Sunday, May 29, 2011

Homebirth Midwifery Care Now More Accessible to Yakima Area Women

I hope my out-of-town readers will indulge my sharing some local news.

Homebirth is growing in popularity among pregnant women here in Yakima, Washington. In February 2010, KIMA news published a story about more Yakima women choosing to birth at home. Although no homebirth midwives reside in Yakima itself, the midwifery team of Kristin Eggleston, LM, CPM of Sunrise Midwifery in Prosser, and Lorri Carr, LM of Highland Midwife Birth Services in Goldendale travel to Yakima to attend homebirths. Dr. Virginia Frazer, ND, LM, of Blue Heron Naturopathic Care and Shannon Bennett, CPM, both located in Tri-cities, also attend homebirths in Yakima.

Although homebirth midwives come to women's homes for a few appointments and for the birth itself, it is more efficient for them to have women come to an office location for the majority of their prenatal visits. Until recently, Yakima women would have to travel 50 miles to the nearest homebirth midwife office for prenatal care visits with a licensed midwife. I am very excited to learn that Kristen Eggleston and Lorri Carr have recently started taking appointments one day a week (Friday) at the home of the Naturopathic Medicine and Accupuncture practice of Dr. Heidi Robel, ND, LAC, PC, located at 307 S. 12th Avenue Suite 11 (map) in downtown Yakima. This location will increase the accessibility of midwifery care for women seeking homebirth in Yakima. This may allow more women to use their services, and will make using those services more convenient for those who no longer have to travel.

Tuesday, May 24, 2011

What makes Hypnobabies special

Hypnobabies has a lot to offer. I have decided to compile a list of unique advantages of the Hypnobabies program.
  • Hypnobabies is comprehensive childbirth education. The founder of Hypnobabies comes from a childbirth education background and brought together her knowledge of childbirth with hypnosis in Hypnobabies. Hypnobabies includes information on the physiology of birth, nutrition and exercise, evidence-based pros and cons of interventions, making sure you have the right caregiver, and more! It is the only hypnosis for childbirth method that meets the requirements of DONA International for DONA doulas to observe for their certification.
  • Hypnobabies not only teaches women how to relax, it also teaches them to enter a relaxed state at will, using a self-hypnosis technique called the "finger drop." This relaxation response is embedded in her subconscious through practice and post-hypnotic suggestion.
  • The same relaxation response can also be activated by the mother's birth partner, doula, or maternity provider, with the "release" and "relax" cues, empowering them to help her better make use of her training.
  • Hypnobabies helps women look forward to birth by releasing fear and learning to expect the birth to be an experience that can be enjoyed, undoing all of the negative ideas about birth they may have absorbed through the media and stories told by others.
  • Hypnobabies teaches women that birth is a powerful and intense thing happening in their bodies, and helps them embrace that power instead of trying to run away from it.
  • Hypnobabies teaches women how to have more comfortable childbirths, both by interpreting the sensations of birth as "pressure" or "tightening" AND by learning to increase and direct their bodies' endorphins with Hypno-anesthesia, using the "peace" cue.
  • Hypnobabies encourages mobility during labor, which helps with positioning and descent (and may be a comfort measure if other techniques aren't working as the mother would like) and teaches a technique that allows them to use their relaxation and Hypno-anesthesia while upright or moving, called "eyes open childbirth hypnosis"
  • Hypnobabies offers a large assortment of materials for women to practice with during pregnancy, allowing them to practice daily without getting tired of listening to the same few CD tracks over and over.
  • Hypnobabies teaches about optimal fetal positioning and techniques to relieve back labor.
  • Hypnobabies gives women a wide variety of tools to pick from to use during their births--moving while using eyes-open childbirth hypnosis, going "off" and relaxing completely, listening to their CDs, having a birth partner read mini-scripts, using cues (relax, release, and peace), vocalizing, visualizing their "special place," chanting mantras from the scripts ("open, open, open"), or counting down from 5-1 (which also activates automatic relaxation). Women have the freedom to use as many or as few of these tools that feel right to them at different points during their births, and may integrate them with their own unique strategies.
  • Hypnobabies teaches instinctive mother-directed pushing (referred to as "gentle ahhh pushing") and encourages women to use upright pushing positions and listen for their bodies to tell them when and how to push.
  • For those for whom the wonderful Hypnobabies live course is not an option, Hypnobabies offers a homestudy course, the content of which is based on their live course and significantly more in-depth than any other hypnosis for childbirth self-study option available.
For more information,

Thursday, May 19, 2011

Becoming the Mother God Wants Me to Be

Lanfant Mother and children
Mother and three children, By François Louis Lanfant, dit Lanfant de Metz (1814–1892) ( [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons

I have had some challenging times in the past few weeks since I found out I am pregnant. I have been lucky to not have morning sickness, which I know is a huge blessing. At the time I found out, I was nursing a 13 month old, basically still on demand (have been working on cutting him back a little), and I think nursing has really contributed to the first trimester fatigue, which has, at times, been overwhelming. I feel like if I'm having this hard of a time taking care of two kids while pregnant, how am I ever going to take care of thee kids? I've also been moodier this pregnancy than in my previous ones. I feel like I'm not even the same person anymore, like my body gets taken over by a really mean person, and I am not being the mother I want to be.

