Tuesday, March 31, 2009

An unplanned HypnoBirth of a midwife

From another HypnoBirthing instructor in Singapore:
I met Sarah at NUH when I was invited to speak at the O&G Nurses conference. Sarah is a midwife in the labour ward and was in charge of organising the speakers.
She loved the concept of HypnoBirthing and registered in December for the March sessions. She and her hubby have been pleasantly surprised with the class and have taken to it like ducks to water.
She left a message today to call her and she would not be making the class (class 4 of 5). When I called back, she said she gave birth last night at 36+ weeks.
About 7:30 last night she noticed she was leaking a bit of fluid and was not quite sure if it was amniotic fluid or not. At 8:30 her surges started at 5 minutes apart and quickly went to 2-3 minutes apart. She called for her husband to come home and her mother to come for her 3 year old. At 9:15 she was calmly directing her helper to grab towels to bring to the couch in the living room andher mom arrived just in time to wrap the baby! She had a one hour labour!!
She was over the moon with the birth and full of praises for HypnoBirthing. She said she remained calm throughout her unplanned homebirth and directed everyone as to what needed to be done. She received her baby into her own loving hands =). Her baby girl was 2.6kg.

Di Bustamante, CH, HBCE, CD (CBI)
Singapore in affiliation with the HypnoBirthing Institute

Monday, March 23, 2009

Preserving the Intimacy of Birth

Preserving the Intimacy of Birth~One Doula's View
(This article came across my desk. It was written a few years ago by a HypnoBirthing Doula, who has become a Licensed Midwife. I think it gives a wonderful overview of what a doula's role can be in a woman's birth experience.)

Birth is the most quintessentially feminine an experience that has ever been. The power of the body meets the power of the mind in a spectacular explosion of the perfection of nature. These are the moments when a woman is only who she is. There is no pretending and there is no running. There is only being. The person that most women choose to share this experience with is her husband or partner. Although he cannot fully feel the internal workings of the harmony of his partner's body, a birthing father moves through his own kind of awakening and rebirth. Woman becomes mother and man becomes father and for just a moment the realization is made that this child is a product of their work together.
As a Labor Companion, or Doula, I have often been privy to this renaissance moment. It has caused me to silently cry for the beauty of it all and to look away to preserve the peace of this sacred time between a mother and father who have just come to be so. As witnesses to such a special occasion, we as Doulas must realize that a birth experience is the complete and total property of the birthing parents. Whether or not we agree with where or with whom our clients are birthing is not an issue. Our job, much like parents ourselves, is to educate, guide,and support the laboring family.
My only birth experiences were bearing my own children. The births I attend are someone else's experience that I am invited to assist in. In the initial interview with a prospective couple, it should be explained first and foremost that as a Doula, we should not be holding the mother's hand or stroking her hair. A Doula is not the person she wants to stare at for hours. Her husband should be that person, and if he chooses not to involve himself in the birth he will do his partner and his child a grave disservice, not to mention his own personal regret for having missed such an incredible opportunity.
It is widely understood that the word "Doula" is a Greek word for "slave." Personally, I reject the notion that a Doula is the slave of the laboring mother. Doulas are not held in bondage and forced to experience the beauty of birth. We choose this work because we are called to it. We simply cannot imagine ever not being a part of birth. Doulas, in my opinion, should act as trained background. Drinks magically appear between every uterine surge. The vomit basin makes it to mom just in time. Cool washcloths are in ample supply and always fresh and nobody has to ask. If she's uncomfortable, position changes are offered and facilitated. When interventions are suggested, the birthing parents can make an informed decision because they have a Doula on their side. My point is that while we, as Labor Companions, are handling the details of a positive birthing experience, a partner can simply be a partner.
Our society took Dads from the waiting room where they had no part of the birth and put them in the labor room with the entire weight of the birth experience on their shoulders. A Doula can remove that weight and simply allow a husband to experience the beauty and intimacy of his birth into fatherhood.
It is amazing to me how much information a laboring father can absorb. This year, I have taken to instructing dads during the birth on how to support his wife, rather than doing it myself. It's so easy to say "rub her right here" and to step away into the shadows to preserve the birth of the family. I can keep the cool washcloths in his hands so that Dad is the person placing them on his wife's forehead. When her husband saves the day by helping mom get into a squatting position after I've whispered in his ear that she might be more comfortable that way, my satisfaction is their gentle embrace. If you watch closely during labor and birth, you will see mother and father, husband and wife, man and woman, fall in love in a way entirely new to them. In this intensely emotional time, a woman sees her partner exhibit a kind of quiet tenderness that she has in all likelihood never before seen. In that same instant, she shows her partner a graceful strength and steely courage that he never knew she possessed.
When we step over the line and assume the role of the birth partner, that moment is missed. It is not merely the moment when a slippery baby emerges from his mother, but it lasts throughout the birthing process. I remember these moments vividly from my most recent birth, which was our third child but our first birth with a Doula. My husband lay next to me in bed for hours, rocking on his hands and knees with me during the surges and collapsing with me in between. My Doula was there but I never saw her. I always had a fresh drink and my back was always rubbed and my needs were met, but I never had the overwhelming presence of anyone but my husband and I am forever thankful for the preservation of our intimate moments.
In conclusion, I feel that as Doulas our jobs are not merely to assist the birthing mother. We must protect the sanctity and intimacy of the experience of the birthing family, while not taking on the event as our own. The new parents should come away from their experience with a sense of confidence and empowerment that they worked perfectly together to bring a peaceful baby into the world. They should never be left feeling that they couldn't have done it without their Doula. We all know they could have, and we're ever so lucky to be allowed to participate. We simply provide the direction and quiet support to breathe courage into the labor room.

