Wednesday, February 11, 2015


I remember when I was expecting my first baby.  I was blessed to be pregnant before the existence of the internet as we know it today.  I did not have a home computer.  Because of this, I read exactly two books, recommended by my childbirth educator, and worked through a guided preparation with my honey, Mark.  I'm sure there were other books, I just didn't know about them.  I met with my family physician, hoping that the time that he would be able to be my doctor for the birth.  He informed me that he couldn't and handed me the fork in the road.  Obstetrician or Midwife.  Because of a history with an ovarian cyst, I was well aware of the OB model.  I only knew that I waited and waited and waited in that office for my appointments, did not feel that my time was valued, spent 3 minutes with the doctor, felt disrespected and "talked down to", and ultimately didn't feel CARED FOR under his CARE.  I went home and got out the phone book...yes, I am aware that I'm dating myself, kinda the point...and looked up "midwives".  I found exactly 3.  I chose the closest one and made an appointment.
Now, the information age has it's advantages, although the jury is still out for me on whether is has improved our lives or not.  My 97 year old Grandma Virginia told me once that my job taking care of 2 children is harder than hers was in some ways BECAUSE of things we consider to be modern conveniences.  Her example was the washing machine.  When her 7 children were young, they had FAR fewer clothes.  Yes, she had to hand wash and line dry, but when she sees my pile of laundry for our family of 4, she laughs at me....points and laughs.
This age of technology is a curse sometimes.  Even the mega bookstores are stocking their shelves with watered down, bland, low-risk, brand name titles that do not really prepare you for birth. The web/media as a resource is risky; at times you might find a representation of what birth really looks like/can be under any and all circumstances, from home birth to cesarean, but more often it is a minefield of fear, politics and ridiculous scene's that are light years from "normal".

Having read two books and going to regular prenatal visits with my midwife, the brilliant Christine Thain (if you live anywhere near Bellevue, Wa, LOOK HER UP!, and having the benefit of a certain amount of naiveté, I was able to maintain something really important.  Trust in my body.  I still see a lot of this in my business...mainly because of the fact that there are people out there who arrange their lives around not exposing themselves to fear and instead, go out of there way to seek out those who will guide, educate, and support.  I was lucky in some ways: to live in an area where there were midwives to choose from, to have a little bit of a "stick it to the man" attitude, to have a partner that trusted me to make these choices for our baby and my body, to have supportive family that asked thoughtful questions in a way that allowed me to hear their concerns without becoming defensively staunch in my beliefs, but instead to seek answers, to have low risk pregnancies that allowed me to have the options, to have had the opportunity to see me teenage sister give birth to her baby without interventions and to see my niece benefit from that in the 10 days that followed while she was in the NICU.  I really never questioned my body's ability to give birth.  That isn't a statement of confidence that everything would go according tho my "plan".  I only mean that IF something had come up that required intervention, I feel strongly that I would not have seen it as a failure of my body, but instead, a circumstance.  I would have been able to feel this way because of the education (2 books and a preparation class) as well as having aligned myself with a midwife that I could trust completely to inform and educate me about the well-being of myself and my baby and that if she said that I was healthy, I could believe her.  I would also have been able to believe her if she had discovered anything that would risk me out of her care and require me to accept treatment, intervention, or surgery.

I don't mean to suggest that you can only find this in midwifery's where I found it.
The fundamental challenge in finding this in obstetric care is that the language that would be used to explain to you that there is some medical concern that may require specific care, is the same language that SOME providers use to scare, manipulate and manage your care according to their policy and protocol, making it very hard to tell if it is really in your individual best interest. Even as the American Coalition of Obstetricians and Gynecologists (ACOG) are recommending fewer inductions and fewer cesarean sections, as well as recognizing the benefit of checking in to your birth place once in active labor, now considered to be approximately 6cm dilated, AND endorsing midwifery care for low risk pregnancy, it will take time for these changes in ACOG's recommendations to be implemented across the board. If there is a reason for you to be under the care of an obstetrician, then this just becomes a necessary hurdle, clarifying and challenging the medical care plan until you understand and accept the need for it.  Barring necessity, I would encourage you to interview with a midwife and at least explore the idea that midwifery care might offer you more than you realize.

Either way, let me help you to simplify what you expose yourself to, while also arming you with the information you need to interview and build a team of support around you, whether it's in the hospital or birth center/home birth, so that you too may relax and trust your body's ability to give birth.  I have done the research, taught classes for 18 years and attended hundreds of births, and as a result I have developed and written a curriculum specifically to A. Use in my classroom and B. To meet this need where a thorough childbirth class may not be an option or available.  I give reading assignments out of 2 books, and offer a variety of massage explorations, relaxation tools, journaling prompts, a thorough and positive explanation of what normal birth looks like, youtube video suggestions that have been previewed and approved, communication skills to help you ask important questions and to be a part of the decision making process if an intervention is medically necessary.  You can find it on Amazon, here:

I wish you trust in your body and in your baby, and a team of professionals surrounding you who help you to feel safe and comfortable, and above all, I wish you a warm welcome for a healthy baby.

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