I wasn’t completely sure…really, how are you supposed to know? After ascertaining that I had, indeed, lost a bit of my bag of waters we abandoned our to-do list in favor of inspiring the labor that I still did not completely believe was happening.

The remainder of the afternoon was rather anticlimactic – contractions were only slightly stronger and no closer together. My parents joined us in the evening for a welcome distraction from obsessing about when things would actually get rolling. They left around 9pm, when I started to get tired, so we could attempt to rest in preparation.

I realize now that lying down in any way was a big fat bad idea for me. I didn’t sleep, just switched from side to side during contractions that were becoming more frequent, though only just uncomfortable enough to keep me awake. It is amazing how long you can be in your head, debating the correct course of action and attempting to will yourself to get some sleep, rationalizing that at least you are resting…somewhat. Let me just say that sleep is not overrated, if you can get it.

Three o’clock saw the last of my patience; I woke hubs and let Lisa know we would be on our way soon. Hubs gathered up the ‘last minute’ items (this took so much longer than I thought it would…and most of the stuff was probably not necessary) while I attempted to help (until I was ordered to sit down) and then we were in the car and on our way. Driving to the hospital in the middle of the night definitely enhanced our excitement.

As we walked in to the ER (since it was after hours) some teen tried to bum a cigarette off of us (seriously?). At triage we learned that I was only at 3 ½ cm, but there was no way they were sending me home at almost 42 weeks gestation and already losing amniotic fluid…so we were led to a room to get settled in (the birthing suite…sweeeeet). As soon as I could, I hopped in the tub (oh tub jets, how I love thee and thy amazing pain relieving powers), where I spent several hours (talk about pruny fingers!) until Lisa arrived around 9am and suggested I get checked and try another laboring position.

Back to the bed, lying on my side, contractions became intense. And I was only at 4cm. Lisa rubbed my back and encouraged me to relax through each new wave for about an hour or so. Finally, after over 24 hours of labor, I reached my breaking point and began begging for an epidural. This was an extreme deviation from our intended birth plan, but I believe God’s hand was in this decision, as the rest of the birth would have been extremely difficult without the epidural and quite probably would have led to a c-section. We came pretty close as it was.
Once Hubs and I agreed on the epidural (he wanted to make sure I would not have regrets about it) I kept asking if the anesthesiologist could come before the next contraction (negatory). As I waited and got hooked up to every machine in the entire hospital and then some I repositioned to my happy place – sitting cross legged and rocking back and forth, completely zoned out to everything around me (including the spewing IV fluid due to a messed up tube). I was glad to have a break and be able to rest once the medicine began working.

My “rest” was short lived – the epidural, it seemed, was what my body needed to enable it to relax enough to dilate…in minutes I went from 4 to 8cm and shortly thereafter I was at 10 and it was time to push! With an epidural this is a very weird proposition. At first I just made the appropriate “pushing” face and hoped it was doing the trick. Eventually Lisa told me to use my stomach muscles, which made so much more sense and helped me to become more efficient. My cheer squad (my parents and Hubs) were so supportive and enthusiastic during this 2 ½ hour process. At the beginning everything was very serene and they would quietly say “push it out” (which made me think of Bill Cosby – “push it out, shove it out, waaaaay out!”) or “don’t stop” (and I kept thinking “don’t stop ‘til you get enough!”). My favorite was Hubs telling me to “crank one out.” I frequently heard, during this time, that the baby was coming…so often that I stopped believing that the current contraction was actually bringing baby into the world.

Two hours into pushing Lisa was getting concerned, so she brought in Dr. Harris for consultation. He watched a few pushes and then he brought out his arsenal of baby removal products. First up was an episiotomy, followed by an unsuccessful vacuum attempt (due to baby’s head being at an odd angle) and finally he just reached in and pulled baby out manually. [Sidebar: fourth degree tear – yowza! That battle wound caused me to be known around L&D as “that girl”.]

When the head appeared the cheer squad went crazy, reaching a mighty crescendo. It took me a minute to realize that they weren’t bluffing this time and I watched as baby emerged with the biggest pouty lip – ready to berate us for removing him from his warm and comfy home. The moment to discover the gender of our baby arrived moments later and we were so shocked to see that we had a son! My dad (a former ultrasound tech) watched the sonogram DVD months prior and feigned that he couldn’t tell, but the whole time he had a pretty good idea, so when baby arrived my dad shouted “I knew it! I knew it!!” while the rest of us yelled “it’s a boy!”
Little Love was then monitored, warmed and cleaned up a bit, and then Papa (Hubs) got to hold him – such a sweet father-son bonding moment. During all of this, my Dad kept returning to the bedside to tell me how perfect and good looking his grandson was. I had to agree.

It appears that Boo was just waiting all that time to have a very special Halloween Birthday. Giving birth was the most amazing thing I have ever done, and I wouldn’t change a second of it. I am woman, hear me roar.

Shout out to Lisa for her amazing support, encouragement and wisdom during a difficult birth; and to Tiffany for her awesome prenatal and postpartum care, as well as her patience through alllll of my questions.

Thursday, December 2, 2010

Nursing Mothers Group Discussion Topics

Nursing Mothers Group Discussion Topics
*** December 2010 ***
Wednesday Mornings: 10 AM – Noon

Join us in the Breastfeeding Support Center. Babies and toddlers
always welcome. Bring your questions and concerns –
In addition to the discussion topic, we’ll explore answers that work for YOU. This is informal and fun!

Dec 1 Do I Have Enough Milk?
How do you know? Tips for calibrating a plentiful milk supply in the early weeks will be discussed.

Dec 8 Nursing Mother’s Book Club
What is your favorite book or resource about breastfeeding and why? Bring a copy to show and tell.

Dec 15 Ouch! Is Breastfeeding Supposed to Hurt?
In a word, NO. We’ll discuss why many women believe this, and review the mechanics to prevent this from happening to you.

Dec 22 Baby’s First Holiday Season
Take a break from the busyness of season and enjoy some down time with other mothers.

Dec 29 Your Extended Family and Your Breastfed Baby
Family relationships are important. Your extended family can interact with your baby even if they can’t feed him or her. There are a MILLION ways to encourage this so no one feels left out. Come and share what has worked for you and pick up some tips.

Monday, November 29, 2010

Our New Student - Kylee

I guess I should have listened to my mother when she told me in high school that she thought I'd be great at working in women's health. I disregarded her then, but now here I am, having decided to be a Certified Nurse-Midwife! I get to provide care to women and their families, AND I get to catch babies! How lucky am I? So I guess the old saying "mama knows best" was correct!

My path has been pretty straight-forward to my goal of being a CNM: I was hooked on women's health as soon as I took my mother/baby course in nursing school. We all have those people in our lives who make a huge impact on us, and my maternity instructor was one of them. I finished nursing school at Northern Arizona University with my mind set on what I wanted to do, began working on Labor and Delivery at a hospital in Phoenix, and there I have been the past four years. I made my way through school part time with a job and a baby, a part of the rich history of the Frontier School of Midwifery and Family Nursing. I am so excited that my time has finally come to meet all the wonderful women, babies, and families that I get to be a part of caring for as a student midwife. I see the close bonds that the midwives at Bethany have with the women they care for, and I know it is because they really and truly care. I can't wait to begin forming those bonds, and look forward each day to meeting all of the wonderful families as I learn from the Bethany midwives.

Looking forward to meeting you all!
Kylee Lowdon, SNM

Wednesday, October 27, 2010

November Nursing Mother Group Topics

3660 W. Bethany Home Road Phoenix, AZ 85019

Nursing Mothers Group Discussion Topics
*** November 2010 ***
Wednesday Mornings: 10 AM – Noon


Join us in the Breastfeeding Support Center. Babies and toddlers
always welcome. Bring your questions and concerns –
In addition to the discussion topic, we’ll explore answers that work for YOU. This is informal and fun!

Nov 3 Accidental Holiday Weaning
Find out how “holiday weaning” can sneak up on a mother and what you can do to avoid it.

Nov 10 Nutrition (and Fitness) While Breastfeeding
With the holidays right around the corner, we’ll review healthy food and exercise choices for nursing mothers.

Nov 17 Baby’s First Holiday Season
If the additional busy-ness of the upcoming holiday season is already stressing you out, take a break and enjoy some down time with other mothers. We’ll discuss whatever is on your mind!

Nov 24 Happy Thanksgiving!
Share your favorite “new baby” memory from the past year. What unexpected changes did your baby bring into your life? How have you grown?