By Heather Hilton
HypnoBirthing Childbirth Educator & Birth Doula since 2001
Student Midwife (now a Licensed Homebirth Midwife)
Austin, Texas USA

Thanks for letting me share this, Heather!


Friday, March 13, 2009

Carcinogens found in baby toiletries

These not added ingredients to be found on the label, rather they're coming from the processing & are hidden dangers. Of note--Johnson & Johnson Baby Shampoo/Wash is what most hospitals are bathing babies with, so if you are concerned, you can opt not to bathe your baby (it's not dirty!), just have your baby rinsed off or bring your own baby products.

I highly recommend Miessence Certified Organic products because they are certified organic to food grade levels by the USDA & because they are cold-pressed & cold-extracted, which means they don't need chemicals to get the ingredient out of the source. One way to make Miessence products more affordable is to buy foaming soap dispensers (ebay is a good source) & then use the Sunflower Body Wash or shampoos for your family...you'll save a lot of money that way. Go to my website at www.AWellLivedLife.Net to learn more about Miessence products.

Probable Carcinogens Found in Baby Toiletries
By Lyndsey Layton
Washington Post
Staff Writer
Friday, March 13, 2009

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, the organization said yesterday. Some of the biggest names on the market, including Johnson & Johnson Baby Shampoo and Baby Magic lotion, tested positive for 1,4-dioxane or formaldehyde, or both, the nonprofit Campaign for Safe Cosmetics reported.

The chemicals, which the Environmental Protection Agency has characterized as probable carcinogens, are not intentionally added to the products and are not listed among ingredients on labels. Instead, they appear to be byproducts of the manufacturing process. Formaldehyde is created when other chemicals in the product break down over time, while 1,4-dioxane is formed when foaming agents are combined with ethylene oxide or similar petrochemicals. The organization tested 48 baby bath products such as bubble bath and shampoo. Of those, 32 contained trace amounts of 1,4-dioxane and 23 contained small amounts of formaldehyde. Seventeen tested positive for both chemicals.

"Our intention is not to alarm parents, but to inform parents that products that claim to be gentle and pure are contaminated with carcinogens, which is completely unnecessary," said Stacy Malkan, a spokeswoman for the Campaign for Safe Cosmetics, which is calling for the government to more strictly regulate personal care products such as shampoo, lotion and makeup. Companies that manufacture and sell the products tested by the group stressed that they comply with government standards. "The FDA and other government agencies around the world consider these trace levels safe, and all our products meet or exceed the regulatory requirements in every country where they are sold," Johnson & Johnson said in a statement. "We are disappointed that the Campaign for Safe Cosmetics has inaccurately characterized the safety of our products, misrepresented the overwhelming consensus of scientists and government agencies that review the safety of ingredients, and unnecessarily alarmed parents."

The European Union has banned 1,4-dioxane as an ingredient in personal care products, but the Food and Drug Administration has not established a safe limit for the chemical in shampoo, lotion and other toiletries. It maintains that the trace amounts found in those products are not harmful. A 1982 study by the FDA showed that 1,4-dioxane can penetrate human skin when used in lotion. Health advocates argue, however, that federal regulators have not considered the cumulative effect of chemicals in personal care products.

"The levels we've found are relatively low, and the industry often says there's just a little bit of carcinogen in my product," Malkan said. "The problem is, we're finding a little bit of carcinogen in many products. Many of these products are used every day, so we've got repeated and frequent exposure to these low levels of chemicals. They're not the safest and purest products, and parents ought to know that."

