Healing Homebirth

Australia's Homebirth Network

Tuesday, September 30, 2008

10 Month Mama's

It Hurts to Be a Ten Month Mama

By Leilah McCracken

Reading this made me feel better today


Friday, September 26, 2008

"As each day passes my body is one step closer to preparing for the birth of this baby "

"As each day passes my body is one step closer to preparing for the birth of this baby"

"As each day passes my body is one step closer to preparing for the birth of this baby"

"As each day passes my body is one step closer to preparing for the birth of this baby"

"As each day passes my body is one step closer to preparing for the birth of this baby"

Something to keep me going...

Tuesday, September 23, 2008

Mountain after mountain

It's amazing how things can creep up out of nowhere to remind you of how you really feel. I'm feeling overwhelmed as of late. All these mountains to climb. You climb one only to discover another right there in front of you. It hurts and it sucks. I'm not in a great head space.

I feel a cycle ending almost. Well not ending completely or forever as such, this will never end. I have an amazing amount of unpacking to do yet. I lay in the bath tonight looking at my full moon belly and all I feel is loss and sadness. Mourning the births my first two babes never got.

I feel guilty.

I lay there and the flashbacks return. All I could think was who held my baby while I was alone in a dark room? Why didn't I get to hold him? Then the tears fell...

I've gone so long without those feelings and memories. It was too good to be true.

Bush flower essences help but it's not a solution is it? It allows for coping but how will I ever be ready and okay? It hurts.


I don't know what else to say tonight...

Friday, September 19, 2008

The freedom of freebirth

That seems to be a word I'm feeling and using a lot over these past few weeks.

What does it really mean?

Online Dictionary

  • The state of being free or at liberty rather than in confinement or under physical restraint2.
    exemption from external control, interference, regulation, etc.
  • The power to determine action without restraint.
  • Philosophy-The power to exercise choice and make decisions without constraint from within or without; autonomy; self-determination.

I hear comments all the time, more than I'd like to in fact about what I'm going to do if I go over the magic 40 week mark or other stupid things that I've omitted from my memory. The most amazing thing about taking responsibility for my pregnancy? I don't have to do anything, be anywhere, scan or test anything. I'm free.

It's up to me, what I do and how I do it.

I had a discussion with a friend the other day and she asked me how this pregnancy has compared to the other two. It was an interesting thought.

Despite having what some would call two very 'textbook' pregnancies they were at the same time medical pregnancies. This time I have looked after myself and learnt to take ownership of my body and my baby.

I am free, enjoying the freedom of pregnancy without restraint, external control and interference!

Monday, September 8, 2008

Out from under a rock

So it would seem I'm still absolutely hopeless at maintaining a regular blog. Ahh well I'm sure the world kept going without me and my posting over-emotional pregnant nonsense.

So where I'm at...

I'm ready.

I feel like a womyn with passion and a purpose. I feel honoured and strong and capable. I feel the wild womyn lurking deep within me and she comes closer and closer to the surface as each day passes. I feel her in my bones, pulsing through my blood and into my heart. She is holding me, pushing me and most of all she is there, watching and waiting for when I call her to my side.

She is power

She is instinct

She is knowledge

She is strength

She is love and passion

She is within

She is waiting...

Monday, August 25, 2008

Monday, August 18, 2008

It's all sinking in

I've reached 35 weeks and generally this is the time I go a little bit crazy and start doing all that unnecessary nesting when I should be chilling out. I can't help it. I'm a neat freak and one that likes lists! :) Hey, there is nothing wrong with being organised. I'm sure that will all go out the window when this baby makes an appearance!

We spent the weekend shopping and gathering all our supplies for the birth, yay for Bunnings! I'm now feeling ready! Well sort of...

I'm putting everything into our birth box and making sure Brendan knows where it all is before I'm waaaaaaaaay too consumed with other things if you know what I mean. The last thing I want is to be asked where stuff is.

It's actually an exciting time these last few weeks. It's setting in that there will be another little person here soon and we can't wait to meet them!

The journey we've all had to get to this point has been so intense at times but I'm so glad we are here now, ready to bring this baby into the world, the way it should be. Gently and without pain and heartache and on MY terms.
Birth trauma is something that takes a lot of work to overcome in order for some healing to occur. Good births don't fix bad ones and I'm well aware that I've got a long path to lead before I'm anywhere near healed. The important thing is that I'm working on it.

Saturday, August 9, 2008

Vitamin K

Vitamin K

Is this really safe and necessary?
Bronwyn Hancock October 2003

The reason given for administration of Vitamin K is to prevent haemorrhagic disease in newborns. However consider the following points:

The form of Vitamin K injected
  • The body does not readily utilise synthetic vitamins and minerals. The vitamin K administered by hospitals to newborns is the synthetic phytonadione. The natural forms of vitamin K that are found in many foods, particularly in vegetables such as collard greens, spinach, broccoli, asparagus, brussels sprouts and salad greens, are a different form – they are called phylloquinone or menaquinone. Certain bacteria in the intestinal tract also produce menaquinones.
  • Apart from its synthetic nature, it is based on plant Vitamin K and injected. The body utilises vitamins and minerals that are found in plants and creates the human form it needs, but this is after they go through the digestion process, which obviously does not occur with injections.
  • "Little is known about the metabolic fate of vitamin K. Almost no free unmetabolised vitamin K appears in bile or urine," states both the 1988 and 1998 Physician's Desk Reference (PDR). "This is especially important due to the fact that it is a fat-soluble vitamin and therefore can accumulate in the body," wrote Vitamin K Resources (VKR) in the extremely well-documented and footnoted 1999 article, Intramuscular Vitamin K Injection: Is K OK?he amount of Vitamin K administered
    Toxic ingredients accompanying the Vitamin K
  • The vitamin K injections administered by hospitals and manufactured by Merck and Roche and Abbott contain benzyl alcohol as a preservative. The 1989 PDR states that, "there is no evidence to suggest that the small amount of benzyl alcohol contained in AquaMEPHYTON (Merck's vitamin K injection product), when used as recommended, is associated with toxicity." Interestingly, in November 1988, the French medical journal, Dev Pharmacol Ther, published a paper regarding benzyl alcohol metabolism and elimination in babies. The report stated that "...we cannot directly answer the issue of safety of 'low doses' of benzyl alcohol as found in some medications administered to neonates. This study confirms the immaturity of the benzoic acid detoxification process in premature newborns."
  • Roche's vitamin K product KONAKION contains ingredients such as phenol (carbolic acid-a poisonous substance distilled from coal tar), propylene glycol (derived from petroleum and used as an antifreeze and in hydraulic brake fluid) and acetic acid (an astringent antimicrobial agent that may drastically reduce the amount of natural vitamin K that would have otherwise been produced in the digestive tract). As reported in the PDR and as published in the IM vitamin K packet inserts for Merck, Roche and Abbott, "Studies of carcinogenicity, mutagenesis or impairment of fertility have not been conducted with Vitamin K1 Injection (Phytonadione Injection, USP)."
  • The Vitamin K injection can be in a base of polyethoxylated castor oil.
  • Vitamin K injections also contain hydrochloric acid and lecithin.