Wednesday, October 20, 2010

The Life of a Student Nurse-Midwife by Jaime

Because of the scarcity of Full-Scope Midwifery practices, Student Midwives often have to branch out from their school locations in order to find CNMs (Certified Nurse-Midwives) to learn from. I was born and raised in Phoenix, AZ (Moon Valley High School, Class of 2000!!), but I relocated to Nashville, TN to pursue my education at Vanderbilt University School of Nursing. I love Phoenix, and I find myself drawn here every chance I get J

So here I am, in my final semester of school. Looking back, I cannot believe how far I have come since I started this journey, but when I look forward, I see how far I have yet to go. I feel so fortunate to have landed in Phoenix, AZ for clinical training. Not only do I have my family here to support me, but I have been learning from the fabulous Midwives at Bethany Women’s Healthcare. Seeing the wonderful relationships that develop between the midwives and the women and families they serve is truly amazing, and it has helped me stay passionate about my goal of becoming a CNM.

I would love to answer any questions about being a Student Nurse-Midwife. So shoot!

Jaime Pickering SNM

Wednesday, October 13, 2010

Teressa's Birth Story

Friday, August 27,th was the day after my due date. I remember it clearly as it was 119 degrees outside, and I was over being pregnant. I decided to swim laps in my pool and walk on the treadmill alternately for over an hour even though I could barely move. I had heard that exercise, pineapple, and lots of walking could bring on contractions, so I did all three. That night, around midnight, I felt my first contractions. I started timing them, and finally decided to go to the hospital around 7am.

I was dilated to 3 cm when they checked me, and I decided to stay. I did a lot of walking at first, and remember asking the nurse at what rate I could expect to progress. She said approximately 1cm an hour, so I remember playing mind games with how well I was doing, and stated at 12 noon I wanted to be checked, expecting to be at least 6-7 cm and almost done. Well....I was at 4 cm at noon, and while the pain was bad- it was somewhat manageable in the tub. I had back labor, so the contractions were painful, but they were far enough apart that I could handle it.
The pain in my back began to worsen around 1pm, and I tried several positions with a ball and in the tub to try to get the baby to turn. I decided the tub was the most comfortable, so I went back there to wait. Shortly after I got in the tub, my midwife had to leave to deliver another baby. It did not seem like I was progressing, so I thought this would be more than fine. By the time the nurse came in to check the baby’s heartbeat the next time, I was yelling in pain and was thankful to throw up to get a break from the pain. My contractions started happening one on top of another, and I felt like I could barely catch my breath. I literally fell out of the tub with each contraction while the nurse was asking me to “rate my pain from 1-10”. I made her leave, and during one horrible one yelled, “I need an epidural now!” to my poor mother sitting outside the bathroom. She ran to get the nurse I had just told to leave, who needed me to get back to the bed to check me first.

It took me about ten minutes to get back to the bed because the contractions literally made me fall over. The nurse thought I was exaggerating my pain I am sure, and thought I was just being dramatic. We got back to the bed, and I was at 6cm, and my water had popped sometime while I had been in the tub yelling. My midwife was still delivering another baby, so she gave the ok for an epidural. I was so frustrated with myself that I had not “stuck it out” with natural childbirth, but I felt like I was passing out and I couldn’t think of an alternative. I remember looking at the clock, which read 3:40pm. I was convinced the clock had stopped for several hours and that it could not possibly still be the same day. The epidural involved getting an IV in and some fluid that the nurse promised would only take ten min. She could not get the IV needle in my arm for about ten minutes, because my contractions were constant. By the time the fluid started entering, I was begging her to make it go faster, and a minute later I was overcome with the urge to push.

The nurse looked at me, somewhat shocked, as it had only been 30 minutes since I was at 6cm, and said she should probably check me. I was at 10cm and could not stop pushing. She ran and got my midwife, who ran in as I was already pushing regularly. This part I don’t really remember at all, but it was not painful. I was on a mission, and it felt like my body took over as if it knew exactly what to do. I was told I pushed for less than 15 minutes, and I kept thinking I had to wait, because my daughter’s father was not there yet.

Amaya Grace was born at 4:08 pm and weighed 9lbs 2 oz and she was 21 inches long. They put her right on my chest, and I will never forget how she squeezed my finger and turned and looked right at me with huge, beautiful eyes. She had a full head of hair, and was absolutely the most perfect miracle I could imagine. It was almost shock I felt that the whole time I had been waddling around in pain, and wishing away my third trimester, I had the most amazing little girl inside me.
Her dad made it about ten minutes later, and was able to cut her umbilical cord. I sat for a long time with her on my chest, not wanting the moment to be over. I felt a great sense of pride in the fact I had made it, although unintentionally for a portion of the time, through natural childbirth, and I was overcome with love for Amaya, as if she had always belonged in my arms, lying on my chest. She is truly an angel sent by God.

Sunday, October 10, 2010


Some would say today is an auspicious day. 10-10-10. There have been 3 babies in our practice born so far today, one choosing to be born at 10:55 (seems like these would be fun numbers for a numerologist!). Sweet babies all. And STRONG mothers!! Such a gift to attend births. Big thanks to all the supportive nurses at Phoenix Baptist! It's a very good day!

Melissa's Birth Story Part 3

Kimberly didn't seem too worried that I was feeling pushy, but Kevin was a different story. He was frantically running around the house, packing the car, and getting ready to head to the hospital. I was still in "my birth zone," and hadn't noticed, but Kimberly mentioned that he seemed pretty anxious to get on the road. A few moments later, Kevin approached us and said "I think we need to go." They both looked at me, and I responded that I really didn't want to get out of the birth pool. "We REALLY need to go," Kevin repeated, and I once again made it known that I really didn't want to get out of the water. "How am I going to do this in the back of a car?" I cried. Deep down inside I knew we needed to go, but it didn't make the task any easier. "OK," I sighed, as I prepared myself to leave my comfortable watery home.

Kevin quickly lifted me up out of the pool and began taking off my wet swim shorts. Kimberly asked me if I wanted some dry underwear to put on, and Kevin threw her a pair he had dug out of somewhere. She began putting them on me, but stopped when we realized that they didn't fit. "I don't need any underwear!" I said, a little annoyed. I figured that I'd be pushing this baby out sooner then later and wearing underwear didn't really make sense at that point. They helped me put my dress on over my sports bra, and we headed out the door. I really wasn't looking forward to the car ride, but Kevin tried to make the experience a little better for me. While I was in the birth pool, he had retrieved every towel,blanket, pillow, and comforter from our house and had constructed a soft nest to labor on in the back of the car. They helped me climb in, and I got on my hands and knees in preparation of the next contraction. Kevin asked Kimberly to ride with us, and she sat in the second row so she could do counter pressure on my back. Her hands were priceless at that point.

Once we were all in the car, we took off towards the hospital. I asked Kimberly to call the midwife's office to let them know we are on our way so they could meet us there. She made the call, and Lylaine (the midwife on call) was on her way to the hospital. Our car came to a stop at a red arrow to get onto the 60 freeway. Kevin's anxiety got the best of him and after a few seconds he decided he didn't want to wait anymore. He slammed on the gas as he turned a sharp left onto the on ramp, and I went flying in the back of the car. Naturally, I screamed bloody murder, and told Kevin to stop driving like a mad man. Fortunately it was all smooth freeway from there, and we arrived at the hospital after about 20 minutes.

It was 205am on Sunday September 12th.

Since it was the weekend, the South Building entrance was closed, and we had to go through the North Building Emergency Room entrance. The buildings connect at a bridge on the 3rd level, and this was our only way to get to the labor and delivery floor. Kevin drove up to the ER doors and helped me out of the back of the Tahoe. Kimberly took my arm, and walked me through the doors while I vocalized through a contraction. There were people in the waiting room, and I could see them staring at me. I really didn't care, and I closed my eyes and continued working through the contraction. Kimberly told the front desk that I was in active labor, having a VBAC, and was feeling pushy. They immediately took me back behind the reception area and gave me a chair to lean over. Surprisingly enough, the lady took her time asking me questions and didn't seem to be concerned that this baby might make his grand entrance at any time. My mouth felt like cotton from all the vocalizing I was doing, and I asked Kimberly for a drink. When Kimberly tried to give me some water the lady quickly interjected, "Only enough to get her mouth wet!" "Yeah," I responded, as in "Yeah right you're gonna keep me from drinking water crazy lady!" You think she would have known better to mess with a woman in labor.

Finally we were good to go, and a nurse suddenly appeared with a wheelchair. I declined the free ride, as there was no way I was going to sit during a contraction. Another pregnant woman was coming with us, and I overheard that she was due in a few weeks and having some minor cramping. As we set out on our trek to get to the other building, our caravan had to stop every 2 minutes so I could work through each contraction. I moaned, I rocked, I even pushed a few times. I felt bad to make everyone wait for me, but my body was in charge and I did what it wanted me to. I couldn't help but think that I was probably scaring the daylights out of this young pregnant woman, but my body was not in the apologetic mood and so I continued to do my thing. Finally, after what seemed like the longest hike of my life, we reached the OB Triage. I saw Lylaine's white hair glowing through the window, and it was like seeing an angel. I was so happy to see her, and I immediately knew that she was going to help make my birth just the way I wanted it.

