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