This blog is a bit stagnant as I have been appointed to the Community Manager position at Lamaze International’s Science & Sensibility blog. Come on over to see what I am writing about!
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Well, here I sit, in my own favorite chair, in my own living room, with my laptop balanced on my legs, and the sound of jet engines slowly fading from my ears! What a trip!
I am just back from the Lamaze International Conference in Orlando, Florida. Two days doing Disney “things” with my kids, (and trust me, two days was about 1 1/2 too many for all of us, but that is another story!) then on to the Conference.
The conference was held in the Coronado Springs Resort, in Disney. This place doubles as a million football fields all strung together! It is HUGE! HUGE! Like, if you leave something in the exhibit hall and are now in a breakout session in another room, and want to “run” back to get it, count on 20 minutes! Seriously, but enough griping!
I got to meet so many people that I have only heard about and read their material! Robin Weiss, who writes both pregnancy.about.com and many books as well as blogs over at The Birth Activist. I met Rixa Freeze, who received the Safe and Healthy Birth Media Award in recognition and appreciation of her engagement of new media and reaching childbearing women with critical messages about safe and healthy birth practices/ Her blog is on my blogroll, Stand and Deliver I met the blogger responsible for the great blog Mom’s Tinfoil Hat, who is in med school to become an OBGYN!. I looked for, but couldn’t find Amy Romano, who does the Lamaze Science and Sensibility blog. I also couldn’t find the blogger Reality Rounds, another one I love! I got to give a hug to Katy Rawlins from Idaho, who was presented the Safe and Healthy Birth Advocate Award in recognition of her promotion of safe and healthy birth and its contribution to childbearing women and their families. I got to meet Debbie Amis, who was was presented the Elisabeth Bing award in appreciation of her continued efforts to train and mentor new Lamaze childbirth educators. She also has a great blog that I love.
I got to clap really loud for my dear friend Teri Shilling who was presented the Lamaze International Award in recognition of her significant contribution to expanding the reach of Lamaze childbirth education around the world. I also met Barbara Hotelling, Ann Tumblin, Pat Predmore, Marilyn Hildreth, Ann Israel, and the list can go on and on, I probably left out many others, such a crowd of women (and a very few men!) who know that birth matters and how babies and women are treated during pregnancy and birth is important.
Another high of the conference was that I was a speaker! My session was “Working Your Magic!” The Educator’s Role in Reducing the Fear of Pain.” I had a blast and the session was received very well by the almost 90 participants! The attendees got to rock and roll during a realistic labor simulation with lots of ice! just like my clients and students do!
So many more things to say, but my head is spinning from lack of sleep! We got up at 1 AM Seattle time, in order to catch our very early plane out of Orlando!
I am renewed, encouraged, excited and proud to be a childbirth educator, doula and doula trainer! I know that what I do matters and I look forward to growing my business and improving my skills from all that I have learned this past week at the conference!
When I am teaching childbirth classes and doula trainings, I “sing the praises” of singing or toning in labor! When a woman opens her throat and her mouth and vocalizes, sings, chants, tones or hums during labor, it helps to keep her bottom and perineum loose and relaxed. Ina May Gaskin, the famous midwife and author of several books, including my favorite “Ina May’s Guide to Childbirth,” says in her books; “loose lips, loose perineum.” I believe that whole-heartedly.
I just came across a new favorite video of a woman singing her way through transition (8-10 cm) and wanted to post it here, along with an older favorite as well! I often show these in class and everyone clearly sees the power of the song!
Watch these two clips and enjoy the power of birth as the women sing their birth song! And if a birth is in your future, consider adding song to your labor toolbox.
(and as a side note, I once had a very talented voice professional as a client, and prenatally, I suspected that vocalizing would be one of the things that would work for her as a coping technique in labor. Reality: during her unmedicated birth, there was no toning or singing! But she did state repeatedly in a very loud, vocal manner, “My ass is gonna explode,” as she powered through a very intense transition! Such a unique birth song!)
I was reading one of the many birth blogs I follow, and came across this wonderful HBAC (Home Birth After Cesarean) birth story about a strong woman who worked very hard to have the birth she wanted second time around! I encourage you to head over to Women in Charge and read about this great birth! But the part that struck me most of all, that I will immediately add to my toolbox when I work with any birthing woman is the following:
My mantra was that I be yoga’s corpse pose in between contractions. It worked. I slept. I had prepared by meditating on a chart given by my hypnotherapist of a typical hour of active labor – a 1.5 minute contraction divided into three equal parts is, 30-seconds rise, 30-seconds peak, 30-seconds fall. Being 3 minutes apart, as contractions usually are in this stage, means that in one hour, there is 15 minutes of contractions, only 5 of which are peak, leaving 45 minutes of absolute nothing – REST.