Once I was in triage, Lylaine had me lay on the bed just long enough to check my dilation. After a few seconds she announced that I was complete, and she asked if I wanted to walk to my room or be wheeled in on the bed. I opted for the bed as it would get me there quicker, and I immediately got on my hands and knees. They began rolling me out of triage, and Lylaine leaned over and whispered "You push whenever you feel like it," in my ear.

Once we were in the L&D room, I stayed on my knees and put my hands up towards the top of the bed. The nurse laid down two straps for monitoring, but before she could even start to put them on me, Lylaine told her that I didn't need them as my baby would be here soon. Instead, she had the nurse hold a monitor to my belly so it could track Dallin's heart tones.

Now for some reason, I was under the impression that pushing was the *easy part* of all this. While that may be the case for some moms, it was NOT the case for me. After channeling all the power in my body out through vocalizing, it was hard to start channeling it into pushing instead. After about 20 minutes of pushing, things weren't progressing as much as I had hoped and Lylaine asked if I wanted to try a different position. She had me lay on my side while holding one leg up. I would bear down and push with each contraction while everyone rooted me on and gave me encouragement. Lylaine would start to see the top of his head, but once the contraction was over and I relaxed, it went back in again. I was getting frustrated. I was trying so hard, but I felt like it wasn't doing anything. After another 45 minutes or so, I began worrying that they would call it quits on me or say that I was taking too long. I started saying "I'm trying!," "I'm trying!," hoping that they wouldn't give up on me. Fortunately, my fears never became a reality, and only the opposite occurred. Everyone in the room was so patient and respectful. They remained positive and upbeat the entire time, and never once tried to manipulate my body or control the situation. Finally, my water broke, and it seemed that my pushing was becoming a little more effective. I was getting so tired, and I could feel beads of sweat on my face. Kimberly put a wet washcloth on my neck and gave me water in between pushing. At this point, Lylaine asked Kevin if he wanted to "catch" Dallin, and Kevin said he would. I started pushing harder, and not stopping when the contractions ended. I pushed and pushed, and sweet Kevin began making pushing noises with me. He gave me the motivation I desperately needed at that point. Finally, after a good long push, Dallin's head started to crown and I felt that infamous "ring of fire" that everyone talks about. It really didn't feel that "firey" to me, and I thought "well good, the worst of it is over." Soon Dallin's head was out completely, and I gave one more hard push to get his upper body out. That is where I was caught a little off guard, and I screamed as his shoulders and chest emerged (later I found out that this is where I tore). Lylaine told Kevin to come catch his son, and Kevin immediately placed his hands under Dallin's armpits, and helped bring him out the rest of the way. It was 4:05 am on Sunday September 12th. After 40 hours of on and off labor and an hour and a half of pushing, he was here. Kevin placed Dallin directly on my chest. He was very alert and crying loudly. It was such a surreal moment having him placed in my arms. He was here, and he was healthy and perfect. Everything we had prepared for, hoped for and prayed for was suddenly a reality.

The moment I held him, the discomforts and challenges of labor didn't matter anymore. I was completely enthralled with this sweet new being, and there was no room for thoughts of anything else. I felt an immediate peace and joy as I held him. Everything about that moment felt so right.

Lylaine waited for the cord to stop pulsing, and then she showed Kevin where to cut it. My placenta came out, and the midwife gave me 4 stitches where I had a 1st degree tear.
Once my sutures were done, they brought me some juice and left us alone to bond with Dallin. Kimberly helped me to get him nursing, and once we were good she left as well. About two hours after he was born, they asked us if we were ready to weigh and measure him. The nurse was so respectful of our wishes and never tried to impose anything on us. The girls came to visit him that afternoon, and we left Sunday evening, only 18 hours after he was born. It felt so good to be home.

In Conclusion:
Going through a natural childbirth was the most physically challenging thing I have ever done. I was still trying to process what I had gone through a few hours later, and I couldn't say that I was ready to do it again any time soon. Even so, an intervention free childbirth was what I had planned and hoped for and I was so grateful I got it! It took educating myself and preparing, as well as surrounding myself with a supportive birth team to be able to accomplish what I wanted. I am so grateful for my wonderful husband, doula and midwife as I know that things wouldn't have been the same without them. While it took a lot of patience, trust, energy and endurance on my part, the benefits of going without interventions were so worth it. My body, the birth process, and my baby were respected the entire time and that made all the difference.
What I went through with my girls and their c-section was very intense, and what I went through with Dallin's birth was very intense as well. They both took a lot of sacrifices on my part, although they were different sacrifices. I can however, look back at Dallin's birth and say that everything about it felt right and I have no regrets whatsoever (although we might just plan on staying home next time and having the midwife come to us instead:) I am so grateful for Brenna and Brooke's birth as it taught me so much, and ultimately helped me to attain a much better birth with Dallin.

Friday, October 8, 2010

October 8th

It's my son's birthday today and I am on call. I'm wondering what babies I might be catching that will share a birthday with my son :D

Nursing Mothers Group October topics

Nursing Mothers Group Discussion Topics
*** October 2010 ***
Wednesday Mornings: 10 AM – Noon

Join us in the Breastfeeding Support Center. Babies and toddlers
always welcome. Bring your questions and concerns –
In addition to the discussion topic, we’ll explore answers that work for YOU. This is informal and fun!

Oct 6 What Your Baby Expects in Life
A baby’s “expectations” are not learned. They are the instincts and reflexes that are “wired into” all babies around the world. Learn what your baby “expects” the start of life to be like.

Oct 13 Postpartum “Survival” Guide
Many expectant moms worry about postpartum issues. Planning ahead and learning from other mothers can help as you adjust to life with your new baby.

Oct 20 Weight Charts
By collecting data on weight charts, it’s become known that breastfed babies grow differently than babies who consume artificial baby milk. We’ll discuss the newest recommendations from the Centers for Disease Control.

Oct 27 BOO! Avoiding Mommy Burnout and “Holiday Mastitis”
A baby brings a whole new (very busy) chapter to your life. As the holidays approach, we often see an increase in both maternal fatigue and “holiday mastitis.” Join our discussion and learn how to avoid both.

Melissa's Birth Story Part 2

Kevin and I left Shirley's house at about 9pm in her Tahoe. We had swapped vehicles so that they could have our minivan with the girl's car seats already installed. As I got in the Tahoe, I knelt on the passenger side seat and hung over the headrest. There was NO way I was sitting down during a contraction. As we drove home, I told Kevin that I finally understood why women in labor did NOT like being in cars.

When we got home, I decided to give Kevin's poor fists a break and opted to take a hot shower to relieve the pressure in my back. The water felt heavenly. I could have stayed in there all night if I wasn't needing to save some warm water for the birth pool. Kevin wanted to start timing the contractions as he noticed that they were lasting longer then usual. I agreed, and told him I would yell out "time" at the start, and "over" at the end of each contraction. I let the hot water hit my back while I put my hands on the wall in front of me and rocked side to side chanting "open," "open," "open" with each rock. My hips were like the top of a metronome swinging back and forth to the rhythm of each contraction. The words I used were those that I had learned to be very powerful during labor. I wanted to give my body every opportunity to open and relax so I could progress instead of tensing up or trying to fight the power running through my body.
I noticed after yelling out "time" a few times, that the contractions were coming very close together. Kevin came in after a while, and told me that they were now 2-3 minutes apart and about 35 seconds long. I decided to get out of the shower so we could start filling up the pool sooner then later. Things seemed to be progressing quickly, so I threw on my birthing gear {sports bra/swim shorts/dress}, and met Kevin in the living room so he could continue tracking the contractions. We were feeling fairly confident that this might be "it," and so I took the liberty of uncovering the birth pool. As soon as my contractions were close to a minute long that is where I wanted to be. I began using our living room wall to lean on, and put a towel on the laminate flooring underneath me just in case my water broke. I continued working through each contraction, rocking back and forth and saying "open" "open" "peace" "peace" repeatedly until it was over. They had become a little more intense, and I had to concentrate more to get through each one. Kevin noticed that I was having to work more to get through them and suggested calling Kimberly. I told him he was not allowed until they were almost a minute long. We argued a little back and forth, and I could tell he was annoyed, so I told him he could text her an update instead.

At 1020pm, Kevin began timing the contractions again. They were coming every 3-5 minutes and were getting longer and longer. My chanting went from "open" "open" to "I can" "I can", as they became more and more intense. Soon, I was unable to say any words at all. I began vocalizing through them instead with a low "ahh" noise (another way in which you can help your body to stay relaxed and open) which had Kevin asking once again if he could call Kimberly. I had been pretty stubborn up until then, worrying that it would be too early, or that I wouldn't be far enough along to get in the pool. It took a few 50 second contractions that had me speechless with hands shaking to finally agree. Kimberly was on her way, and would be at our home in about 15 minutes.