In addition, government studies have not examined the effect of chemical exposure on the particular vulnerabilities of infants and children, whose bodies are still developing, the advocates said. Several Democratic lawmakers said the report is evidence that the nation's chemical regulation system needs to be changed.

"The fact that we are bathing our kids in products contaminated with carcinogens shows how woefully out of date our cosmetics laws are and how urgently they need to be updated," said Rep. Jan Schakowsky (Ill.). "The science has moved forward; now the FDA needs to catch up and be given the authority to protect the health of Americans." Sen. Dianne Feinstein (Calif.) called the findings "horrifying" and said she intends to introduce legislation that would require stronger oversight of the cosmetics industry.

The report can be found at http://www.safecosmetics.org/toxictub.

Tuesday, March 10, 2009

Another class testimonial & birth story

Tina & Robert took my class as a refresher course. They had done HypnoBirthing (with another local practitioner) for their 1st child & had a wonderful experience but wanted to retake the class with a different practitioner to ensure birth #2 would be even better. Here is their story:

Aili Linnea decided it was time to come into the world while I was playing cards with my family. I was sitting on a birth ball playing a card game and at 8:45 pm I noticed a surge with more umpf to it than my normal Braxton Hick’s/practice surges. I made a mental note of it and kept playing. During the time sitting on the ball the surges were about 10 minutes apart and very manageable with breathing. I felt some pressure in my cervix, because my bag of water was bulging (coming out in front of her head) but that was the only discomfort I felt. I kept thinking, maybe this is it, but since they were only 10 minutes apart, I figured we had a while.

At 10:19 pm I went into the bedroom to lie down. I had a surge, vomited, had several more surges, then I started to feel shaky, so I went into the bathtub to warm up. While in the bathtub I felt urges to push, so my husband Robert called my midwife Jude to make sure she could be there by the time we arrived. We only live 4 minutes from the Best Start Birth Center, so that was important! We relaxed at the house a little longer and put all of our stuff to take into the car. My family was staying with us, so they were a little nervous, but when I came out of the room, everyone was wondering if I was really in labor or not. The whole time at home it felt very surreal. I didn’t feel like I was in labor, but my body was telling me different. I had no pain and my mind was relaxed. I felt very confident.

We arrived at the Birth Center sometime around 11:15 pm. I was examined and was dilated to 7 cm. They admitted me and we relaxed in the room while Jude prepared to deliver the baby. We planned to release my water if my bag was bulging, so at 11:50 pm, we did that. Immediately I was prepared to give birth. The pressure was gone, and I felt like I could do anything. Surges were unimportant then. I went into the bathtub to prepare for a water birth and felt urges to push.

I started to breathe the baby down (HypnoBirthing pushing), but felt there was something wrong. Since this was my second natural birth, I knew what was supposed to happen. (With my first birth, once my water was broken, it took 20 minutes to progress from a 6cm-birth.) I was at 10 cm for 10-15 minutes and decided to get out of the tub and try different positions to get the baby to move down. I still felt very calm, but a little irritated that it wasn’t going just so.

After about 20 minutes of trying different positions her head finally came out. While her head was out, my midwife Jude had me do several other positions. The baby had a compounded nucal hand—which means her left arm was above her face reaching to her right side. This made it almost impossible to get her out. I had to do some hard pushing, but I still felt controlled and calm. After almost 2 minutes with her head out Jude tried to pull her hand out manually, but we had used castor oil to lubricate my perineum, so she couldn’t get a good grip.

Finally it worked, and as soon as her arm was out of the way, she popped right out. 4 hours from start to finish. She was a little purple, and her capillaries burst on her face, but she was pretty much perfect. We had to give her a little oxygen to make sure she was ok, but in hindsight I don’t think she needed it. She just doesn’t cry when she is awake! She was born 1 week and 1 day late at 12:50 am on December 23rd. She was 8 lbs 9 oz and 21 inches long. Her head was 14 inches around.

It was a fantastic birth without fear or pain. The entire time I was wide awake. We even laughed because in between surges I was wondering what everyone at home was doing. I know that my HypnoBirthing class with Carol Yeh-Garner was essential in my awesome birth. We have taken Hypnobirthing from 2 different practitioners in San Diego and Carol Yeh-Garner is by far superior. Her class gave us the tools necessary for our 2nd birth and also how and when to use them properly during labor. We left her class so ready to have a baby--as long as we do our part and practice! The techniques taught were not different, but the emphasis put on each one and the practical usage of it really made a difference in Carol's class! We recommend Carol to all mothers and fathers who want to have an educated natural birth. Also, my midwife Jude, I couldn’t have asked for a better midwife. She trusted me and helped me to do what I need to do to not have interventions. Best Start Birth Center is the only place I want to have my babies. Both of my children were born there, and even in the same room!