I am constantly reminded that I can't do this alone. I have thought a lot about this verse:
There hath no temptation taken you but such as is common to man: but God is faithful, who will not suffer you to be tempted above that ye are able; but will with the temptation also make a way to escape, that ye may be able to bear it. (1 Corinthians 10:13)
I feel that God wants me to have this baby, so He will also provide a way to make me stronger so that I can handle the challenges of this pregnancy and adjusting to a new baby. In the April 2011 General Conference (which I found out I was pregnant the day before), I was very affected by the words by the talk What Manner of Men and Women Ought Ye to Be? by Lynn G. Robbins. He discusses how parenting provides opportunities for parents to teach their children Christlike attributes and for parents to develop their own Christlike qualities. I want to read this talk over and over again because this is the kind of parent I want to be. So much of it applies to me, but I want to share this quote:
A sweet and obedient child will enroll a father or mother only in Parenting 101. If you are blessed with a child who tests your patience to the nth degree, you will be enrolled in Parenting 505. Rather than wonder what you might have done wrong in the premortal life to be so deserving, you might consider the more challenging child a blessing and opportunity to become more godlike yourself. With which child will your patience, long-suffering, and other Christlike virtues most likely be tested, developed, and refined? Could it be possible that you need this child as much as this child needs you?
Although my current situation is not about struggles with one of my children's personalities, it helps me to remember that my goal is to become a more Christlike parent. I believe that the Lord has lessons to teach me, and this pregnancy is an opportunity for him to help me learn to have more patience, self-control, and love as a parent, not only when it is easy to do so, but also when it is very, very hard. If I am paying attention to His lessons, I hope that all my experiences in parenting, especially the challenging ones, will help me become the kind of woman and mother He wants me to be.

Saturday, May 14, 2011

"Another Bun in the Oven": My Big Announcement!

Yep, I'm pregnant! Baby #3 is due in December.

In March, we felt that the Lord wanted us to open ourselves up to having our next baby, and we decided to stop preventing. On April Fools Day, I took one of the new super-sensitive pregnancy tests that is supposed to be able to detect pregnancy as early as six days before your missed period (that is only 8 days after ovulation!). I figured I was about 10-12 days past ovulation at this point (wasn't keeping very careful track of my fertility signs that cycle, so I only knew a 3 day range of when ovulation probably occurred). At first, I thought the test was negative, but then, it appeared,--a very faint second line! Considering the day it was, I decided not to tell anyone else that day because I didn't want anyone to think it was a joke. I also wanted to confirm with another test and that was my last one (I'd taken some the cycle before because my luteal phase was suddenly not short anymore that cycle), so I bought a digital test that day to take the next morning (which came back as an unmistakeable "pregnant."). I wanted to tell my husband in a fun way, since I had never done anything fun to tell him the two previous times. I looked up some ideas online, and I found one I really liked...

I had mentioned to my husband that I wanted to try to make cinnamon rolls sometime. That weekend was the LDS General Conference, and since we have satellite, we planned to stay in all weekend and watch the conference on TV. My husband grew up in Utah, where conference is broadcast locally, and in his family, the tradition was to cook good food that whole weekend.

I decided it was the perfect time to try to make some cinnamon rolls, and I could use them as a way to tell my husband the big news. I found Alton Brown's cinnamon rolls recipe (I love his show on the Food Network, and although a lot of times his way of cooking is "the long way" it is also usually "the good way"), and I started the dough on Friday afternoon.

On Saturday morning, after the rolls were risen, I put them in to bake during one of the choir's songs. I sat down next to my husband on the couch and announced,
"The buns are in the oven!"

He gave me a questioning look.

I pulled two positive pregnancy tests out of my pocket as I said, "And they're not the only buns in the oven!"

My husband was so excited and thought my way of telling him was very clever. I had fun with it. My husband loved the cinnamon rolls. I don't really like cinnamon rolls that much--the frosting is too sweet for me, but they were good for what they were.