    Effects of Vitamin K administration
  • The manufacturers warn on the product insert: "Severe reactions, including fatalities, have occurred during and immediately after intravenous injection of phytonadione even when precautions have been taken to dilute the vitamin and avoid rapid infusion..."
  • The Vitamin K shot has been linked to leukaemia, including acute lymphoblastic leukaemia, which is characterized by an increased number of white corpuscles in the blood, and accounts for about 85 percent of childhood leukaemia. Research carried out by Dr. Louise Parker, of the Sir James Spence Institute of Child Health in Newcastle upon Tyne, produced the most startling results. Dr. Louise Parker was quoted in the British Medical Journal in 1998 as stating, "It is not possible, on the basis of currently published evidence, to refute the suggestion that neonatal IM vitamin K administration increases the risk of early childhood leukemia.".
    The British Journal of Cancer published "Factors associated with childhood cancer" by J. Golding, et al, in 1990. The report indicated that universally administered IM vitamin K injections significantly increase our children's chances of developing childhood cancer. A follow-up study published two years later in the British Medical Journal (Golding J, Paterson K, Greenwood R, Mott M. Intramuscular vitamin K and childhood cancer. BMJ 1992; 305:341-346.) reinforced the findings of the previous study. The authors' comments, in keeping with scientific style, are conservatively stated, but parents who are concerned about the health of their babies will read "danger" between the following lines: "The only two studies so far to have examined the relation between childhood cancer and intramuscular vitamin K have shown similar results and the relation is biologically plausible. The prophylactic benefits against haemorrhagic disease are unlikely to exceed the potential adverse effects from intramuscular vitamin K..."
    The chance of your child developing leukaemia from the Vitamin K shot is estimated to be about one in 500 (MIDIRS Midwifery Digest, Vol 2 #3, September 1992)
  • Animal studies have linked large doses of vitamin K to a variety of conditions that include anaemia, liver damage, kidney damage and death.
  • Interestingly the common problem that occurs these days of jaundice in newborns has only been reported since the introduction of Vitamin K administration.
  • According to the product insert, adverse reactions include haemolysis (or hemolysis - American spelling) (meaning breakdown of red blood cells), haemolytic anaemia (a disorder characterised by chronic premature destruction of red blood cells), hyperbilirubinemia (too much bilirubin in blood) and jaundice (yellow skin and eyes resulting from hyperbilirubinemia), and allergic reactions include face flushing, gastrointestinal upset, rash, redness, pain or swelling at injection site and itching skin. It also warns that large enough doses can cause brain damage in infants and/or impairment to liver function. Hypoxia has also been published as having occurred in infants after Vitamin K administration.

    The necessity (or lack of necessity) for administration of Vitamin K
  • The bleeding condition the Vitamin K shot is supposed to prevent occurs at a rate that is far lower (in a non-Vitamin K injected child) than the rate of occurrence of leukaemia. The haemorrhaging condition may occur in approximately 1 in 10,000 live births
  • The condition also will not necessarily be prevented by Vitamin K because it can be caused by other factors than a lack of Vitamin K (e.g. See Arch Dis Child 1999; 81:278 (September)). In fact vaccination is a major cause of haemorrhaging.
  • The bacteria that should quickly colonise the gut (in a baby who is breastfed and not given antibiotics directly or as one of the ingredients in vaccines, including most likely the Hepatitis B vaccine) produces Vitamin K anyway, as mentioned above.
  • As early as April 17, 1977, an article in one of the world's most esteemed medical journals, the Lancet, discredited the policy of routine vitamin K injections. "We conclude that healthy babies, contrary to current beliefs, are not likely to have a vitamin K deficiency... the administration of vitamin K is not supported by our findings..." Van Doorm et al stated in the Lancet article. VKR cited 21 peer-reviewed reports that had been published in prominent medical journals. All of them concur that policies that mandate the universal injection of newborn babies are not based on sound science. There has been much peer-reviewed evidence generated which questions the efficacy of routine vitamin K injections as sound public health policy.
  • Naturopathic physicians and others who successfully adhere to a more natural approach to healthcare advocate that high-risk mothers should increase the amount of vitamin K available to the foetus, and then the breastfeeding infant, by eating adequate amounts of green leafy vegetables and other foods high in Vitamin K, such as alfalfa, brussels sprouts, cabbage, cauliflower, spinach, turnip greens, asparagus, oats and green tea.
  • Commonsensically, VKR poses the question, " could God (or nature) have erred so badly as to give all newborn babies only an infinitesimal fraction of their required vitamin K? Surely the human race could not have survived to this point if all newborns were born with this deficiency and none being administered at birth until very recently." So ironically, when a Vitamin K deficiency does occur the probable cause(s) would be some other artificial, unnecessary interference, which just so happens to be something that one might say is fairly characteristic of modern medical treatments.

    Alternative to Vitamin K administration
  • The main way Mother Nature provides Vitamin K to a newborn is that there is some in breast milk but also then once the baby starts breastfeeding, the baby's own gut flora immediately start proliferating and producing it.

Wednesday, August 6, 2008

Belly Pics

32-33 Weeks

Boring me

There comes a time when you just have to stop. You just have to surrender to life and go with it. I think I'm there now. I no longer feel the need to read and research. It hurts my brain to be thinking so constantly. I'm at peace with my plans. I'm happy and excited.

I'm listening to my body and doing as it tells me. It's warming up again here so I'm really making an effort to keep healthy and drink lots.

