Tuesday, September 20, 2011

Is a Positive Peanut Gallery Possible??

A Cesarean is Not a Failure: One Woman's Story

I just read the above story on the Birth Without Fear blog and the comments following startled me.  This is EXACTLY what I was speaking of when I recently wrote "Judgement".  Perhaps my idea of everyone being supportive of each other, kind, and open-hearted is all just a "hippy, granola, I-wish-for-world-peace" mentality... but really, why is that SO difficult to achieve?

Everyone is entitled to voicing their opinion, and I feel that with today's access to the internet, blogs, social networking and most importantly HIDING behind a computer screen, "voicing" has been made much easier without the thought of how it might effect others.

But my question is this: Is our "right" to voice our opinion more important than how it may effect those who read/hear it?  Is sending someone into a tailspin of self doubt or guilt just for a few sentences of "speaking your voice" worth it??  Perhaps if we all just went by this motto:  "If it's going to negatively impact those reading it.. don't say it", then perhaps we'd have a bit more harmony in this world.  I'm not saying for everyone to walk around and lie all the time or pretend that certain things in life just don't plain hurt because I realize they do.  But I think we allow things to hurt enough on our own, we self deprecate enough on our own, and we all live with our share of guilt very well WITHOUT the negativity from the peanut gallery.. so perhaps if the peanut gallery started working on adding a dose of positive, the world would be a happier place.  Just sayin'... since I have the RIGHT to do so :)

Saturday, September 17, 2011

the birth of baby Shelby

We all know that birth requires a certain degree of open mindedness. We can "plan" all we want, but at the end of the day these little babies come into this world on their own clock, without any specified plans in tow.  Flexibility is a must, and the following events were a great example of just that.  Usually they unfold calmly.. often even slowly, but I have to say that parts of this story started to feel a bit like Lucy and Ethel!  :) 

Meet Ami and baby Shelby.  Born September 9, 2011 at 6:15pm with the cutest little nose a girl could ask for!  This is their story.  
Back in January a “Military Mom”, named Ami, met with me to see if we'd make a good fit as her birth team.  At this time I learned that she was only 6 weeks pregnant, already had 3 other children, her 3rd was only 4 months old (yep, I said 4 months old), she held an active status in the air force and her husband was being deployed to South Korea in a few short months. SERIOUSLY?! Needless to say she was a bit shocked to be pregnant again and a bit overwhelmed with the journey ahead! 

This birth was going to be different than any other I’d taken on so far.  I would need clearance to get onto the base, would labor with her at her home, I was to be her transportation to the hospital, would need clearance to get into the naval hospital, I would be her primary birth partner... wowza!  I had no problem with all of this... in fact I was excited about it.  I just knew that my role was going to be a lot more specific and a little harder to juggle than the more common mom-partner-doula trio that I'd grown used to.  Needless to say, I was thrilled to work with Ami and couldn't wait to be of service to her!  During this initial meeting, we also discussed birth photography as an option for her husband to be able to see as much of the birth as possible. (Skype was also discussed but depending on time of day, lack of internet connection at the hospital etc., we hoped for something more concrete). This is where Ali enters the picture.  My friend, Ali Caudill of  Ali Caudill Photography had mentioned to me a while back that she would love to get involved in birth photography.  So I told Ami about her and as a photographer/photography-lover herself, she was thrilled with the idea!  I contacted Ali and soon everyone was on board for the upcoming fall birth. 

Many months came and went... we kept in touch throughout Ami's entire pregnancy but we didn't meet again until she was quite visibly pregnant!  We plotted and planned all that we could for the big day, doing our best to make the transitions smooth for everyone involved.  One of the "plans"  that we discussed was how she wanted to have this baby.  She had medicated births for all of her 3 previous babies, but was curious to see if she could have this one (the last according to her!) unmedicated.  "Curious" usually means (in her words): that the idea sounds really good right now, but I have a good feeling that once I'm actually in labor I'm going to say, "screw it!  Give me an epidural!"  I explained to her that if that was what she decided then of course I would support her, but that if she wanted an unmedicated birth then she could almost certainly have one! Coming from a mom who literally ran 3 miles a day until the week before she delivered, I had no doubt that this mama could push herself if she wanted to!  