When you do the math, it really works out to 7 minutes/hour of peak contractions, but hey, the birthing woman was in laborland! I just love this image! ONLY SEVEN MINUTES OF PEAK CONTRACTION SENSATIONS IN AN HOUR! We can do that. right? Seven minutes of hard peaky contractions in an hour! You bet, with support, and trust and patience, a birthing woman can do this for an hour, and another and even another, if need be!
I can’t wait to share this mental image at my next prenatal meeting with clients! Maybe I even bring some colored pencils and paper to our prenatal, and we draw a wonderful pie chart or other representation of the seven peak minutes of contractions that occur in an hour of labor!
I will let you know how it is received. And I would love to hear your favorite visualization tip that works well for your clients. Share with me and let me learn!
I have always shared with both my doula clients and my childbirth students that less is more when it comes to baby hygiene products, and bathing your newborn and infant. Reality is, little babes do not get all that dirty, (it’s not like they are crawling through the mud or anything! and what is wrong with mud anyway?) and their skin is ever so sensitive. I have always stated that just plain water is the ONLY product that babies need on their skin and in their hair and on their bottom on a regular basis. And, too much bathing can be drying on their tender newborn skin. If parents feel the need to bathe with a product, the purest, most simple product available is the best, without artificial dyes, without fragrance, free of petroleum products, free of preservatives. Simple is better, plain water is best. Today I read in the Washington Post, that more than half the baby shampoo, lotion and other infant care products analyzed by a health advocacy group were found to contain trace amounts of two chemicals that are believed to cause cancer. Wow! Probable Carcinogens Found in Baby Toiletries will open your eyes to the truth around less is more when it comes to using such products on your gentle newborn.Additionally, I encourage my clients to look into the benefits of delaying the first bath for their newborn. For homebirthers, this is not usually an issue, no one ever seems to be in a rush to bathe the baby, and sometimes many days pass before it moves to the top of the list. In a hospital setting, there is often great pressure by care providers to get the baby bathed, especially if the new family is being moved to a postpartum room elsewhere on the unit. It always seems as if there is a big, master checklist of things that HAVE to happen before the family relocates, and bathing is often right up there. When the bath occurs in the first few hours, mom is not quite physically able to participate as she is still regaining her footing after birthing a human being. The baby will have nursed and settled down, only to be disturbed by this “necessary” activity. Often it is the nurse or nursing assistant who does the bath, with the proud partner standing by and taking pictures, and mama across the room, in the bed, resting. How much nicer if the first bath could be in the arms of a parent, shared bathing in the big, large bathtub, safe in the arms and on the chest of those who love them most. Even better, if this happens at home, after discharge. Over the years, I have heard so many discussions from providers on why the baby needs to be bathed asap, including…”We will have to handle your baby with gloves, until it is bathed…” which I personally think is a good thing in the hospital anyway, bath or no! Also…”We consider your baby a biohazard and will have to post something on the door to your room warning people of this…” which I also think is a good thing, keeps the riffraff out!
My intuition is backed up by the research! Check out this study: Host defense proteins in vernix caseosa and amniotic fluid This study questions the routine use of some newborn procedures. Early bathing of the baby removes vernix, which contains antimicrobial proteins that are active against group B. streptococcus and E. coli. Delaying the bath and keeping the newborn together with his or her mother until breastfeeding is established may prevent some cases of devastating infections caused by these bacteria. The fact that preterm babies tend to have more vernix than babies born at or after 40 weeks might mean that healthy, stable preterm babies derive even greater benefit from staying with their mothers during the immediate newborn period.
Finally, this study illustrates how the normal physiology of pregnancy and fetal development is part of a continuum that extends beyond birth to the newborn period. The place for a newborn is right on his/her mama’s chest, skin to skin, for as long as possible. And letting that vernix work it’s way into the baby’s skin is just added protection from the “big bad outside” that the newborn is becoming familiar with.
Keeping the diaper area clean and dry, washing the baby’s hands and face with warm water several times a day, and the occasional bath safe in the arms of a parent, with just water is all your kidlet needs to get off to a healthy start!
Another stellar post by The Well-Rounded Mama! A History of VBACs and Cesareans in the USA
How this mama finds the time to put all this together and shares her information so freely simply amazes me. I encourage you all to read this well written post, and follow the her links, and you will be amazed at the total lack of evidence based medical practices being applied to women who have birthed by Cesarean and are seeking a different journey this time! Thank you Well-Rounded Mama, for being so well-rounded!