I've connected with my baby and we came to the agreement that I'd prefer it if he/she were head down. I don't mind the foot under the rib cage thing, honestly!;) LOL

Just as I was comfortable to birth a breech variety baby he/she turned!

So I'm cool whatever way the baby arrives. Head or feet, it's just birth. It just took a bit of mental preparation. As does anything we do.

I've lodged our tax stuff, so hopefully we can finish buying our birth/baby goodies and then I'll feel ready. I hate being so disorganised. Normally I'd have all the lists checked and everything ready to go, weeks before it needs to be.

I think this pregnancy has been a great learning curve for me. I've learnt to let go. I've learnt to go within and really LISTEN. I've learnt to just 'be'.

We cannot control pregnancy and birth. It's something our bodies do. We just need to accept it, there is no point trying to control it.We can nurture it but we cannot control it.

It took me quite a while to let go but now I'm really enjoying it. I guess that's a bonus for when life becomes insane with 3 kids and one of those being only 18 months old when baby arrives! There is no more planning to life, you just go with it each day and most importantly, enjoy it!

Sunday, July 27, 2008

On the home stretch.

I finally sucked it up, tamed my tigers and looked the fear straight in the eye.

If I haven't been in contact with the medical model of care for this pregnancy then why was I feeling so intimidated and scared by their calls? Why was it holding me, covering me with a dark cloud?

I know why. Because I was letting it.

Despite separating myself from the hospital system I was still feeling as though it was in control. I wasn't standing up for myself. My very own fears were realised.

I was afraid of the outcome. Afraid of actually needing to go there. All of this may be trivial but it was a real fear deep within me. It may have just been a woman trying to arrange antenatal care, simple? Not for me. There was much more to it than that.

Enough was enough.

So I called back. I simply said I had arranged private care and wouldn't be needing to use the clinic at the hospital. She said thanks for letting them know and that was that.

End of story.

So simple yet so difficult for me.

I felt better.

So it's now 32 weeks.

I cannot believe I'll have a little baby here so soon.

I feel like I'm running out of time and still have so much to do.

I've finally finished Birthing from Within and am now reading Unnasisted Childbirth.

I finished my Blessingway Invitations and they are stunning, if I do say so myself!

I'm very excited about gathering with friends and honouring my pregnancy.

Saturday, July 19, 2008

Checking in

The family have finally recovered from a nasty case of gastro, myself included thanks to my two beautiful children passing it on. Now that's motherly love!

I have been really getting stuck into my doula studies which is great. Finally some motivation. Still a long way to go but I'm getting there.

Back to the topic of gastro, I made a trip to my GP because I had the most amazing rash on my face, complete with puffy eyes. I was a bit concerned about it so thought it best to get it checked out. (I turned out to be harmless!)

A simple trip to the GP turned out to be such a huge drama and I really wanted to kick myself afterwards. It was awful. I felt like a naughty school girl.

I was quizzed about the pregnancy and then he noticed on the computer that I hadn't been to see anyone at the clinic since February. I stated that I had been well and didn't need to. Made perfect sense to me! He then asked who was providing my antenatal care. You see where this is going? I was feeling still rather ill at this point and just wanted to go home. I told him I hadn't booked into the hospital yet. He almost fell over and told me how I was pregnant and needed 'care'. He asked me a million irrelevant questions and then walked out of the room only to return with a Doppler and asked if he could listen and feel the baby. I wanted to vomit on him, I should have.

He continued with his ranting about women needing to have these routine tests and procedures and structured antenatal care because 1 in 200 women will die. Not sure where he pulled these figures or what the women actually died of. LOL.

He did my blood pressure twice just to make sure, asked me why I hadn't had blood tests done or an Ultra sound claiming that 'they need to know these things'.

He printed out all the forms and told me to get them done that day. I actually laughed and said 'yep in between the vomiting I'll do that!'

Argh stupid people!
So I think I'm in the clear, I take the forms home and put them on the shelf. I'm not having anything done. I'm fine, baby is fine but...

The next day I get a phone call from the Hospital antenatal clinic! They had been faxed my details and were following me up as I need to get in and arrange to see them for some antenatal care! I couldn't believe the Dr had faxed them my details without telling me.

I didn't return the call and I don't intend to.

To recover I spent the next few days reading studies and stories on home birth/free birth and VBAmC.

I was so rattled by this doctor and it got me thinking about my choices. It made me so angry that here I am needing that support yet I have to AVOID them because their fear of birth is so ridiculous. It shouldn't be like that. Women should have the access to whatever care she needs, without the fear, the scaremongering and hospital policies.

I'm not irresponsible.
I'm staying away from the hospital because that's where I'm safe. I wont be subjected to fear, to tests and to trauma.

It's not easy.
Sometimes it feels like a constant battle to achieve something that is supposed to be so utterly normal.
My right to birth.

Saturday, July 12, 2008

Cloth Baby Shoes

I am so inspired to make these cloth baby shoes, just imagine all the wonderful colours and patterns you could make!
My next task...

Monday, July 7, 2008

nothing special

I can't believe how quickly this pregnancy has progressed. I think being so sick for the first few months added to that feeling. I didn't feel pregnant I just felt sick and miserable. So the time I've spent actually enjoying being pregnant has been far less than my other two pregnancies.

I'm in the last trimester already! I really need to start getting things organised and be a bit more prepared. Maybe the nesting urge has set in already? LOL

I spent the weekend tie dyeing a massive load of teeny tiny white baby clothes. I didn't remember how much white stuff one can have for a baby. Ahh well it's now all purple or blue or green or red or yellow. Very cool baby!

It was loads of fun and looks so much nicer than white, blue, pink or lemon. Ewwwww.

I'm at the stage now where I'm getting uncomfortable sleeping and it takes a very long time to actually fall asleep. This belly babe like to dance at all hours of the night. I am surrounded by my body pillow and a huge doona so poor DP is missing his cuddles but sleep is just too precious at the moment.

I plan on getting a few things off my birth/baby needs list each week so eventually I'll have it all organised by the time I go into labour. I do have to book an appointment with the naturopath to get my labour/birth tinctures made up.

I want to start organising my blessingway and DP and I want to have some pregnancy photos taken together.

So I think I've got plenty to keep me busy...