Cut to Sept 8th 2011.  Ami was 38 weeks pregnant and really beginning to walk with that "baby is LOW waddle".  I met her out at the base to get a month pass so that no one would have to check me in during her labor.  Everything was squared away and we parted ways.  The very next day Ami called me and said she was having contractions and that they were definitely NOT Braxton Hicks.  She said that they were coming pretty close together, but that she wasn't timing them and was headed out to her baby shower at work :)  (Now THAT'S the mark of a 4th timer!!!)  So she said that she would call me afterward to update me.  Meanwhile I contacted Ali to let her know that Ami’s time had come (seemed like FOREVER since that first meeting back in January!) and to make sure she was available to come and shoot the birth.  Ali was indeed available and after taking care of some things at home was headed in my direction. 

When Ami called after her baby shower she said that she still had to get things squared away at home: get the kids from daycare, pack their bags to spend the night at a neighbors house, etc. etc.  I told her that Ali was on her way to my home and that we would drive together so that no one would have to check Ali into the base.   During this phone conversation, Ami was having to stop and breathe during contractions, but still seemed to be chipping away at her to-do list.  She did say that her contractions were getting MUCH closer together... to the point that if she moved at all, another contraction would start. This began to make me antsy… as a fourth time mom, I wondered just how long Ali and I had to get there… not to mention we were entering the 4pm window of Friday traffic in DC.  {Gulp}.

At about 4:15pm I sat waiting in the car devouring a granola bar (hey you never know how long these births will last!) while waiting for Ali to arrive.  Within seconds of pulling into my parking lot she literally jumped into my car and we were off.  About 10 minutes later we got a text from Ami that read, "I can't wait any longer... I'm getting a ride to the hospital from a friend."...  WOAH!!!, I thought, Change of plans!  She must REALLY be moving quickly! I was grateful Ami had someone nearby to give her a ride and just as grateful to have Ali in the car with me who was able to navigate our sudden change of route. I would have been one seriously nervous doula, trying to drive and get a new map on my iphone, if she hadn't been there! (Ok, I was STILL one nervous doula driving as fast as I could with white knuckles.. but Ali was a lifesaver in our seemingly frantic navigation!).  

When we pulled into the naval hospital, I thought, DARN IT!  Ami was supposed to be IN the car to get us through the gate!!!  How the heck are we gonna get into this place???  We pulled up to the gate where we gave the officer our ID's.  Then we gave him Ami's name and he checked the in-patient list.  Nothing.  Then he called up to labor and delivery.  Nothing.  Then I called Ami's cell.  Nothing.  Called one more time.  Nothing.  I looked at Ali as my stomach dropped... "you don't think we're at the wrong hospital do you?????". (I wish I could have taken a photo of Ali’s face at that moment... insert Lucy and Ethel). 
Now mind you, I ALWAYS pre-plan where I'm headed, have my map laid out on my phone etc., but it's amazing what fear based ideas will bubble up when trying to figure out what on EARTH is going on!   At that moment, I looked at the officer with WIDE eyes:
me-- um... this IS the naval hospital right?? THE ONLY naval hospital in the area???? 
me-- {breathing a huge sigh of granola breath all over his face} THANK GOD.  
officer-- I dunno if you can reach her on her phone though.  I never can get cell service in the hospital.
me-- {thinking} so how the heck is she to know we’re here to let us in???  
officer-- heyI just bought those same UGGs for my girlfriend.  
me- Oh!  haha {courtesy laugh} great choice! {aka DO YOU REALIZE THIS WOMAN IS PUSHING OUT HER BABY AND I'M HER ONLY PARTNER??? let us IN PA-LEASE!}!!!!!!  *I would have tried the ol' bat-my-eyelashes-at-the-strapping-young-officer-trick, but sadly that just doesn't work the same way it did 10 years ago.*
Finally he told us to pull through the gate and over to the side of the road. He said that as soon as he received word of Ami's arrival that he'd let us through.  ARGH!  Ali took out her phone and called the hospital directly to see if Ami was on the in-patient list.  NOTHING.  Our hearts raced impatiently. 

After what felt like an eternity, Ami finally called us back...
Ami— {through laboring breaths} we're ALMOST there!  
me—wait WHAT??? You're not here yet????   
Ami-- HOLD ON I'M BREATHING... and i'm sh-sh-shayyyyy-k-k-k-kiiinnngg.  
me— {attempting to calm us both} you're doing SO great... it sounds like you're in transition!!! 
Ali-- {big eyes; loud whisper} TRANSITION?!  WOAH SHE’S ALMOST DONE!!!  