It was 11pm, and Kevin was trying to fill the birth pool as quickly as possible while we were waiting for Kimberly to arrive. He attached the birth pool hose to our water heater, and within 10 minutes the pool was half way full of warm water. I walked by between a contraction and noticed that there was something in the water. It was mineral build up that had been at the bottom of the water heater and had come out of the hose. Kevin was obviously annoyed as he opened our back doors, and poured all the water out onto our back patio so he could start over again.

At 1115pm Kimberly arrived and helped Kevin to start filling the pool again. This time from our bathroom sink and outside hose. Kimberly listened to Dallin's heart tones during a contraction and he sounded perfect. I was glad that he was tolerating the contractions well. Our doula began warming water on the stove in a big pot and pouring it in, pausing only when she heard me start to vocalize through a contraction. I needed firm fists in my back each time in order to relieve the back pressure. She did a great job of reminding me to breathe deeply and spoke in soft tones to help me relax. At about 1130pm there were 3 inches of water in the pool and Kimberly asked if I wanted to get in. I agreed. Even though it wasn't much at the time, it was relaxing to be in the warm water. I laid my head on the side of the pool and tried to rest as much as possible between contractions. Kevin started playing a hypnobabies script aloud on the computer and I tried to relax and let my body do what it needed to. This is about the point where I lost all track of time. I kept my eyes shut so that I could focus as the contractions became stronger and longer. I found myself drifting off to sleep in between them which helped. My vocalizing became louder and longer with time, but Kevin and Kimberly were there feeding me relaxation cues and sips of water after each contraction. They also continued warming water on the stove and pouring it in to keep the temperature comfortable for me.

Poor Kevin picked up the last pot of water off the stove that he thought was just warm and ended up pouring scalding water on his hands as he was trying to put it into the pool. He was a good sport throughout all these little mishaps. Kimberly had me sit on the seat in the pool so she could check Dallin's heart tones. Once again, he sounded perfect.

At 130am (Sunday Sept. 12th), 2 hours after I had gotten into the pool, I was having very intense contractions. I was tired, especially after not getting much sleep the night before, and I still didn't know if I had progressed very much. I was so busy working through contractions that it had not even ocurred to me that I should have Kimberly check my dilation (she is an RN and is certified to do so). Feeling discouraged, I asked "how much longer do you think I can do this?" Kimberly and Kevin reassured me that I was doing a great job, and that I could definitely keep doing this. I WAS doing it.Their confidence in me lifted my spirits and I continued. But at the peak of the next contraction my body did something that we were not expecting. It started pushing all on it's own. Not once..but twice.

to be continued...

Wednesday, October 6, 2010

National Midwifery Week

Celebrate National Midwifery Week!
Hug your midwife!

It's a week to celebrate the role of midwives in birth across the country. Take a minute to hug your midwives this week! And log onto the ACNM website to learn more about who we are and what we're about. It is a wealth of information about the latest in maternal-infant healthcare. Thank you for choosing a midwife to be part of your birth team!

Tuesday, October 5, 2010


It's really sweet to experience TOTAL teamwork to make birth the safest experience possible. When everyone works in concert to support families' wishes, gives women's bodies every possible means of support and listens to what baby has to say...even when it moves to the operating room, birth is very special. BIG thanks to ALL who worked to make little Vinchencio's birth special this morning...especially Dr. George Figueroa. He's a fantastic teammate and this CNM appreciates his support and hard work!

Monday, October 4, 2010

Melissa's Birth Story Part One

***WARNING: this is going to be a long one so get comfy***

Some Background Information:
Three years ago, my twins were born by cesarean section because they were in breech position. While I felt that the c-section was necessary, I left the hospital feeling that so many things that happened to me and my babies there were wrong. Not that the hospital staff was mean or anything like that, but that the protocols in place and the interventions used were in no way "birth friendly". These negative experiences led me to seek out a very different path for my next birth. Soon after the girls were born, I immersed myself in researching everything I could about birth. I began attending birth circle and ICAN meetings, and preparing myself for what I hoped would be a much better birth.

Our Plan:

Have an intervention free VBAC

Labor at home for as long as possible using birth ball/shower/birth pool/hypnobabies

Have our doula Kimberly come over when contractions are almost 60 seconds long and get in the birth pool

Leave to go to the hospital when I am around 7cm dilated

Get into jacuzzi tub at L&D room until I am complete
Push baby out

Be discharged from hospital asap

batta-bing batta-boom!

(40 weeks)
My "guess date" was September 8th, and it came and went without any sign of impending labor. I tried to avoid thinking too much about "the numbers," as I truly believed that this baby would come when he was ready. Even so, I was anxious as any first-time-soon-to-be-laboring-mom would be. I had noticed a new surge of hormones running through my body, and I suddenly felt the need to protect myself emotionally. I didn't want to allow any negativity about him not being here get to me so I avoided phone calls and facebook as much as possible.

Some of Kevin's relatives had planned a baby shower brunch for me on September 10th, which gave me something to look forward to if I had not had the baby by then. That Friday morning, as I was blow drying my hair on the birth ball, I began feeling small menstrual like cramps with my braxton hicks. They weren't very noticeable, and so I wondered if they were really anything. I thought that maybe it was just my empty stomach. I began timing them, just for fun and noticed that they were coming about every 7 minutes. Kevin was getting ready for work, and after going back and forth as to whether I should mention anything to him, I cracked and told him about these alleged "cramps". I told him it might be nothing, and he left for work as I left with the girls and my MIL Shirley.

We had brunch at Wildflower, and I opened presents and enjoyed visiting with relatives. Afterwards we walked around Once Upon A Child and made our way home. On the way, I decided to tell my MIL my "little secret," as she was on call to take the girls when I went into labor. I wanted to do some walking to see if they would progress, and so we headed to Target. I sent my doula Kimberly a text message to give her a heads up just in case.

After perusing Target for about an hour with the girls, my contractions/cramps were coming every 5 minutes and were becoming a little more noticeable. We decided to buy our stuff and go home just in case. Once at home, I had the girls play in their rooms while I rested on my bed listening to a hypnobabies track on my ipod. The contractions seemed to slow down and were less noticeable while resting. I figured this wasn't quite "it," but that my body was definitely gearing up. We ate dinner and at 830pm and Kimberly texted me to see how things were going. I was still having the contractions every 6-8 minutes but they weren't progressing, and I felt that I could sleep through them that night. She told me to let her know if I wanted her to come over and help at any time.

I decided to go to bed early (930pm) just in case things progressed later that evening. I was able to fall asleep quickly while listening to a hypnobabies script, but woke up at 11pm at the peak of a contraction. Unable to get comfortable enough to sleep through them, I got up and watched TV with Kevin in the living room.

I never went back to sleep Friday night and ended up staying in the living room swaying back and forth during contractions or sitting on the birth ball. The contractions were coming about every 4-7 minutes and were lasting about 20 seconds. I was also feeling a lot of pressure in my back with each contraction which had me rocking my hips back and forth and doing pelvic tilts in an effort to relieve the discomfort. Kevin felt bad going to bed while I was in the living room working through contractions, and so he stayed with me.

At 3am on Saturday morning, he suggested that we text Kimberly with an update. We let her know that I hadn't been able to sleep past 11pm that night due to the contractions. She asked if we needed help and if she should come over, but I felt that it was too early. At this point I was so unsure as to what to do since this was my first time experiencing all this. We had no idea if things would progress soon or if it would be another day or two. As frustrating as it was not knowing when and how things were going to happen, this birth was all about trusting and allowing the process to happen in it's own time and not trying to manipulate the situation.
(930am Saturday morning)
I continued doing my thing in the living room, while Kevin tried to get some rest on the couch.It had been a VERY long night.
On Saturday morning (September 11th), before the girls woke up, I asked Kevin to give me a priesthood blessing. This was something I knew I wanted to have in "early labor," so that I could feel peace and assurance going into my birthing time. Kevin gave me a beautiful blessing that was exactly what I needed. It reaffirmed my trust in my body, and it's ability to give birth naturally and without complication. It also built up my confidence as I knew that my Heavenly Father would offer me strength and guidance throughout the process.

At 845 am, the girls were up and my MIL Shirley came over to get them. Kevin and I still hadn't gotten very much sleep, and we thought that active labor *could* start within the next 24 hours. I had also begun losing my mucous plug which told me that things were definitely progressing. I asked Kimberly to come over at 930am to see what she would recommend at that point.
On arriving, she checked Dallin's heart tones during a contraction and he sounded great. She helped me through a few contractions and I mentioned to her the discomfort in my back. She noticed that my stomach was really low that it was probably causing Dallin's head to push up against my back at a weird angle. She began applying counter pressure on my lower back during the contractions, and it immediately took away the discomfort. Kimberly also showed me how to lift my belly right before a contraction to lessen the pressure on my back.
(lifting the belly)
I told her that I was having a hard time using some of the hypnobabies relaxation techniques that I had learned, and so she helped me to relax on the couch while playing a hypnobabies script aloud on the computer. I was finally able to relax enough to sleep, and we decided that it would be best to try and get some rest at that point. I told Kimberly that she was good to go home and that we would keep her updated.