I didn't take a picture, but here is a picture I found that looks a lot like my "buns in the oven" when I put them in:
Om nom nom nom
Image uploaded By Stacy (originally posted to Flickr as om nom nom) [CC-BY-2.0], via Wikimedia Commons

Monday, May 9, 2011

MamAmor giveaway at Bellies and Babies

In honor of International Doula Month, Nicole at Bellies and Babies is giving away a MamAmor doll! MamAmor designs beautiful, handcrafted pregnancy, birthing, and breastfeeding dolls. The doll being given away is worth $145. If you win, you pay only the shipping to get her to you! Click here to enter the giveaway!

Sunday, May 8, 2011

Motherhood: It's the Little Things

A young mother of three spoke in church today for Mother's Day. She mentioned that life as a mother can be overwhelming sometimes, but it is important to recognize the little things that make it worth it. Here are some of my "little things"
  • Seeing my three-year-old daughter develop into a little artist. She can now draw "people" and "flowers."
  • Celebrating a successful trip to the potty.
  • Seeing my one-year-old son sign the word "more" for the first time.
  • Seeing my daughter gently nurture her baby dolls.
  • Hearing my daughter sing songs, including one I am pretty sure she made up, called, "Hurry Up and Put Your Shoes Back On."
  • Rocking my son to sleep.
  • Playing "long distance peek-a-boo" with my son, who likes to peek around doorways at people.
  • Building block towers with my three-year-old and watching my one-year-old joyfully knock them over.
  • Seeing the two of them laugh together.
  • Tender sibling moments like this one:

Wednesday, May 4, 2011

There's More to Back Labor than Fetal Positioning! (Review of "Back Labor No More")

I recently read the book Back Labor No More by Janie McCoy King as part of the required reading for the Hypnobabies Instructor training. I didn't need any more reasons that Hypnobabies is the right childbirth education method for me to teach, but the inclusion of this obscure-but-downright-amazing book in the training requirements is another one. I have never seen this information anywhere else (in my 3+ years of reading books and websites on natural childbirth) or heard of any other childbirth education method teaching it.

Most people with a basic education in natural childbirth know that having a baby in the Occiput Posterior ("sunny side up"--facing the mother's pubic bone instead of her spine) position can cause back labor. I've never had back labor, but I've heard it can be excruciating. You hear a lot about optimal fetal positioning in the natural childbirth community, and if the techniques on the Spinning Babies Site work to get your baby in a better position, that is great for you. However, some babies will stay posterior no matter what, and, what's more...

Not all back labor is caused by the baby's position

Some women will have back labor even with a perfectly positioned baby. I have two good friends who both have had intense back labor despite having anterior babies. Back Labor No More explains that women may experience back labor if they have:
  • A "short rise" (short torso)
  • A swayed back (tends to stand with knees locked and pelvis tilted so that her rear-end sticks out)
  • pelvic abnormality
  • back injury
The author, Ms. King, has a short rise herself, and experienced painful back labor during her first three births. At the admonition of her father, King had majored in math in college. In her book, she applies her mathematical understanding of vectors to the process of childbirth. The book, which is short, fun, and easy-to-read, explains the concepts in ways that are easy to understand and internalize, with lots of drawings and activities that involve learning with your whole body. If you really want to be able to use the technique, you really need a good understanding of why it works, and to really understand, you will have to read the book.

A simplified explanation is that, in back labor, the force of the contraction (the vector) is directed at the woman's spine. You can solve this problem by changing the direction of the vector, which is done using a relatively simple technique called the belly lift. King is not the first to use this technique and have it work, but she is the first to explain why it works. Vectors. Read the book. You'll get it.

Misty used Hypnobabies and the belly lift to have an easier birth with her posterior baby. This video was uploaded two years ago. In the comments section, Missy explains that she had a wonderful experience using hypnosis with her third baby (anterior), but then her fourth baby was posterior, and she found that hypnosis didn't help as much with the back labor as she wanted. After that birth she found out about the belly lift, and used it for the birth of her fifth baby, from which this footage comes.

This technique is not only reported to get rid of the back pain (though apparently it may have to get worse before it gets better), it also sometimes speeds dilation significantly. It has also been reported to help women have faster births who don't have back labor. I believe this may have been the case in the video below, which I saw on Bellies and Babies, who posted it because she liked the way it was edited, with the music, narration, and combination of still shots and video footage. In it, Jodi explains that her midwife recommended the belly lift to her because of her posture (possibly she was sway-backed?), and it shows her husband helping her with the lift.

I'm serious when I say that Back Labor No More is a must-read for all doulas, childbirth educators, doctors, midwives, maternity nurses, and pregnant women, especially pregnant women who have had back labor before, think that one of the categories above may describe them, or have a baby who tends to hang out in the posterior position (or the right occiput transverse position, since these often rotate to posterior). Although you won't find this book in your bookstore or local library, the information makes it worth ordering. It is very easy to pay for it through PayPal on the author's website, and if you are paying with a credit card, you don't even need a PayPal account. You can also order it through Amazon.