After 9 minutes of talking Ami through contractions over the phone, her friend flew through the entrance gate and the young officer came running up to the car, throwing our ID's through the window (literally), and yelling 'GO GO SHE'S HERE GO GO GO GO!".  And we were off!  Both cars raced into the drop-off circle at the hospital’s entrance.  After kindly barking some orders at a pack of military types (let me tell ya, that felt kinda odd) we quickly got a wheelchair, left our cars parked smack in the middle of the fire lane, and quickly headed upstairs stopping for each contraction on the way.  

Triage was interesting to say the least.  A tiny room, some slightly cold nurses, and a chilly young resident Dr. crowded together to determine whether she was ready to have her baby.  The resident announced that Ami was 8cm dilated with a bulging bag and ready to push as soon as he could break her water.  She quickly asked when he could make that happen... he said, as soon as we get you in the room... and that's NOW.  He said that if she wanted her epidural then he needed to order it immediately.   She took one look at me and said, can I do this without the drugs??  I said, OH MY GOSH OF COURSE YOU CAN!!! YOU’RE SO CLOSE NOW… MOST OF THE WORK IS DONE!  She immediately turned to the doctor and said, let's go... I wanna have this baby NOW.
  We all stumbled into suite 20: Ali was snapping pictures, Ami's AWESOME neighbor/friend/driver was carrying bags and helping fill in the details of their car ride,  nurses were poking and prodding to get monitors on Ami and an IV inserted, and Ami and I were holding hands and just focusing on each individual breath. 
I offered Ami water and ice to cool her down, but she was only interested in one thing.  Her strength was amazing!  Ami’s mind was set and there was NOTHING stopping her from having her baby NOW!  Finally after a bit of fumbling on the part of multiple residents, her membranes had been ruptured and her cervix was complete. It was time to push! 

 As a fourth time mama, she was nothing short of a pro and within only 30-45 minutes of setting foot in the hospital and a few short pushes, her sweet baby girl was gently placed on her chest! 
A few minutes after Shelby was born, Ami squealed, WOW… I FEEL LIKE A ROCK STAR!  NOW I KNOW I CAN DO ANYTHING!  And holy moly was she right!  Less than an hour after Shelby was born Ami was walking around the room like nothing had even happened!

For the next few hours we enjoyed the calm as we sat snapping pictures and cuddling with her new sweet button-nosed-bundle and laughing like old friends about the frenzy that had unfolded just a few hours before. 

 As suspected, Ami’s husband was still sleeping in South Korea when his daughter entered the world.  For him, these pictures will forever allow him to see his daughter’s first breaths.  For me, they will forever remind me of what it’s like to be in the presence of a real rock star.
Thank you Ami and Shelby for sharing your special journey with us!  

Photos: Compliments of Ali Caudill Photography.   

Saturday, September 10, 2011


For the last few months I've noticed that I've been reluctant to blog.  I've been feeling less motivated to tell birth stories from my perspective and wondering if I should continue.  After some searching from within, it recently dawned on me as to why.  Why I wasn't blogging and also why I should.  

I suppose the reasons that I felt less inspired to write were created by much of the negativity that I've witnessed in response to such stories all over the internet, but ultimately these reasons were the product of my own mind.  That "little voice"succeeded in talking me out of sharing time and time again.  After each birth I would think, Would anyone really be interested in that one?  It was pretty text book (which if you ask me, "text book" is pretty great!),--OR-- Will people just think I'm dramatizing the situation?--OR-- I don't want people to think I'm bragging about myself as a doula--OR-- I don't want to make someone feel badly who didn't have a positive birth experience by reading someone else's great story. The main reason, however, that constantly came up in my mind was this:  No matter what birth story I read on the internet, SOMEONE always judges and comments negatively about it.  And that, I realized, was the root of my resistance:  Judgement.  Readers write comments on how it really SHOULD have gone, or WOULD have gone if THEY were the one there, or how ignorant the team was, or why would these parents ever choose {blank} when they CLEARLY should have chosen {blank} if they knew ANYTHING about the latest research... and on and on and on.  I found myself analyzing the amazing births I've attended in an effort to find what others would say about them BEFORE they could butcher it themselves!  Then it hit me.  If I'm going to pick these stories apart for everyone else in my own mind in order to avoid hearing judgment, then not writing them doesn't prevent the judgment from happening at all!  I realize that people are ALWAYS going to judge...(my self judgement included).  They'll judge the story, the writer, the birth team, the mom, the choices and on and on.  But I now realize that I don't care.  The story is what it is... it happened how it happened for one reason or another and most importantly, the reader WASN'T THERE.  They don't truly know WHAT they would choose if they were facing each given situation and at the end of the day that's life.  People have always and will always have an opinion but it doesn't make it fact.  These experiences, I realize, deserve to be told because they're REAL, they're authentic, and hopefully they inspire.  No, they aren't always perfect.  Not every mom has every single desire met that she wanted with her birth.  Some do, some don't even come close, and most are somewhere in between.  But I can say that with all the negativity out there and all the horrific stories that people love to tell in order to process their story (and I'm not knocking the process of sharing traumatizing birth stories), there need to be some positive ones to balance them.  Too many clients come to me saying Oh my gosh, I just read {blank} on the internet and that REALLY freaked me out!  When searching on the internet, we always read of the extremes and yes, they can be terrifying.  So I'm realizing that we need more empowering stories, fun stories, exciting stories, and most of all uplifting stories that give these curious moms hope and renew their sense of trust in this process. 