Kevin and I napped on and off for the next couple of hours. At 3pm we decide to go for a walk around the neighborhood to see if my contractions would pick up. Once we started walking they began coming every 4 minutes, but were still only 20 seconds long. Kevin and I would stop with each contraction so he could apply counter pressure to my back. After one lap we agreed that it was far too hot to be outside and we returned home.

At 530pm we went to Shirley's house to see the girls and eat dinner. My contractions were coming every 6 minutes, and Kevin and Shirley would take turns rubbing my lower back during them while I took deep relaxing breaths. We were still so unsure of when active labor was going to start, but we decided to have the girls spend the night at Shirley's house just in case. This turned out to be a very good decision.

to be continued...

Monday, September 20, 2010

Safe Birth Project Uganda 2010

Four weeks from today, a group of Phoenix midwives (myself included) and nurses are boarding a plane (several, actually) for Uganda. We are heading to the Tororo region in Eastern Uganda to share a course in Life Saving Skills for moms and babies with core community leaders. Most babies in this area are born at home in huts with (and sometimes without) a minimally trained birth attendant. We will be sharing strategies to make pregnancy and birth safer including how to recognize problems early and make a plan. They will be "brainstorming" how they could deal with these emergencies with resources they have available in their community. The idea is to train a core group and teach them how to train others so concepts will be spread over a larger area. This program was designed by midwives and is promoted by the American College of Nurse Midwives. This program has made a large impact in many developing countries. You can follow our project by checking out our blog: You can also get more information about Hope 4 Kids (and Hope 4 Women) International - the organization we are going with - by checking out their website:

Saturday, September 18, 2010

Doula Services During Midwife Retreat

It's that time of the year again! It's the time when we five midwives go on a retreat to evaluate our services, assess goal attainment as well as forming new ones. It also gives us the opportunity to strengthen our bonds with each other. Unfortunately, it does leave a short period of time when none of the midwives will be available for call. The dates/times this year are from Thursday, September 23rd at 7pm until Monday, September 27th at 2pm. Dr Rau, a female physician who shares call rotation with our doctors, has graciously agreed to cover the midwives during the weekend from 5pm on Friday until 7am Monday morning. Our own doctors will be available during the remainder of the time.

However, I do have some good news...

Taylor Kalander, a local doula, has also graciously agreed to offer her services for free to those midwifery patients who desire them. She will be available from Friday, September 24th at 6pm until Monday, the 27th at 2pm. Here's a little more info about Taylor...

I am a trained birth doula and postpartum doula working on the last portion of my certifications through Doulas of North America International (DONA). I have experience with multiples, preemies and special needs infants through my work as a nanny. I am a native Southern Californian, but have enjoyed living in Arizona for the last ten years. I am so glad to be working with the clients of Bethany Women's Healthcare and look forward to being a part of your special day!

The nursing staff at Phoenix Baptist Hospital Labor & Delivery have the contact infor for Taylor. If you arrive in labor during those times she is available, simply ask the nurse to contact her! Taylor can also be found on Facebook, Twitter (babylovedoula), and her website will be available soon.

Feel free to contact us with any questions you may have!

Our Newest Student-Midwife - Jamie

Jamie comes to us to finish her integration experience through Vanderbilt University. During the integration experience the student functions in the full-scope midwifery role. This time gives her the opportunity to fine-tune her skills and experience the midwifery role, while remaining in a supportive environment. We are very excited to have Jamie here and feel that our clientele will enjoy her as well. She will be with us through the second half of November.

Sunday, September 12, 2010

Still in awe...

Just had to drop a post and express some of what I feel while attending births. Had a beautiful VBAC (vaginal birth after cesarean) birth this morning. Mom and Dad had been planning this birth for years. After their first birth (twins) by C-section 3 years ago, they decided to work toward a different type of experience. They read, connected with others through birth circles, took classes,exercised, ate nutritious food and hired an amazing doula. I feel privileged to have been the one on call who got to be present for the culmination of all their efforts. They arrived at the hospital completely dilated and elegantly moved through contractions to that magical moment as their little son emerged. What strength and determination.! No matter how long I do this work, I am struck by the tenacity and power of women and the beauty of "natural" birth.

Sharon's Birth Story

The story actually begins about 3 weeks before Maxine was born. I had started to develop an itchy rash around my belly button area and it just went crazy after that. Before long my body was covered nearly head to foot with a PUPP (sometimes PUPPP) rash, which is common in first time pregnancies and mothers pregnant with multiples. Funny thing is that other mothers I've known in my time have never mentioned this rash. So there was one level of discomfort. Thankfully, it didn't last long. As soon as labor started, the itchiness went away.

The day before I went into labor I developed a soreness in my jaw. I thought that it was do to me clinching my teeth at night or stressing about being passed my due date. Thankfully, it didn't last long. As soon as labor started, the ache in my jaw went away.

Labor started at about midnight on August 31st. I was up for my usual trip to the bathroom, but was feeling some unusual cramping, more than te Braxtons I'd experienced before. I wanted to be sure this was labor so I waited an hour before letting my hubby know. When I woke him with the news he bolted upright and I pushed him down again. I told him to chill out and to get a little more rest before we rustled up the crew. At 2a.m. I was sure it was labor and called the nurse-midwife on-call at the midwifery clinic. She said I should head to the hospital when my contractions were 2-5 minutes apart. They were about a minute or two apart. I tried to eat a banana because I was hungry, couldn't hold it down. Phone calls were made and people started arriving at the house, including the best doula in the woorld, my SIL. Once the car was packed and we were sure about my contractions we headed to the hospital. Thankfully, it didn't take very long to get there. The hospital was only a mile and a half from our house.

My hubby, my SIL and I arrived at Phoenix Baptist Hospital and checked in through the emergency room at around 3 or 4 a.m. We were brought to a triage room where a nuse checked and found I had dilated from 1 to 2 centimeters during the examination. We were admitted to the third floor maternity ward and assigned a laborng room and there we waited for the midwife on-call. We thought it was going to be Lisa but she was just coming off her rotation. Then we were told it was Tiffany but she wasn't scheduled. It turned out to be Lylaine, but she was in a morning meeting until 10a.m., so we wouldn't see her until after that. Thankfully, it didn't make a difference when the midwife arrived. The baby wouldn't be born until nearly 9p.m.

The nurses who attended to me were all right for the most part, many I liked and I am grateful for their attention and support. Others I could have done without, but that's the way the evening went. Some moments were better than others. I was slowly making progress, stalled at around 4 centimeters, but then got stuck again at 6-7 centimeters. During the whole process my SIL/doula and hubby are helping my through everyone one of my contractions. I was blowing rasperries all night long. I got to labor in the whirlpool tub which was nice. Other times I was hanging from my hubby's shoulders, at the counter or on the birthing ball. The whole time trying to concentrate on blowing raspberries which helped process the toughest part of the contractions. But later my lips suffered from all that raspberry blowing. Thankfully, there is chapstick, Burt's Bees in fact. And in the end I have my baby girl.

So while the stalling was happening we had to move onto plan B - induction. I was not looking for to this part. My fear was that things would start to rollercoaster out of control and I would end up in a terrible position that required an emergency C-section. My water bag was broken and it turned out to have Meconium in it. This could spell bad news if Maxine stayed inside too long. I was hopefully then that the process would be over soon. Well, part of my prediction was right. I did end up with an emergency C, but it didn't take a rollercoaster ride to get there. It was more like a wild bumper car ride. The Pitocin made the contractions more intense, sometimes two coming one after the other. At one point I was contracting big time, trying desperately hard to concentrate on blowing raspberries and failing, tossed my cookies and pulled a muscle in my abdomen. After that I threw up my hands and said I'd had enough. I was done. Thankfully, the end was just around the corner and somehow I was laboring for another hour under the Pitocin. I knew things were ending, it was just going to take a bit longer to get there.

A Pitocin blocker was administered and I was getting prepped for a C-section. The surgeon and the midwife commented on how odd my belly looked, when Maxine was doing her peanut-yoga move and they didn't know what that meant. When I saw I was in the process of getting the C-section, I was less scared of that than I was of anything else. I felt like the end was finally near and I would have my baby soon. Sure, the deliver process wasn't what I had planned, but as long as Maxine was born and all right, that's all I cared about. The midwife stayed with me the whole time. The anesthesiologist was the best and when he gave me the spinal tap to numb me from the waist down, it was a breeze. Once the curtain was drapped before me, I was comfortable and somehow feel asleep. The next thing I remember was waking to see my husband in his surgical bunny suit taking pictures and video of the baby being born and the sounds of my daughter crying. She's got such as beautiful cry. My hubby got to videotape her being cleaned and her sinuses and lungs being cleared of the meconium. You could see in the video her color change from bluish to pink as she cries through the procedures (which I will post soon). When she was cleaned they brought her to me so I could give her a kiss and then she and my hubby went to the nursery for Maxine to get some more cleaning and attention. Thankfully, my hubby got to experience a lot of firsts with Maxine. He is very proud of this fact.