Thursday, July 3, 2008

I have been doing some reflective thinking or soul searching if you like. Looking within to address fears and challenges that were holding me back from truly following my instinct.
I had a dream or what I thought was a nightmare the other night about childbirth. I awoke really quite shaken and it rattled me. I talked it out with my doula and realised that this dream was significant. It wasn't as scary or a nightmare as I first thought. This was my intuition telling me or guiding me in the right direction. It woke me up to the responsibility of addressing fears I had deep within me.
Once I acknowledged these fears and worked through them I felt much lighter and the path was clearer. It's amazing what we can achieve if we just listen to ourselves.
When one takes responsibility for their pregnancy and birth you are required to listen to your baby, your knowledge of your body and your baby and most importantly listen to your instinct. It's a beautiful freeing journey to lead.
I know I'm 100% responsible for myself and my baby. No-body knows them better than I do.
It was a challenge at first because I'm used to the medical model of pregnancy where someone tells me what tests to have, where my baby is positioned and what I'm doing wrong etc.
This time it's all me.
It's how I feel and how I'm bonding and getting to know where my baby is inside me. No-one else.
I'm not irresponsible or naive.
I'm empowered!

Monday, June 23, 2008

Choc Fruit and Nut Balls


1/3 cup cocoa

1/2 cup skim milk powder

1/3 cup boiling water

2/3 cup chopped natural almonds

1/3 cup Pepita's

1 tbs sesame seeds

1/2 chopped dried apricots

1/2 cup sultanas

1/2 cup prunes

Makes 24

  1. Line an airtight container with baking paper

  2. Mix cocoa, skim milk powder and boiling water in a small cup and stir until smooth

  3. Dry roast almonds in a frying pan. Place roasted almonds in a food processor and blend until finely chopped. Pour half of the almonds into a bowl and set aside. Leave the other half in the food processor.

  4. Add Pepita's, sesame seeds and dried fruit to the food processor and process until well combined. Add cocoa mixture and blend once more.

  5. Spread the remaining almonds onto a plate or board. With damp hands, roll teaspoons of the mixture into balls. Roll balls in almonds to coat.

  6. Place in prepared container and chill to store.

Eat and enjoy!

*Store in fridge for up to one week, also suitable for freezing.

Good source of protein, calcium, magnesium, potassium, iron, essential fatty acids, zinc, B group vitamins and fibre.

Sunday, June 15, 2008

Birth Choices

When I was pregnant with my first child I was very socially conditioned. You simply had a baby in a hospital and that was that. There were no other 'choices' in my mind. I read the usual mainstream pregnancy and birth books loaned to me by my Sister-In-Law who had already had 2 vaginal birth in the same hospital I was booked into. I didn't prepare for birth emotionally as such. It was something that I placed at the back of my mind and assumed I would work it out when it happened.

I trusted that the Dr's and midwives knew more than me and never once questioned an Ultrasound, blood test, glucose test or any other procedure suggested to me. (including EFM, CEFM, VE'S pain relief etc)

I was a good girl and did as they said.

Thus my birth was a train wreck waiting to happen.
I was uninformed and unlucky.
I was disappointed that I didn't get the birth I had imagined and realise now my mistakes but it was far less traumatic than my second birth because I wasn't aware until many years later that it didn't need to be the way it was.

Skip forward a few years and I am pregnant for the second time and I am more informed about birth choices. I seek out a doula for support and information. Despite having everything for a great birth at my fingertips I'm reluctant and obviously didn't face many of my demons.

My partner is terrified of having a home birth and insists that we use the hospital. We compromise and say that we'll 'stay home for as long as possible' (A very common statement, doesn't always work!)

So I choose the midwifery team care at the public hospital and am made aware of the hospital policies and procedures regarding VBAC. I didn't know it was a special disease. ;) I can see it's not where I need to birth but that was that.

As I said earlier I didn't face my demons and still had many issues in relation to my belief in birth and my ability to trust my intuition.

I was again placed on a conveyor belt and led to surgery, and despite knowing that what was going on was unnecessary and wrong I was in their hands and it's difficult to fight that.

So it was now clear that women do have a choice. Women needed to take responsibility for their actions and choices. Not leave it up to someone else.

Finding myself pregnant for the 3rd time (a surprise!) I am determined to do what's best for me, not what people think is right. I'm not following their rules. I'll make my own and I'm 100% positive that my rules are based on fact and evidence, unlike those choosing to slice women and remove their babies for a living. (although this is necessary in RARE circumstances, far less than we see toady)

Where I live childbearing women have these choices:
  • A private obstetrician and private hospital
  • Your GP and public hospital midwifery team care
  • 1 Independent Midwife (limited by travel and availability)
  • Unassisted pregnancy/childbirth

Not the greatest of options.

But a choice, nonetheless.

In the medical minefield I am aware that I have no choice.

I am to have a 3rd repeat ceasarean at 38 weeks, despite the evidence that proves a vaginal birth is safer.

I know there are risks to a vaginal birth after 2 ceasarean's but it' s far less than choosing repeat surgery for no medical indication.

I won't go into statistics and numbers here, that's what Google is for. :) I know what they are and that's enough.

So removing myself from the 'system' I am down to two choices an IM or a UC.

I toyed with the idea of hiring the midwife but then came to the realisation that it' s again passing the responsibility on to someone else.

I am doing this, no-one else.

It's taken me a long time to get here but I'm comfortable and happy and enjoying the ride.

It's been hard and painful at times but I know what I'm doing is what's right for me and my baby.

The birth journey so far...

I realised I haven't actually blogged about my birth career so far and how I came to be 'here' on this leg of my journey.

Pregnancy/Birth Stats:

Bambino #1
  • February 2003 (age 18)
  • Midwifery shared care at Vic public hospital
  • PIH and pre-eclampsia
  • Spontaneous labour at 39 weeks
  • Emergency ceasarean due to 'failure to wait'

Bambino #2

  • March 2007 ( age 22)
  • Midwifery shared care at Qld public hospital
  • Spontaneous labour at 39 weeks
  • Emergency repeat ceasarean due to 'obstructed labour'/'Failed VBAC'

Bambino #3

  • September 2008 (age 24)
  • Care given by me and my intuition, oh and bambino's hello kicks :) AKA unassisted pregnancy
  • Labour date TBA ;)
  • Freebirth in the comfort of my home with my partner, children and doula in attendance.