So why am I blogging about why I haven't blogged?  Because I've noticed that sometimes the birth community (both professionals and parents rallying for a certain type of birth experience) can actually be quite harsh.  Instead of coming together to SUPPORT each other, they end up scrutinizing each other and the choices everyone has made.  And yes, there are times where I'm guilty of it too... I don't exactly type out a diatribe in response to forums or blogs, but internally I certainly share in the shoulda-coulda-woulda's from time to time if not careful!  So here's to sharing positive stories and hoping that our community can actually be more supportive of one another in the births that these moms not only desire, but also the ones that they choose.  

Thursday, April 7, 2011

A Perfect Intervention

I just had the honor of attending one of the most amazing births... and not in the way that most may consider "amazing".  No, it wasn't quick, it wasn't easy (are they ever easy?), it wasn't all natural, and it wasn't even at home which was something VERY important to this particular couple.  In fact it was almost everything they DIDN'T want (almost) as the cards were truly stacked against them, yet in the end it was perfect in every way.

A few months ago a seriously adorable couple came to me looking for a doula for the home birth of their first baby through the midwives of Birth By Design. Aside from an incredibly not-fun pregnancy for this mom (in many ways), all was looking good for them to be candidates to have their baby at home. That is until about 38 weeks or so.  At this point (a few weeks ago) mom's blood pressure started to rise quite high, coupled with weight gain, swelling, and the same general feeling of "truck-hit-ness" that she'd experienced through her whole pregnancy, to the point where we decided to head to the hospital.  We suspected preeclampsia which of course would no longer be conducive to her having a home birth.  So we did our best to prepare these parents for what to expect at the hospital... a huge change from what they wanted their birth to look like.  So with heavy hearts and some baked bribery for the nurses to treat us well, we headed out on our journey to Fauquier hospital.  We prepared these parents for the high probability that the doctors would push to induce, but with her blood pressure as high as it was, we all knew intervention in this particular case was likely best.  Much to our surprise all labs came back clear, they monitored her blood pressure for a few hours, baby looked great and they happily sent us on our way saying "you go have that baby at home"!  We were shocked and amazed as we all walked out to our cars with a major extra pep in our step!