It took an hour after I was wheeled into the recovery room before I could see my daughter. I wanted to breast feed her right away but there a couple of complications. 1. The nursery nuse tried the football hold to feed Maxine from the left side and it just wasn't happening. So her first feeding was with her daddy and a bottle of premixed formula. 2. Both Maxine and I were tired. Thankfully, this gave me a chance to rest, but I so wanted to be the first to nurse her. I still get to and have been which has been a joy and definitely an experience that I know I'll never forget. Then something returned that I thought I'd gotten rid of or was gone for good, my tooth ache. Yeah, it returned. I thought again I was pressing my jaw at nght and creating the ache. No, it turned into a legitimate tooth ache. I needed to see a dentist as soon as I was released from the hospital. Everyone was making phone calls to different dental office to see if I could be seen right away. We found a clinic close to home, Encanto Dentistry, who could see me right after I was released from the hospital. They allowed me to nurse while waiting in the chair until it was time to get x-rays. X-rays showed that I had an abscess that needed immediate attention so they planned a root canal, but in the process they discovered there was no way to save the tooth and it would have been best to just extract it. Now mind you, I just had a baby, I was operated on, my hormones were crazy unbalanced and I was in pain from the tooth ache - queue to emotional breakdown. I just cried. But once the tooth was extracted I felt relief right away. Still, this just peaked all my stressors for the last few weeks. I'd honestly had enough and I was done. Thankfully, I was finally done. With the tooth out I could go home, relax, nurse and be with my new family.

It was an ordeal towards the end, crazy as could get and definitely not serene or how I had hoped or planned, but it is done. In the end, I have a beautiful baby girl who is loved by many and spoiled by all. I have a kind and wonderful husband who is attentive, funny and adores his little girl. I have a supportive and fun SIL/doula who I wouldn't trade for the world. I have family and friends who have helped us out beyond compare - we thank you!

*Aside from Tiffany - Turns out Sharon had a heart-shaped uterus! *

Tuesday, September 7, 2010

Nursing Mothers Group Discussion Topics September 2010

Nursing Mothers Group Discussion Topics
*** September 2010 ***
Wednesday Mornings: 10 AM – Noon

Join us in the Breastfeeding Support Center. Babies and toddlers
always welcome. Bring your questions and concerns –
In addition to the discussion topic, we’ll explore answers that work for YOU. This is informal and fun!

Sept 1 The First Six Weeks
Becoming a breastfeeding mother is an adjustment for many women. We’ll take a detailed look at the first six weeks to help keep your expectations in line with reality.

Sept 8 Teething and Toddling
Developmental milestones are enhanced by the breastfeeding relationship. Our discussion will focus on the challenges of teething and toddling.

Sept 15 101 Reasons to Nurse
Why do you nurse your baby? Why does your baby want to nurse? Why have mothers nursed since time began? Let’s add it all up!

Sept 22 Composition of Human Milk
Join our discussion of the fascinating facts about human milk.

Sept 29 Lactation Amenorrhea
Many women wonder how breastfeeding can work to delay the return of fertility.
This will be an informational discussion only. Your family planning concerns should be discussed with your healthcare provider.

Saturday, September 4, 2010

Flu Vaccine

We now have flu vaccine available at the office for patients of Bethany Womens Healthcare. If you are interested in getting vaccinated, give us a call at 602-973-3200.

Keep in mind that Vitamin D3 supplements are looking very promising in decreasing the risk of contracting the flu, especially in children.

And of course, careful handwashing, avoiding those that are sick, a healthy diet can all help prevent contracting the flu :)

Vitamin D3 Research

Monday, August 23, 2010

Chelsea's Birth Story

When my husband and I went to bed on Sunday night July, 11th and I was 2 days passed my due date, we were both discouraged we had to start another week without our baby. When I got up in the middle of the night for a routine bathroom break, I got back into bed and while trying to get comfortable felt a tug in my belly. It was the strangest sensation, almost like someone plucked a guitar cord inside me. Though not painful at all, the feeling was so strong I could almost hear it. I thought nothing of it, but was putting myself back to sleep thinking about labor for the millionth time and when it happened again, my water broke about 1.5 seconds later. I had heard it could be a gush or a trickle and in my case, a “gush” was an understatement. I hopped right up and yelled to my husband “it’s happening it’s happening!”.

After getting up and washing a load of sheets, we started getting ourselves and our things ready to go. My contractions started about a half hour later and didn’t feel any different than the ones I had been having on and off for the previous couple of weeks. The only difference this time was that they were consistently coming about seven to eight minutes apart. They started getting a little bit stronger right away too. We left our house and headed to the hospital about an hour after my water broke and did a little bit of waiting there. By the time we got into our room at around 6am, I needed my husband’s help through each contraction. Lisa checked me I was only dilated to 3 ½. I thought (I was hoping) I would for sure be at least 5cm. Nope. But, I kept laboring and taking each contraction one at a time. I got in the tub right away and that felt great!! Believe it or not, sitting in the squat position over the toilet felt really relieving too. So for the next few hours I went back and forth between the two. After having the urge to push Lisa checked me again and she said I was 7-8cm now. It was about 9:30am and we realized labor was moving along fairly quickly for me! That was such an encouraging place to be. Knowing that I had done the work and gotten that far, made me feel like I could do it the rest of the way. About an hour and a half after that the urge to push was coming a little bit more frequently. Tiffany was taking care of me at this point and she decided to check and I was dilated to 9cm! That was awesome! At that point different people started coming in and getting the room ready for delivery. I started thinking, “I’m so going to be holding this baby by noon, and you’re practically done!”

Now, the urge to push was coming every couple of contractions and there is no way you cannot bear down when your body is doing what mine was doing. Tiffany checked me again and this time the news was much less encouraging. I could see the look on her face and as I was laying there in the tub she said “Well, you’re still a 9…and since you’re not fully dilated and you’re having the urge to push, your cervix is swelling”. That was a blow I was not prepared for. I had gotten so far and in my mind I was so close to the finish line!! At that point Tiffany was suggesting that I get an epidural and pretty much the only way to avoid doing it, would be to resist the urge to push and lay down on my side until the swelling went down…how ever long that would take. My contractions at this point in labor were really interesting. I was having several that I could sit and breathe through and then one or two that were really intense and gave me the urge to push. My husband asked Tiffany to go out and talk and when he came back he and I talked and we agreed that the epidural was what needed to happen. The anesthesiologist was called but I gave myself a mental pep talk and thought, “Okay, it was mental you can get through them, don’t push! If you can go without pushing until she gets here then you don’t need the epidural!” Right then I was having several less intense contractions that I was able to relax and breathe through. Then, as the anesthesiologist walked in I remember bearing down yelling “I have to push”. That was just confirmation that we were doing the right thing. So, I got the epidural and laid on my side for three hours switching from side to side every half hour.

Sure enough, the epidural did what it needed to do and the swelling went down and my cervix completely dilated. Yay! At this point the baby was at a +1 station and they decided that they wanted him to come down just a little bit further before I began pushing. I really wasn’t able to feel hardly a thing with the epidural so it was fine with me to wait. After another two hours the baby hadn’t come down any further so one of the nurses came in and we started pushing. Pushing with the epidural was a lot different than I was expecting. The nurse told me I was doing great, but I wasn’t able to feel like I could get a good grip since my legs were dead weight and I was numb everywhere. At first the nurse’s input was really encouraging and she kept saying what a great job I was doing, but the pushing seemed to be getting longer and longer and longer and her responses started to change a little bit. After an hour and a half Tiffany came back in and wanted to “observe” my pushing and I knew something was up. We tried some different positions and she told me my pushing was great. That was a relief to hear. Then she checked me and told me that the baby was transverse so every time I pushed he would hit my pelvis and turtle his way back up. That was causing his poor little head to swell and although it wasn’t harmful to him at this point, she could only let me go for another half hour before he needed to be out.

When she informed me of this, I knew I was in for a c-section. I remember looking at her and saying “just tell me”. And, she did. She told me I was doing a great job, but that she was out of tricks and techniques and there was just no way the baby going to make it out vaginally. I instantly felt disappointed in myself and like a failure. My husband asked to have another word with Tiffany and she explained it all to him. After my husband came back and we had a few minutes to ourselves to talk and accept what needed to happen, we surrendered to the c-section. Tiffany came back in she reassured me of how great I did laboring and that we weren’t giving up, we were just doing what needed to happen now.Still pretty disappointed we prepared for the c-section and my 8 pound 14.2 ounce, lopsided-cone headed; baby boy was born at 8:46pm that evening. Hearing his cry was a miracle. He was healthy and finally here.