So in short after having being placed on the hospital conveyor belt I decided it was time to take some action.

To take responsibility for myself and my unborn baby.

To listen to my instinct and know that birth is just that, birth.

Plain and simple.

No intervention required.

It's a normal physiological process and it's one that should be left well alone.

So it's after two traumatic and unnecessary surgeries that my partner and I are going to give our baby the best start to life. To be born safely at home surrounded with love and without interference.

Thursday, June 12, 2008

At least you have a healthy baby?

Image from

I don't know how many times women, myself included are told this when they are raped of their births unnecessarily.

What's more disgusting is quite often than not it's said by those that caused the pain in the first place or are caring for us in the aftermath of surgery.

Why does society place such emphasis on 'at least your baby is healthy' and completely disregard the mother, her feelings and pain and the birth experience as a whole?

It does fucking matter.

It matters for years and years.

The experience women achieve from birth is meant to be Joyous, not a memory of pain, hurt, sadness and complete loss of confidence.

I've been told that it doesn't matter how the baby is born as long as they arrive healthy.
What does that say about their own self worth? Their belief in their own bodies? Their belief in birth itself?

It does fucking matter.

I cannot converse with people that feel this is ok. To say to a woman who is recovering from major surgery, feeling like she's been hit by a train, completely lacking in self confidence about her abilities as a mother, and in shock, that it doesn't matter what happened to her, she doesn't count, her feelings are irrelevant now.
She has a baby, as long as they arrived healthy then the rest doesn't matter?

It does matter.

*breathe* Ok rant over.

That image really struck something within me.

Having been there myself I know how it hurts to be crushed already and then have someone tell you it doesn't matter.


Wednesday, June 11, 2008


I was introduced to this concept called SoulCollage, similar to Tarot cards, I guess.

I find it fascinating and am hoping to find the book so I can learn a little bit more about making my own SoulCollage cards.

This is a beautiful card made by a woman I know from the Joyous Birth community.


I am the one who writhes in pleasure

screams sweats convulses

with ecstacy

I am power I am oppressed

I am sacred I am commonplace

I am danger I am pleasure I am pain

I birth I yield I heal I bleed

I hold violence within me; I let go

I am primal


Tuesday, June 10, 2008

The Childbirth Womanifesto

The Childbirth Womanifesto

When you make the conscious decision to be solely in charge, and to face up to your own thoughts, actions, feelings and choices knowing that you and your baby alone will face their consequences, that's empowerment.

When you say "OVER MY DEAD BODY!" and refuse to comply,that's empowerment.

When you 'accidentally' kick your care provider in the head for ignoring your screams of pain and orders to cease and desist violating you with their fingers and instruments,that's empowerment.

When you have no qualms about physically taking steps to protect yourself and your baby,that's empowerment.

When you avoid being around people whose influences are affecting you negatively and causing fear, doubt, panic, uncertainity, or emotional distress, that's empowerment.
When you see other women voice interest in natural, demedicalised childbirth and offer a voice in support,that's empowerment.

When you see other women express fear, doubt, uncertainity, lack of trust in themselves and their own abilities and give them a hug and tell them that it is okay to love themselves, to be selfish, to make their own decisions regardless of what other people might think including their care providers,that's empowerment.

When you see a woman being violated against her express wishes and you lift your hand to stop it at the risk of losing your job or position,that's empowerment.

When you stand up and yell the core, essential truths of womankind to the rooftops knowing that you may alienate your friends, family, partners and end up being pelted with rotten fruit from threatened, angry guilt-ridden women, thats empowerment.

When you educate yourself on what is truly natural and physiologically normal for women, babies and childbirth, that's empowerment.When you fire your care provider because you know deep down that they are dangerous, and look for one that respects women and babies,that's empowerment.

When you find out information for yourself through various sources rather than going to someone else for advice because they happen to hold a piece of fancy paper with lots of letters with periods or commas after them, that's empowerment.

When you refuse to lie down and give up, when you keep trying even after having emotional upheavals and distress,that's empowerment.

When you tell your partner that despite the fact that it may be his baby as well, as long as that baby is within you, its your body, your baby, your fuckin' choice, that's empowerment.
When you know that childbirth isn't inherently risky and that you can give safely birth by yourself anywhere, any time, without assistance,that's empowerment.

When you listen and follow your primal instincts and your baby's primal cues, that's empowerment.

When you love and listen to other women, honouring their differences and their feelings, that's empowerment.

And empowerment is self protection.
Protect yourself and your children and in so you'll also be protecting OTHER women and THEIR children.
What happens to o
ne, happens to all.
Written by Lisa Schuring.

Study into the perinatal effects of doula support

Birth 35:2, June 2008

A Randomized Controlled Trial of Continuous Labor Support for Middle-Class Couples: Effect on Cesarean Delivery Rates·

Susan K. McGrath, PhD11Susan K. McGrath is an Adjunct Faculty
Susan K. McGrath, PhD, Department of Pediatrics, Case Western Reserve University, Rainbow Babies and Children’s Hospital, 11100 Euclid Avenue, MS 6038, Cleveland, OH 44106, USA., and John H. Kennell, MD22John H. Kennell is a Professor Emeritus in the Department of Pediatrics, Case Western Reserve University, Cleveland, Ohio, USA.

This research was supported in full by Grant HD 16915 awarded by the National Institute of Child Health and Human Development, Bethesda, Maryland, USA.

ABSTRACT: Background: Previous randomized controlled studies in several different settings demonstrated the positive effects of continuous labor support by an experienced woman (doula) for low-income women laboring without the support of family members.
The objective of this randomized controlled trial was to examine the perinatal effects of doula support for nulliparous middle-income women accompanied by a male partner during labor and delivery.

Methods: Nulliparous women in the third trimester of an uncomplicated pregnancy were enrolled at childbirth education classes in Cleveland, Ohio, from 1988 through 1992.
Of the 686 prenatal women recruited, 420 met enrollment criteria and completed the intervention.
For the 224 women randomly assigned to the experimental group, a doula arrived shortly after hospital admission and remained throughout labor and delivery.
Doula support included close physical proximity, touch, and eye contact with the laboring woman, and teaching, reassurance, and encouragement of the woman and her male partner.