Cut to early Monday morning of this week.  My phone rang at 12:30am and in my sleep I woke to an ecstatic voice squealing, "MY WATER JUST BROKE!!!".  Mom was SO excited that labor had begun on its own as she was now 41 weeks pregnant, and like many first time moms who reach 41 weeks, started to wonder if her baby would ever come on its own.  We chatted briefly about what was going on... she wasn't contracting yet... so we all went back to bed to be ready for the journey ahead.  (From the excitement in her voice I knew she would be getting very little sleep!).  I waited through the night and heard no updates.  I woke the next morning and still nothing.  I sent mom a text to see how she was doing and she said she'd started contracting in the night, everything was manageable, and to come over around 1pm.  I headed over and could see that this mom was still in very early labor. (Usually after membranes rupture we want moms to be in active labor by approximately12 hours after). She was in a great mood folding her laundry and setting up the house for everything to come.  Kim Pekin and Peggy Franklin came over at about 2:30pm to see how she was doing.  Her blood pressure had stayed consistently high since our hospital visit a few weeks prior, and with continued lab monitoring every few days, all else was still looking ok.  Kim checked mom's cervix and she was only 1cm dilated and 50% effaced.  Gulp.  We knew that since her membranes had ruptured at the onset of labor 14 hours prior that we were racing against the clock to have this baby.  Suddenly it became an incredibly real possibility AGAIN that we may have to head to the hospital if we couldn't get things moving along.  The midwives left us for the day to labor after our team devised a plan of action.  Every 15 minutes and every minute in-between there was something to do...from nipple stimulation to walking to belly lifts to ligament releases to acupressure points to herbal tinctures... we were on a mission!  This couple worked tirelessly with me as dad's watch went off every 15 minutes for our next dose of herbs between all of our activities.  It didn't take long for mom's contractions to go from 10 minutes apart to every 2 1/2-5min!  Things were looking good and the intensity of the contractions began to grow, but when Kim returned at 9pm (6 hours later) to assess the situation mom's cervix had not changed. At all :(  Talk about hearts sinking!  Everyone was disappointed as we knew right then that we needed to go the hospital.  We packed our bags and cars while talking about what to expect upon arrival:  If we're lucky they'll give mom Pitocin (never thought I'd use Pitocin and lucky in the same sentence) to get her labor going and if not so lucky; cesarean. Kim called ahead and thankfully the nurse who answered remembered all of us from our last Fauquier excursion.  Thankful for our ability to have intervention when necessary, I quietly sent some prayers "upstairs" on my drive over. I'm sure I wasn't alone.

Upon arrival we were thrilled to have a nurse who quickly said, "I just want you to know, I'm on your side.  I had 2 home births myself."  You could feel all of us let out a huge sigh of relief as anyone who births in a hospital knows that the nurse assigned to you is just as important, if not more so, than your doctor when it comes to your experience as a whole. [So...Great nurse? Check]  We got mom settled in and set the room with lights off, dim flickering candles, and the calm scent of lavender masking the sterile environment as we waited anxiously to meet our OB.  While waiting, the nurse told us that they don't administer Pitocin during the night because the Dr. isn't there. "UM... WHAT? What do you mean you don't administer it??" we thought. Now for a 'normal' birth we want to run as fast as we can from Pit, but when it's Pitocin vs. Cesarean, we were practically begging for Pitocin to give this mom a chance!  At this point we just knew it ~ our Dr. was going to walk in and say this mom needed to be sectioned.  But instead when the Dr. arrived from her home she quickly flipped on the lights separating us from our zen space [Peaceful doctor? Negative] and much to our surprise ordered some Pitocin (jaw drop!) and said that as long as mom and baby were doing fine that she would allow her to labor well past 24 hours with ruptured membranes!!! (double jaw drop!) [Taking back negative comment from Dr turning on lights? Check].  Oh my gosh were we elated!  She was going to have a chance!

It didn't take long for the Pitocin to kick in and mom's contractions quickly escalated to pretty darn miserable (I know, I know.. who's aren't miserable?). We all worked tirelessly for hours and hours trying to help her body relax so that her cervix could open.  When it finally got to where she just couldn't take it anymore we asked if we could get her into the shower.  Negative.  Major bummer.  They decided to check her cervix hoping that her progress would give her some drive to continue.  Now I have to say, from my personal experience watching cervical checks: whenever I see a care provider feel around in there for a REALLY good while before saying ANYTHING looking as though they're up to their elbows trying to even find the darned thing, I always know the dilation is going to be lower than we want to hear... but when I heard, "she's 1.5cm" I just about lost it and mom really did. HOW could this mother be contracting this strongly for SO long (5 hours on Pitocin at this point) and not be progressing at all??? She could no longer physically relax and Kim and I looked at each other and quietly nodded: "Epidural".  So against mom's original hopes for her birth she adamantly requested an epidural and was finally able to let her body go.  Once it began to take effect at about 6:45am Kim and I curled up on either end of the little hospital couch and dad half-dozed in a chair.  We cat napped for a bit and woke to the nurse coming in to give mom a check.  Within 2 hours she was 4cm dilated and 80% effaced!!!  The OB came in only 10 minutes later and said "she's 5-6cm and 100% effaced!". IN 10 MINUTES??? HOLY PITOCIN BATMAN!  We all felt like dancing!  Progress was being made and a chance was being given... we were thrilled.  Exhausted but thrilled.