Aili is now 11 weeks old, and still an angel. She sleeps well, eats well and is the happiest baby ever when she is awake.

Thanks to Tina, Robert & baby Aili for sharing your story! Continue to enjoy your babymoon!


Sunday, March 1, 2009

An 11 lb baby's HypnoBirthing story

This is another birth story from a former class member. She had an 11 lb 4 oz baby completely naturally without any medical interventions! It really pays to have the knowledge of HypnoBirthing combined with an excellent team.

Here's Sean's birth story:

The birth of my son Sean was the most amazing and empowering experience. I went into labor at about 8:30pm on Friday night (I was probably in labor before that but just so calm about it that I didn't notice). I believe our doula arrived at our house around 10pm that evening, and I arrived at the UCSD Hospital (specifically their Birth Center) at 11:30pm that evening and was 4cm dilated. I immediately wanted to use the tub when I arrived at the Birth Center. While the tub was being filled, I found an amazing amount ofc omfort in using their shower - my husband operated the shower head spraying my back and stomach. I thought we were in there for about 20 minutes, but my husband and doula recall being in the shower for at least 1 1/2 hours - amazing how time slips while in labor.
We discovered that my son was also behind my pelvic bone which created a lot of discomfort in my back, so I was instructed to do some lunge-like exercises during the "surges. I used the tub when it was ready, and found that I was able to easily relax in the tub between surges. During surges I would kneel in the tub and hold onto my husband for comfort. I was surprised by the amount of pressure I felt during the surges.
I felt the need to push at about 3:30am on Saturday morning which was four hours after we arrived at the Birth Center. I tried various positions, including standing, squatting and side lying. I was resistant to pushing on my back, but found that was actually the most comfortable and effective.
I "purple pushed" to get him through the birth canal, but when it came time to get his head out, I used birth breathing. I was told that I exhibited a great amount of control during that time. It was of course important to be in control to protect my perineum. Although I had a second degree laceration, I believe had I not done the birth breathing, it could have been a lot worse.
Looking back I can say it is ideal to be surrounded by supportive people. I feel very fortunate to have had the support of my husband, doula, nurse and midwife. Their continued encouragement was amazing.
Following the delivery, Sean was immediately taken to the NICU due to fluid in his lungs. Prior to being taken to the NICU, my doula insisted that I have the opportunity to see and hold him. He was placed next to me already swaddled (which is not what I had envisioned since I wanted skin-to-skin contact right away). Although he was crying when he was placed next to me, he stopped crying when I started talking to him - I am sure it was due to hearing a familiar sound among the chaos. That was probably the most incredible moment of my life. He was so beautiful.
It wasn't until Sean was in the NICU that I learned he weighed 11 pounds 4 ounces. They initially measured him as 21.5 inches, but my husband asked that he be re-measured since he seemed a lot longer. His true measurement was 23 inches.
I was so amazed that I gave birth to an 11 pound baby without intervention. We were the talk of the hospital! From the moment Sean was born, he has been incredibly calm and interactive. A true joy and pleasure to have in our lives.
I think the best lesson I learned is that it is important to have a vision of the labor and to surround yourself with people who support that vision. I was met with a lot of skepticism when I decided I wanted to have a drug free birth. My OB at the time also seemed skeptical of this decision. Because of that, I decided to go on a search for a new OB/midwife at 30 weeks of pregnancy, which was extremely stressful. I truly believe had I stayed with my original OB, I would have been pressured to give birth by c-section since he was a larger baby and he was initially behind my pelvic bone. Additionally, I think it is important to also be flexible because the labor, delivery and/or postpartum period may take some unexpected turns.
Please feel free to share this as it will hopefully give those people who want to have a drug free birth the knowledge that it is a great experience, even if others question the decision.

More background info:
When we first went to your class we were at Scripps La Jolla and in search of a new OB. We met with an OB, but she induced with Cytotec, so I wasn’t the biggest fan), another two doctors who I can’t remember, and then Rebecca Lesser (CNM) at UCSD. I definitely appreciated the approach in the birth center there. I can say they were so incredibly supportive, not only during the birth, but afterwards as well.
My doula was Leigh Fenly (link to her website: http://www.tranquilityinbirth.com/About/About.html). I would highly recommend her. She didn’t have experience with hypnobirthing, but went out and bought the book. She was very, very comforting and reassuring through the entire labor and postpartum period.
Please feel free to post in your yahoo group and on your blog. I want people to know that even a large baby can be delivered without intervention.
Thank you for all of your knowledge and support as well!

Congratulations Lauren & Jesse! Enjoy your babymoon!