Results: The doula group had a significantly lower cesarean delivery rate than the control group (13.4% vs 25.0%, p = 0.002), and fewer women in the doula group received epidural analgesia (64.7% vs 76.0%, p = 0.008).
Among women with induced labor, those supported by a doula had a lower rate of cesarean delivery than those in the control group (12.5% vs 58.8%, p = 0.007).

On questionnaires the day after delivery, 100 percent of couples with doula support rated their experience with the doula positively.

Conclusions: For middle-class women laboring with the support of their male partner, the continuous presence of a doula during labor significantly decreased the likelihood of cesarean delivery and reduced the need for epidural analgesia.
Women and their male partners were unequivocal in their positive opinions about laboring with the support of a doula.

(BIRTH 35:2 June 2008)

Monday, June 9, 2008

Made with love

I did promise I'd share with those that visit my blog my crafty ambitions.

I've always been creative but I'm also very impatient and tend to get bored very easily.


This means I tend to start something and then move on to some other passing idea.

Thus my knitting is sitting on the bench, although I must admit I did oh about 3 rows last night. Hehehe. Ahh well I've got till September to have it finished. ;)

After Alexander was born I got into scrap booking. It was fun and I really enjoyed it but it's not something you can show off all the time. My albums are tucked away in the cupboard. So I moved onto doing scrap booking style photo's in frames. Those you can see all the time.

I recently finished a 20 something page scrapbook album for my grand-mother who lives in a nursing home interstate. I wanted something that she could look at, at any time and it was easy to identify who was in it. I forgot to take some pics before I sent it, but she just adores it. she loves looking at the boys. Alexander and I used to spend a lot of time with her before we moved away and she's not met Charlie yet so photos are important.

I'm now really into card making. I've always made my own cards but have just recently improved on my craft supplies stash and had a renewed passion to make and do.

I love the thought of giving someone a handmade card. It's so personal and shows you really care. Well I would appreciate it if someone went to the trouble of making me a card.

Here are some of the creations that I've made so far

Years ago I started with Birthday and general cards, then I made a tonne of thank you cards after Alexander and Charlie were born (why didn't I take photos, dammit!) and now I really am having fun crafting Birth/Blessingway and breastfeeding cards. The possibilities are endless!

Here are the birth/bf ones I made this morning

I just don't have anyone to send them to. LOL

Monday, June 2, 2008

Birthing From Within

I've just started reading Pam England's and Rob Horowitz's 'Birthing From Within'.

It seems like such a fantastic book, already a lot of it is ringing true with me.

I plan to do most of the activities and journal them here as I go.

I'd also like to get stuck into the artwork too. I did a little bit of sculpting with my Doula when I was pregnant with C. It was very soothing.

I think it's an important part of my journey to just 'let go' of a lot of things. Nothing needs to be perfect. I need to remember to relax and enjoy myself.

Just from the first few pages this passage written by Pam England really stood out for me.

Through soul-searching

and listening more deeply

to the women I was working with,

I finally understood that women

have to prepare for birth

in their heart and soul,

not their head.

And that giving birth is something a woman does

in her body,

not in her head.

That's so true. We all too often research and look for the facts and figures when we just simply need to take a step back and re-adjust our focus.

We need to look within and accept pregnancy and birth from our hearts, from deep within.

"What is it that I need to know to give birth? What is my question?"

This had me thinking all night. What is my question? What do I really need to know to give birth?

I came up with a few.

Can I really give birth?

Do I trust my body's ability to do so?

Am I strong enough?

What holds me back?

Why will this birth be different?

Am I afraid? Of what?

I am sure more and more will come as this journey unfolds but I am glad my eyes are open and I'm working this through.

Each day is a new one.

Friday, May 30, 2008

Rainbow Rebozo

I thought I'd add a photo of my very colourful rainbow rebozo that DP got me from the Port Douglas markets. We are very excited to use it during the later stages of pregnancy and in labour. We went to Townsville and had a 'doula meet' a while back and we got some 'hands on' practice with it's positions and uses during labour. Some of the positions look really supportive and comfortable for labour. DP is really keen to give them a go too!
Might take some pressure off the marathon back rubbing he has to do during my labours. ;)
I will also be interested in using the rebozo to assist in turning a posterior babe, should it decide to flip that way like my other two babies did. Although I'm not too worried as I know babies will come out either way if left alone and given the time to move. Babies are very smart you know? They'll do what's right for them.
This is a midwifes blog that also uses the Rebozo technique. It has some good pictures of it in use.

Wednesday, May 28, 2008


It took me quite a while to decide whether or not to post my birth story on my blog. I know it's on Joyous Birth already but a blog is different I suppose.
Then after reading it another time I realised how important it is for people to understand that a medical approach to childbirth just doesn't work. Women and men too, need to understand what can happen and the aftermath of that trauma goes on for years.

I'm not screaming from the rooftops 'look what happened to me!' Although I'd like to sometimes. What I'm saying is that, yes hospitals are an important asset when used correctly, not for every woman's normal pregnancy and birth.
I'm also not advocating that because what happened to me will happen to you. I just want people to open their eyes, do some research(real research!) and to take some responsibility and reclaim their births and their bodies!

Not so hard?

I didn't realise how much anger and pain I still have and how raw it is, 14 months on. It hurt to read that story. I'm angry that women continue to enter the system and are hurt and how many women see me as an angry crazy woman who didn't get her own way. I'm angry that people think I should be grateful that I'm alive and have two beautiful children.

Well that's just ignorant and helps no-one. I've done plenty of burying my pain. I've done it for a long time.

I might be scarred but I'm not broken or faulty. I am a woman and I can give birth just like the many women that have done it for thousands of years before me.

Looking back to my first birth which ended in Ceasarean I was completely naive and handed everything over to the doctors and midwives. I never invested anytime into researching about birth. It was just something that happened and I had plans of just 'going with it' This in turn left me open to someone else making the decisions for me.

My second birth I was more aware but still hadn't quite got my head around the fear of birth. I was still naive and caved to the pressure of the system. I again trusted that they new better than me and I needed them. I didn't quite believe that I was capable of doing it on my own. Giving birth was still a medical process deep down in my mind.

So here I am today planning my third birth. A freebirth. A birth without interventions.