Sure enough, a few more hours into the epidural phase, mom developed a fever.  We weren't sure if it was a side effect of the epidural or if she was developing an infection from having ruptured membranes for so long.  Again:  perfect time for Dr. to throw in the towel and intervene with a cesarean.  Nope... she treated mom with antibiotics and let her continue!  Kim and I just looked at each other with "well ok then!" faces as each of these surprising moments came and went.  

As the hours passed our team grew closer.  When it finally came time to push, our nurse allowed Kim to use hot compresses, perform perineal massage AND check mom's progress vaginally.  SERIOUSLY?!  This was awesome. We knew we were on their turf when we walked through those hospital doors and thought we knew what we'd signed up for, but this nurse graciously allowed Kim to maintain her role as this mother had originally hoped.  Next thing we knew the Dr. unexpectedly popped in and there stood Kim in her purple sterile gloves..... our hearts raced for a second as we thought "uh oh" and the doc just smiled and waved us on to continue as we were.  Again, SERIOUSLY?  Was this a dream???  So mom pushed as we massaged, rotated legs, hips and changed positions and a few hours later it was finally time for this baby to be born.  Nurses scrambled in assembling tables and disassembling the bed in the usual baby's-crowning-fashion.  [side note: Hours prior when explaining to the nurses some of the hopes that the parents had for their birth, dad expressed wanting to help catch the baby.  The nurse doubted that this would 'fly' but said she would speak to the OB.]  So during said scramble, in walked the Dr. and said to dad, "Would you like to help catch?"  REALLY??!  All eyes bulged and mouths dropped (including every nurse in that room)! "YESSSS!!!" Dad said as they quickly suited him up to look like the finest of Dr's.  What amazed us most was when baby's head emerged, the Dr. wasn't the one guiding it while playing the "you rest your hands on top of mine and pretend like you're doing the work" game.  DAD had his own hands on his sweet baby's head and the Dr. calmly rested hers on top of his [tears are streaming down my face as I write this].  This precious baby girl entered into this world in her father's very hands... in a hospital no less!  HOT DOG!!! (as my grandfather used to always say when excited)... We laughed and cried as we cheered this little one into this out-of-belly-world.

This birth was amazing in so many respects.  I've never been an "anti-hospital" doula at all, but when a couple wants a home birth you just know it's going to be a VERY different story when you have to transfer to a hospital.  It's a different ballgame and you just have to be willing to play it when you step onto their court.  This hospital staff proved otherwise.  They did their very best to preserve this mothers birth wishes despite the ever so many ways they could have intervened.  This gave me hope... if only more hospitals, nurses and doctors would be willing to welcome us with open arms and to truly play as a team.. utilizing all of our collective talents and knowledge TOGETHER to create a positive birth environment for everyone... just take a moment and imagine what we could accomplish!  Upon leaving, Kim put it very well: had any ONE single element of that birth been missing, then it would have gone SO differently.  Many OB's would have sectioned this mom weeks ago upon seeing her blood pressure alone!  Every single person on this journey was essential, and every path we took was perfect in every way.  God has a much greater plan and coordinated everything so that this baby would come into the world in the perfect way that she did; which really taught me... when you think you know exactly what will happen in life because the cards are stacked HIGH against you, something Greater laughs in your face and proves you wrong. And by golly I had no idea being wrong could feel soooo good!

Wednesday, March 23, 2011

Looks like I got a girl pregnant!!

Who'da thought I could get a girl preggers?  I did!  Honestly I had every bit of confidence and welp... by golly it looks like it worked!  

Now you might be thinking "um... what do you mean YOU got a girl pregnant?".  I can't truly take ALL the credit.  I had the pleasure of taking an amazing workshop a little while ago from Dr. Carol Phillips (http://www.dynamicbodybalancing.com/) who inspired me beyond words.  As both a bodyworker and a doula, the concepts and techniques that she shared were right up my alley!  Carol is one of those people that is overflowing with knowledge... I wanted to sit and absorb everything she had to share for about a month... but instead I was lucky enough to get a few hours. 

Basically the concepts that Carol taught are based on the alignment of the uterus and how this affects pregnancy, fetal positioning, fertility, pms, on and on.  If the ligaments that hold the uterus in place are torqued in any way then we can run into many not so fun physical dilemmas from infertility to painful periods, to painful pregnancies, to difficulty having a successful natural delivery.  SO what do we do?  She taught 4 easy releases to help set our clients up for the most positive birth outcomes possible (and for them to be able to align themselves!) 

