Healing Homebirth

Australia's Homebirth Network

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.