Monday, May 26, 2008

My second birth

This is the birth story of my second child. It was an attempted VBAC in a public hospital. I wrote it in December 2007, he was born in March 2007.

This is why babies should be born at home.

Some kind of story with a bit more detail.

I awoke early on the morning of the 13th March. My due date!
Well according to the hospital who know EVERYTHING it was still a week away but by my knowledge I was 40 weeks today. It was a Tuesday and Alexander had pre-school toady.

I was feeling a bit funny and was really uncomfortable, my belly was tightening and my back ached. I assumed I’d been doing too much and needed to take it easier. We got ready for pre-school and enjoyed our banana smoothie before we left. We headed off in the car and faced the morning school traffic. I became more and more aware of the discomfort I was experiencing. They seemed to be coming at regular intervals. I really needed to focus on getting Alexander to pre-school. We finally arrived at school and I kissed my baby goodbye and headed off home again.

I had planned to meet with Lisa again. I wanted to borrow her Susan Weed book because I’d picked up my Labour tincture from the Naturopath and couldn’t remember a few of the details. I felt really odd today. I couldn’t get comfortable and I couldn’t sit still. It was hot or was it me?

I managed to drink copious amounts of water. I pottered around the house, cleaning, getting my labour box of goodies ready. I spent a good portion of the morning bouncing on my ball reading on JB.

Lisa arrived at lunchtime and we chatted about how I was feeling, the discomfort, and my inability to sit still! Lisa watched me move around the house, breathing and fidgeting. She knew I was in early labour, not that she mentioned it to me. I wasn’t convinced that this was it!

It began to get stormy and we had some thunder, the clouds were stunning. It was beginning to cool down. I love those afternoons.
It was time for Lisa to go home.

I did a little more tidying before heading off to mums for a swim before picking Alexander up from pre-school. It was about three in the afternoon now and the cramping was getting stronger and more breathtaking.

I managed a flop in the pool like a whale; it was nice to be weightless and cool.
The late night and early start had taken its toll on me, I wish I had of taken a nap instead of cleaning.

After bringing Alexander back to mums we had some afternoon tea and we relaxed while Alexander told me about his day.

I was hesitant in driving home, I couldn’t concentrate. I was becoming distracted by the ache in my belly. My brother and mum offered to drive us home as it was peak hour traffic and it would be easier. I mentioned to mum that I thought this baby would be here sooner rather than later and maybe she should hold off on opening the bottle of wine just in case she needed to come over to watch Alexander.

My brother looked terrified as we drove along the highway. I think he imagined me asking him to stop and I’d have the baby on the side of the road! Clearly he has no idea about loooooooooong pre labour!

I must have been gripping the door handle because every few minutes he would ask if I was ok. I just wanted to get home and into the shower, he was driving so slowly.

Finally we got home and I phoned Brendan to let him know that I thought I was in labour and to let his boss know he might not be coming in the next day. He laughed at me and thought I was joking.

It was here that I was so very thankful for Nemo. I prepared some fruit and cheese for Alexander while I managed to escape for another shower, there would be no dinner cooking on my behalf today. The shower was bliss on my aching back. I tried using some clary sage but as soon as I opened the bottle I wanted to vomit. I couldn’t stand the smell!

Finally Brendan got home from work and suggested we do the grocery shopping. I was thankful for the idea because I just was so restless and our place seemed so small all of a sudden. I figured the walking around the supermarket might help things along. So off we went. I remember having lots of funny looks from fellow shoppers because every few minutes I’d stop in the middle of the shopping aisle and lean over the trolley and breathe through another contraction, swaying my hips. So our regular shopping trip took far longer than anticipated. It was about 9pm by the time we arrived home and the reality set in that it may be a very long night.

The last thing I wanted to do was unpack groceries. We read Alexander a story and tucked him into bed.

It was getting late so I tried to lie down on the bed for a little while. Brendan thought he needed to iron a uniform for work in the morning, just in case I wasn’t actually in labour. I hated that he had to question me and what I was feeling/experiencing.

The contractions were really starting to become more intense, I remember moaning through them. I was so uncomfortable; there was no way I could go to sleep. I really wanted to have another shower but knew we would run out of hot water for the pool. I had one anyway.
The feeling of the warm water running over my belly was glorious.
B was having a shave at the sink in the bathroom and kept asking me if I was sure I was in labour. I began to doubt myself and feel silly. Was I over-reacting? Somewhere inside me I was losing trust in my ability before it had even begun.

I dried off and tried to get some rest on the bed. I propped my belly up with pillows and stayed on all fours with my bum up in the air. There was a red glow from the alarm clock. The contractions were coming every 5-8 minutes and lasting about 40 seconds. Surely this is labour? It hurts and it’s intense! I’m so tired.
I became increasingly more terrified and overwhelmed. Maybe I should phone the hospital? I could hear someone inside me say what the fuck for, Carly? What good will that do?Looking back, actually as soon as I’d done it I knew I was being really stupid. Why did I feel the need for their confirmation or approval? My body knew what to do but I was so overwhelmed.The moment I picked up the phone was the moment I should have asked Brendan to get the pool ready and call Lisa.
It was nearing midnight and I was losing it. I was panicked. I wanted someone to tell me I was ok, that this is what labour is all about and that I was doing it, perfectly, the way it was meant to be.
No one was there to tell me that.
I stood in the kitchen swaying my hips and with each contraction I squatted and moaned. Brendan phoned my parents and asked them to come over to watch A, we were going into the hospital. I knew this was a huge mistake, why didn’t I trust myself? I knew that I didn’t really want or need to go but we did.
This is where your support people need to know that despite your pleas they need to bring you back to reality and gain some clarity and focus on the situation. It’s such a huge thing to really truly and honestly be open and trust our bodies and our babies.The car was horrendous. It was so painful sitting in the seat. Over and over I kept saying that I didn’t want to go to the hospital. Why didn’t he turn around? It seemed like forever.

We arrived at A and E and I totally freaked out. I looked up at the hospital and burst into tears. I told Brendan I was so scared. I was frozen. I couldn’t move. This was not how it was supposed to be.

We managed to get into the labour ward. I headed to the nearest sink and held on for dear life, doing my loud birthing dance through another contraction The first thing the mw said to me was where have you been? We’ve been waiting, you called ages ago.