The results?  Well... I have 4 stories to share: 

1) The first night (literally) after I took Carol's workshop I got a call from a desperate at-term mom-to-be who was having horrible low back pain.  Her back was spasming to the point where she thought perhaps she was in labor.  I immediately knew what to try as she begged for relief, so I had her put the phone on speaker so that I could teach both her and her husband on the spot.  After just a moment in the release I heard her sigh and say "oh my gosh, that is soooo much better!".  It worked right away!  
2) The next case is actually my own.  Carol said that EVERYONE should be doing these releases daily... that your periods should never be painful.. not even a cramp.  I thought, "Wait...WHAT?" Now personally I've never had "bad" periods that have me curled up in bed all day, but sure, on the first day or so I get some cramping. I'll put it this way: I'm aware that my period is coming/there.  According to Carol, you should sit down on the toilet, pull down your panties and say "Oh!  I didn't realize it was that time!".  The only indicator should be blood... not those other not-so-fun accompanying symptoms.  So I thought, Ok.. I'll give it a whirl myself.  I showed a few clients these releases which thereby gave me an excuse to do them myself.  So the result?  My next period came and it was exactly what she said that it should be.  I sat down and badaboom: "oh!", I thought, "there it is"!  Sure enough, I had NO other symptoms.  I was pretty shocked that it had an effect that quickly but it's definitely helping me realize how easy it is to align yourself!  
3) Another client of mine (approx. 29 weeks pregnant) contacted me having intense back and stomach cramping/pain.  Long story short she ended up at the hospital but by the time she arrived, there was no concerning activity.  She spent the next day on the couch resting but a day later the pain returned.  I had her come in immediately and taught her the releases.  Since then, no pain, no cramping, no problems!
4) And now for the REALLY exciting one... how on earth did I get a girl pregnant?!  A new friend of mine recently shared that she and her husband have been trying to get pregnant for 13 months and that she's beginning to worry.  I inquired about her period history, history of accidents or injury (anything that could torque her body) and after her responses I knew I had to try those releases!  So sure enough, during the week of March 3rd, she came over and we went through each release.  Today I learned that she is indeed pregnant and according to her calendar she conceived within 2 days after I worked on her!  Now THAT's how you get a girl pregnant :)  

As I said, I can't take all the credit.  I thank Dr. Carol Phillips for sharing her amazing knowledge to our birth community.  I have every intention of using these releases on every woman I know (who will let me get a hold of her!) and we'll see if this "good luck" will continue!  

Tuesday, March 8, 2011

Here we go!

So I had lunch today with a really great gal... it was a business meeting but I felt an immediate connection with her.. her spirit, her creativity, her .. well, likemindedness!  So rather than referring to her as a colleague, I feel more comfortable calling her my new long lost friend.  After sharing thoughts and stories about a million things, much about birth, she suggested that I begin a blog.  So here we are... it's almost 1am and as I lay in bed unable to sleep with typical wheels turning in my mind from creative thoughts, thoughts on my upcoming wedding, trying to make sure that I'm not forgetting anything in life between wedding to-do's, work, my clients,  to... oh that project I'd like to paint, other business adventures that I'd love to begin, that bathing suit I'd like to buy (and actually look ok in) for my honeymoon... (clearly important stuff here!)... on and on.  Suddenly Ali's voice (the new "long lost" friend) popped into my head and I thought "just blog".  So I shot up in bed, grabbed my laptop, and googled how to start a blog.  Seems easy enough, so here we go.

While I realize that those reading this are probably not so interested in my late night, wheel turning "dear diary" moments... I'll try to stick to the more profound moments that actually ARE worth sharing.  I'm blessed and honored to share a handful of hours in my life (sometimes many more than a handful) with parents who allow me into their sacred birthing bubble.  To be present with them in welcoming their little ones into this world.  I have a front row seat in those moments that literally seem to stand still: that moment between what was and what will be in life as a baby emerges into this world. I watch this little life transition as it breathes from his mother to that very first breath that he takes on his own.  In our modern day medicalized world, we often forget this miraculous moment.. one that we can't take back or ever experience again.  The moments of new, precious life thrill and drive me beyond words...  but hey, I'm gonna do my best to describe them anyway.  tomorrow.

Thank you for joining me here, and of course with parents' consent, I hope to share many inspiring stories of life.. of birth.. from the perspective of little ol' me :)