I didn’t get the experience that I had wanted going into labor, but my experience was amazing nonetheless. I’m so grateful that I was able to experience labor without drugs up to 9cm and even after having an epidural I was still able to experience what pushing was like too. That being said, one of the most important things that I learned throughout this process was how important it is to be able to trust your caregiver. Tiffany wanted me to be able to deliver my baby just as naturally as my husband and I did. She did everything she knew how to do to get us there, but thankfully; she was wise and experienced enough to know when it just wasn’t going to happen. Her goals were my goals and because we did everything that we could physically do to reach them, we didn’t give up and I didn’t fail. For that, I am grateful that Dr. Martin was able to perform a c-section to deliver my beautiful son, Noah. He didn’t come the way that we had hoped, but he came the way he needed to. It would have been nice to have a natural childbirth experience, but I wouldn’t change the experience that I had for anything. I learned so much about myself throughout the entire process. Labor and delivery is an amazing experience no matter what, but thankfully, Bethany’s does VBAC’s and I’ll get to try it all again next time! I’m anxious and looking forward to it already

Wednesday, August 4, 2010

Midwives Applaud Legislation to Improve Birth Outcomes Utilizing Best Evidence 

I've been a bit remiss in blogging....kinda been busy catching babies left and right! Wanted to share some more great news initially released July 22nd, 2010.

New legislation being introduced,“Maximizing Optimal Maternity Services for the 21st Century Act of 2010 (MOMS 21)” (H.R.5807), is being applauded by the American College of Nurse-Midwives (ACNM). This legislation will call for the best evidence-based practice to be used in imrpoving maternal health outcomes.

“As we implement health care reform over the coming years, it is imperative that clinicians, researchers, and policymakers work together to improve the quality of health care while also lowering costs,” asserts ACNM President Holly Kennedy, PhD., CNM, FACNM, FAAN. “We have clearly identified the most important evidence-based practices that result in a healthy mother and baby by reducing complications and unnecessary interventions in childbirth. These practices generally are also more cost‐effective, but there are obstacles blocking their adoption. We commend Rep. Roybal‐Allard for making improved maternal health in the U.S. a high priority and for introducing legislation with a defining, unifying principle of support for evidence‐based practice.”

The MOMS 21 bill would:

•Create a national focus on maternity services by establishing an interagency coordinating committee to promote optimal maternit care by all federal agencies involved with the delivery of health services.

•Expand federal research on best maternity practices by establishing a Center for Excellence on Optimal Maternity Outcomes and drecting the Center for Innovation within the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services to focus additional research on cost‐effective, high‐quality maternity care models

•Develop a comprehensive online database for consumers and health care providers containing up‐to‐date systematic reviews of maternal and newborn care practices

• Authorize a national consumer education campaign to inform women about evidence‐based maternity care practices

•Support the education of a more culturally diverse interdisciplinary maternity care workforce with the establishment of targete federal grant programs and an aggressive educational loan repayment program focused on maternity care shortage areas

“Certified nurse‐midwives (CNMs) and certified midwives (CMs) are leading experts in evidence‐based maternity care practices associated with excellent maternal and infant outcomes,” said ACNM Executive Director Lorrie Kline Kaplan. “ACNM is working with federal policymakers to increase the number of skilled midwives and increase access to midwifery care in te U.S. Leading international organizations have also recently issued a united call to increase the number of skilled midwives as themost important policy solution for improving maternal and infant outcomes worldwide.”

Guest Post: Women's Wellness and Chiropractic Care

Women's Wellness and Chiropractice Care by Dr Ashley

The relationship between the spinal column , reproductive system, nervous
system, endocrine (hormonal) system, and overall health is extensive.
Chiropractic care can help these systems function fully.

Because these systems work synergistically we use hormonal and nutritional
testing along with hormonal and nutritional counseling and treatments if they
are necessary in our tailor made plans for you! Remember you decide your
ultimate goals and together we decide the best way for us to get you there.

Menstrual & Premenstrual Problems

The natural benefits of chiropractic care have relieved symptoms of a wide
variety of pelvic and gynecological conditions, including but not limited to
pain, PMS, bladder, bowel, and sexual dysfunctions.


Centuries of case studies have proven the fact that women who have been labeled
"infertile" have been able to conceive, carry to term, and deliver a healthy
baby following chiropractic adjustments. Some of the theories behind these
findings include normalization of hormonal regulation, realignment of
reproductive organs and overall reduction of stress.


Hysterectomys are known to possibly cause severe problems including depression,
loss of stamina, loss of sex drive, urinary incontinence, bowel problems, icy
feet and toes, diminished sensation from the waist down, bone and joint pain,
memory loss, and other problems. Before any woman decides to have a hysterectomy
it is beneficial to seek non-surgical alternatives. Chiropractic Care and
Naturopathic Care are a great place to start before considering surgery.

Ashley Chiropractic


3006 S Rural Rd

Tempe 85282

Tuesday, July 27, 2010

VBAC Restrictions 'Lighten Up"!

In the wake of the NIH conference on VBACs, the American Congress of Obstetricians and Gynecologists (ACOG) updated their statement regarding VBACs and accessibility to them. This is great news and a step in the right direction.

Here's the main highlight...

"The College guidelines now clearly say that women with two previous low-transverse cesarean incisions, women carrying twins, and women with an unknown type of uterine scar are considered appropriate candidates for a TOLAC" .

Friday, July 16, 2010

Nursing Mothers Group Discussion Topics

Nursing Mothers Group Discussion Topics


Wednesday Mornings: 10 AM – Noon

Join us in the Breastfeeding Support Center. Babies and toddlers always welcome. Bring your questions and concerns –
In addition to the discussion topic, we’ll explore answers that work for YOU. This is informal and fun!

July 7 Growing Independence
Babies grow from dependence on mom and other caregivers toward independence. Share your baby’s journey and how you have nurtured their success.

July 14 Making Time for Mom
How do you recharge your batteries so that you can be the kind of mom you want to be? Share what works for you AND get some new ideas to try.


August 11 Breastfeeding in Public
Breastfeeding is portable, clean, and so very convenient. What things helped you be more comfortable breastfeeding away from home?

August 18 Recipe Exchange
Bring a recipe or an idea to share that reflects a positive change you’ve made in your family’s eating habits.

August 25 Extended Family and the Breastfed Baby
Help your extended family interact with baby when they can’t feed him or her. There is LOTS of fun to have!

Guest post: Children and Chiropractic Care

This is the first in a series of posts about chiropractic care by Dr. Ashley. I had no idea that there were so many benefits to chiropractic care!

"Why would I take my child to a chiropractor? His back doesn't hurt. "
-Many parents see the importance of taking their children in for check-ups of
their child's teeth, hearing, eyes, ears, nose, and throat but never considered
the importance of a check-up of their children's spine.

A spinal check up may be one of the most important things you can do for
your child. Why? The birth process alone puts tremendous stress on the newborn
spine that could lead to many health problems. The normal jumping, falling,
running, bumping, flipping of childhood can cause vertebral subluxations, with
serious health consequences if uncorrected. With a healthy spine, a child's body
can better deal with sore throats, ear infections, stomach aches, fevers, and
the many other problems that can be present during childhood.

Emotionally Healthy Children:
Doctors and parents have observed often dramatic improvements in the
physical, emotional, and neurological health of children following chiropractic
care. This includes children with learning disabilities, ADD/ADHD, anxiety,
concentration problems, dyslexia, discipline problems, low IQ, and low grades.

Ear Infections:

In many cases ear infections are observed to disappear after spinal adjustments,
saving children from antibiotics and ear-tube surgery. There are many problems
with antibiotic use in children including but not limited to allergic reactions,
GI upset, antibiotic resistance and destruction of the guts intestinal flora
leading to yeast proliferation. Tubes often do not create lasting cures with
infections commonly returning within two months and the tubes can affect hearing
loss later.

*Keeping your child's spine free from vertebral subluxation will boost their
natural defenses against disease and illness.

If your child has any of these conditions make sure his or her spine is healthy:

· Fever
· Colic
· Croup
· Learning Disorders
· Poor posture
· Nervousness
· Constipation
· Bed Wetting
· Weakness or fatigue
· Allergies
· Sinus Trouble
· Stomach Ache
· Loss of hearing
· Ear infections
· Arthritis
· Numbness
· Irritability
· Headaches
· Neck Aches
· Back Aches
· Sore throat
· Eye problems
· Cough
· Skin Disorders
· Asthma
· Wheezing
· Scoliosis or curvature
· Neurologic Conditions
· Bronchitis
· Frequent Colds
· Muscular Dystrophy
· Cerebral Palsy
· Poor Concentration
· Arm and Hand pain
· Painful joints
· Hip, leg, and foot pain
· Shoulder Pain
· Clumsiness
· A foot turned in or out
· One leg shorter
· Unusual Behavior
· And many others......