I was told that because I was a VBAC patient there would be no way that I would be going home. She left the room to get an IV and CTG organized, Brendan left to move the car. I’ve never felt more alone in my whole life.

I asked to use the shower, no idea why I felt the need to ask permission but I did. The mw said I could after they’d done a CTG and inserted the drip.I knew that none of this was necessary, in fact it was going to cause more harm than good but nothing would come out of my mouth.
I couldn’t say anything. I just wanted to get on with it in the shower.
The mw seemed to notice that I was objecting to being strapped to the monitor. Who wouldn’t? I must have been a difficult patient because everything became “If you do this we’ll let you have another shower or take the monitor off bullshit.”This was why I wanted Brendan to listen to me more during my pregnancy, so he really would understand that the hospital wasn’t where we should have been.

He asked if I wanted to call Lisa, I said no because I thought she would have hated being at the hospital and I felt so stupid for being there. I should have called.

I escaped to the shower and ignored the mw’s requests to get out for a while. She returned with the Dr and proudly announced that they’d like to do a VE to see where I was at!? It was horrible and painful. I felt humiliated when they discussed with each other that I was ONLY 2cm. I broke down again and cried. The mw looked at me confused and asked why I was crying. Was it because I was only 2cm? I said no it’s because it hurt and I should be at home. Her response was well next time I would like you to use the gas, it will help.

She then demanded that I need to have some pain relief and go to sleep. I refused. After four more attempts to get me to have some analgesia I asked her for 2 panadol (upon receiving my notes I found that she also gave me a temazepam!) From here nothing has times; it all became very hazy from the sedative. I know it was early morning.I managed to strip off and find a big lazy-boy chair to lean over whilst Brendan massaged my back with some oils.I was so tired and over it. I felt so groggy from the sedative.
Brendan was asleep in the chair and I felt like I was alone.

The mw again suggested I have some analgesia because I didn’t seem to be coping. I just couldn’t concentrate anymore. I must have agreed because she returned and began to put it into my hand. Each time the contractions came I wanted to squat. I was noisy I do remember that! I began to feel sick from the drugs. I wanted to sleep.

Everything was so blurry.

I got onto the bed and the mw put the monitor back on. I could feel the pressure from them waiting and watching me. I was on a timer. 5cm’s now. I was asked a few times if I would like an epidural. I said no.

I knew where this was going but yet I had no idea how to stop it.

I was on the toilet. I had a show.

Suddenly a man poked his head in and announced that he was the anesthetist and did I want an epidural now because he was very busy and can’t wait around! I was told to hurry up and get onto the bed so he could do it.
There were people everywhere waiting and watching me.
I tried not to vomit.
I then had an episode of low blood pressure (from the epidural) and reduced urine output.

They proceeded to spread my legs and insert a catheter, rupture my membranes and screw a monitor to my baby’s head.
I felt useless, violated and I had failed my baby.

The epidural was placed incorrectly and had to be re-inserted.

Skipping a few hours of me being told to “rest” and not allowed to eat, move or birth as a woman should etc I am laying in bed while Brendan slept.

A student mw gawking at me notices the heart rate was dropping and I had developed a temperature.

The Dr was notified and for some reason they opted for a fetal pH sample. I was told they needed to do this to determine if the baby was in distress and not getting enough oxygen, could cause brain damage, most likely need a c/s or your baby will die etc.
It was horrific.

I remember lots of metal objects and my vagina exposed to the world.
I cried and cried and cried.

I was hyperventilating and the mw told me to stop it and calm down.

Upon waiting for the lab results I was “allowed” to try pushing as I was fully dilated. The mw was on strict orders that I could do so for one hour whilst the Dr was being a hero in theatre saving someone else’s baby.
My legs were held up in the air by two mw’s, fingers were inside me poking and prodding, eyes watching the clock and PUSH 1…2…3...4...5!

It was so humiliating.

How was I going to get a baby out in this position?
I wanted to get off the bed and kneel on all fours. I could feel a huge pressure.
My body was pushing. I wasn’t allowed to move.
They topped up the epidural.

The mw’s muttered to each other about how the baby hadn’t descended at all and was still posterior.
It had been 2 hours and that was it, time was up. I was told I needed a c/s because my labour was obstructed.
His head was too high and apparently some women just grow babies too big.
I was thrown onto a trolley with the contractions still going strong and wheeled to theatre.

We all know what happens here…I saw my body being sliced open in the reflection on the roof.

I felt empty.

The baby was removed. It’s a boy! (I couldn’t feel any joy) and I couldn’t see him.

I could hear him being suctioned and poked.

All of a sudden Brendan shows me our new baby and then they were gone. I didn’t even kiss or touch my baby.
He was taken to SCBU and I was alone.

The anesthetist used too much and the block went up too high. I couldn’t breathe.

I was wheeled to recovery alone where a man pressed my swollen and empty belly every 5 minutes and peered between my legs chatting away about his daughter.

I was lost.

No one had told me where or why they had taken my baby and Brendan had left me.
I was then wheeled to a dark room where I noticed my placenta in an ice cream container at my feet. I was dozing and when I woke it was gone. The mw had disposed of it.

Where is my baby? It had been hours and I was still alone.
I had to ask the nurse to find out where my baby was. She looked confused but did so anyway.

A few minutes later Brendan walked in with our tiny little boy who had been bathed, dressed and wrapped. He had a drip in his tiny hand. The first thing he said to me was that our baby was only allowed out for a little while, and then he has to go back to SCBU.

He mumbled something about Charlie having a temperature and low blood glucose levels. They were giving him antibiotics.
I was shattered and broken.
What sort of woman/mother am I?
Failed again.

We cuddled and I tried to feed him.

Brendan tells me he’s going home and takes Charlie off me and back to the SCBU. I was left alone to “rest”.

There is probably more but I think this is as much as I can manage now.

Blessingway beads

The two beads I ordered for my birthing necklace arrived today!
They are even more beautiful than I imagined. Such intricate detailing and just perfect for what I was looking for. Hopefully I will gather a collection of beads to make a very special and symbolic neckalce to wear during my labour.
I plan on having a mini blessingway in early september so I will make it then with some friends.
You can buy these beads and other fabulous handmade beads from Blessingway Beads on Etsy.