Ashley Chiropractic


3006 S Rural Rd

Tempe 85282

Tuesday, July 13, 2010

Book Review: The Doctor and the Diva

I received a complimentary copy of the book "The Doctor and the Diva" by Adrienne McDonnell with a request for a review on the blog. So I read it and here's the review...

The novel stems from real-life events occuring in the authors' ancestors. The doctor, Ravell, is an up and coming obstetrician who also discreetly specializes in fertility. The diva, Erika von Kessler is an opera singer who is torn between her passion for singing and that of motherhood. The story spans the globe from Boston to Trinidad to Italy in the early 1900's. It is a story about morals, passion, and achieving dreams, sometimes at all costs.

I am often leery of historical fiction as I find it tedious and boring when authors get bogged down in historical detail. However, I found this book to be light, easy-to-read, but yet with enough detail to set the 'scene'. The plot inspires the reader to ask themself how far they might be willing to go to obtain their desires. Whether it's Dr Ravell's moral lapse in violating his sworn oath as a physician. Or a mother who leaves her son behind to pursue her own desires.

Thumbs up - I recommend this book - makes excellent reading by the poolside!

You can go to the author's website here and Penguin Books here.

Friday, July 9, 2010

Guest Post: Informative, empowering, and maybe even life-changing: How Bradley Method classes can help you prepare for birth and beyond

Jenny David is a local Bradley instructor who I have had the pleasure of getting to know on Facebook and at birth circles. I have found her thoughts and ideas to be unbiased, informative, and just downright wise :) She was more than happy to supply me with a post on this particular method when I asked - Thanks Jenny!

Allison and her husband Dave were looking for something different. They knew they wanted to prepare for a natural, unmedicated birth, but had no idea where to start. Their health care provider offered them information on the childbirth classes offered by the hospital where they would be birthing, but upon investigating further, they feared the hospital class would not prepare them for the birth experience they were hoping for.

“I read about The Bradley Method, and it sounded like exactly what we were looking for. So we found a local instructor, and we spent one evening a week the entire third trimester of the pregnancy in our Bradley class, and it was the best choice we ever made.”

Allison and Dave are not alone. While The Bradley Method is not as well known as some other childbirth methods, since its inception in the early 1970s, over 200,000 women and their partners have prepared for birth using the Bradley Method. For many of these women Bradley classes are not only informative, but empowering and can even be life changing. It’s not for everyone, but for many women and their partners, the Bradley Method is a great choice. Here’s why:

First of all, it’s important to know that the Bradley Method is unambiguous in its message that birth is a natural process and that for most low risk women and babies, the healthiest choice is usually to give birth without the use of drugs or interventions. Our bodies have innate wisdom, and are perfectly designed to give birth; however many of us are not yet in touch with our instinctive birthing selves. Many women who hoped for an unmedicated birth find that, when the time comes, they feel pressured to induce labor, or they are not able to cope with the intensity of labor and end up using the very interventions they were trying to avoid. It’s something many women, including Allison, have heard over and over.

“So many of my friends went into their pregnancies with the attitude that, because it’s a natural process, and women have been doing it for millions of years, they figure they’d just see how it goes. And most of them ended up with inductions, epidurals, and even c-sections. I thought there had to be a better way.”

And there are better ways. One is to increase our comfort in the natural process by understanding it thoroughly.

Bradley classes are comprehensive childbirth education, covering nutrition, exercise, anatomy and physiology of labor & birth, how to make informed choices about care, support and comfort measures for labor, breastfeeding, and postpartum care. Perhaps most importantly, women and their partners learn to use deep relaxation to reduce the fear and tension that can lead to unmanageable pain, and to help make the sensations of birthing more bearable. As with any hard work, the right tools can make labor go more smoothly. Bradley couples have many tools at their disposal.

Dr. Robert Bradley, the founder of the Bradley Method, likened giving birth to an athletic event and advocated a training regimen of sorts. For this reason, Bradley classes are 12 weeks in length. This time frame allows women to increase their fitness through excellent nutrition, conditioning exercises, and to practice a variety of deliberate relaxation techniques. The third trimester of pregnancy is spent preparing physically, mentally, and emotionally for the entire experience of giving birth.

Throughout the class emphasis is placed on empowering the birth partner with those tools to use throughout the pregnancy and birth, allowing them to take an active role in supporting the birthing woman through the birth process. Many couples find that taking a Bradley class together strengthens their relationship, fostering closeness and communication in a completely new way.

Allison remembers, “We started to look forward to our Sunday evening class as a chance to just focus on us as a couple, and on what we wanted for our baby’s birth. It was kind of like a date night, with the added benefit of really helping us to concentrate on the task at hand. When it was over, we sort of missed it!”

Of course, even though the Bradley Method was originally called “Husband Coached Childbirth,“ there’s no requirement that couples are married, that they are opposite gender, or even that they are a couple. All that is necessary is that a dedicated, caring birth partner is present to support the birthing woman. In Bradley classes, it’s not unusual for women to attend with their mom, sister, best friend or doula.

While birth is usually a safe and uneventful process, complications and unexpected situations can arise. Some of these possibilities are discussed in class, and couples are encouraged to develop a birth plan that facilitates communication with their care providers, enabling them to be active partners in all their care decisions. It was this process of taking ownership of her birth plan that Allison found to be empowering.

“It had never occurred to me before that I would have to ask so many questions. I guess I just assumed my doctor would tell me everything I needed to know. Once I started going to Bradley class, a whole world of possibilities opened up. I ended up having fantastic conversations with my doctor based on what I learned in class, and in turn I just felt so much more confident in my relationship with her and in myself. It felt good to know I had choices and that my opinions mattered.”

Allison and Dave, like all new parents, consider their baby boy’s birth to be a peak experience in their lives. “It wasn’t easy, and there were certainly moments of doubt, but throughout the whole labor and birth, I never felt afraid. I did experience pain, and I had a long labor, but Dave was always there, anticipating my every need and I know his amazing coaching was a direct result of what we learned in Bradley class. I birthed my son in exactly the way I wanted to, and it has made me feel like I can do anything. I am changed forever. And in a good way.”

There are several Bradley Method instructors in the metro Phoenix area. Class locations and schedules vary by instructor. You can get more information on the Bradley Method, (including a listing of local instructors) by going to Bradley Birth.

Jenny David is a Bradley Method instructor, birth doula, and freelance writer in the east valley. Visit her website at Valley Childbirth. She’s also on Facebook! Look for Valley Childbirth Support Services.

Friday, July 2, 2010

Don't Put That in Your Mouth!

A new study was released earlier this month addressing too much weight gain during pregnancy. The study, done in Britain, addresses women who gain too much in the first trimester, and/or throughout the remainder of the pregnancy. I sometimes am asked why weight is so important during pregnancy, or a mom makes a flippant remark about losing it all with breastfeeding. There can be ramifications to inadequate weight gain as well as gaining too much.

It seems there are some links between risk factors in the offspring when momma gains too much weight. Having been there and done that x3, I certainly was guilty of gaining too much (40, 30, 25 pounds). I wish someone had told me why less weight gain was important. I wonder if providers sometimes avoid the weight issue altogether. Perhaps like taking a sexual history, it can make one uncomfortable to delve into a private personal area. Maybe providers are afraid of offending women. But the reality is that we do not do justice by the women we provide care for by avoiding this topic.

The subject matter requires more research before changes in weight gain guidelines are changed. If you would like to see the abstract, click here.

Tuesday, June 29, 2010

S's Birth Story - Graphic pictures

I spent a good bit of time getting to know S and her husband during her pregnancy. I was thrilled when she went into labor while I was on call! The following is her pictorial birth story with some light commentary from me. I thought it was awesome that S's friend and family members were very interested in capturing every aspect of her experience so I asked permission to post, what turned out to be some wonderful photos. GRAPHIC PICTURES ahead!!!!!

The happy (or not-so-happy) couple arrived earlier for a labor check. After walking for a bit and being re-evaluated, it was decided that she should go home. If I remember correctly, she was a couple centimeters dilated at this point.

Once S returned, she got serious about laboring :) She was further dilated, admitted for labor, and tossed in the jacuzzi tub to labor further. She had great support from her husband, mother, and best friend. Her dad was also readily available with any assistance needed.

Fresh out of the tub...

Showing dad some different massage techniques....not the most flattering shot of me :P

Working hard! At this point she was around 8cms but the labor was starting to slow down, leaving her stuck at 8 for a while. S was becoming exhausted after hours and hours of labor. At this point we did have some discussion about pain management options.

S getting some rest once the epidural was in place.

Me and S's husband waiting for a baby to present herself.

Providing perineal support as S pushes the head out.

I assist the new daddy as he catches the baby. You can see the cord :) My finger is not in the baby's eye, just the angle :p

Good sized kid for a first baby. Momma did wonderful, pushing for maybe 45minutes.

A natural....