Monday, July 14, 2008

A Father

I spoke in church on Father's Day. I talked about my experience with fathers - my own and my husband. When I look back on my father so many things come to mind. Different emotions, different memories... I had a lot to speak about. I was a tiny bit mad at my husband that weekend ;) and I only had about a day to actually write the talk. Nothing seemed to be going right. I finally just wrote a bunch of memories that seemed to flow to me about my own dad. I had some ideas of what I wanted to say about my husband but I felt like when I went to give the talk that it didn't come out right. It didn't seem to really present my idea of my husband as a father. I've been thinking about this for a few weeks and I did have some distinct impressions about things I wanted to say about my husband but I got emotional and tongue tied and I was brief - also because they surrounded birth and I didn't want to offend anyone. You say natural birth, or home birth, and people draw their defenses around them. Maybe roll their eyes. You know. I've thought about it though and realized a way I could have presented it and now I'm a little bit sad I didn't take that opportunity. That I didn't try to humble myself and forgive my husband that weekend so that I was thinking happy thoughts about him, instead of just having this confusion hovering. So. Here is what I wish I would have said about him.

As my thoughts about my own father have changed over the years, I expect my thoughts of my husband's role as a father to change also. I expect this and I see how the difference in how he treats the kids as they mature, the difference between boys and girls, babies and 9 year olds, public and private. Sometimes he's a strong father, sometimes he's the funny dad. Sometimes he tries to be the authoritarian, sometimes he's patient and kind. When I think of my own father I smell fresh wood and sweat and think of long talks, certain music, warm and comfortable. When I think of my husband, I always think of a certain experience, whether I think of him as father, friend, or lover. It's an all encompassing feeling and stronger than any emotion or experience I've EVER had. We have had 4 babies. He has held me through 2 of those labors. He worked with me. I know how strenuous it can be to support a woman during labor. He didn't back down. He used all his strength. He was there with his hands on my back, whispering to me, wiping my forehead, giving me drinks, and touching me. We were truly one. As our third baby was born my husband took him into his hands and unwrapped him from a tangled cord. He helped bring him into this world; together we were the first hands to touch our boy. We sat, snuggled together, a new quiet family. I got up after a while and went to clean up. My husband sat on the floor with our baby in a soft warm towel pressed to his chest. I watched him snuggle that baby, in the dim light of an early winter morning. With tears in his eyes he whispered to our new son. They were glowing. Even in pictures taken of that morning they were glowing. This is who my husband is as a father. He is a strong nurturer. He starts out with faith in my body and a natural process. He has knowledge to be involved in that journey and strength to help me through the difficult parts. He was gentle and calm, welcoming this new baby into our home. He was tender, taking care of me so sweetly after the births of our home born babies. The level of responsibility and involvement a homebirth takes really developed these features in my husband and made him SUCH a strong protector and provider in his expectations that our family have something better.

Birth Story

I have attended a few Mother's Blessing ceremonies during this past week. They have been SO nice. Can I say that they sure beat out your typical baby shower?! They are such joyous loving occasions! I was privileged to have had two of them. My friends are awesome! I'd like to write more about them specifically another time, but I really wanted to share a poem that I love. I pulled this out to give to my friends this week. I've found it a couple of places on other blogs and it's just beautiful.

Birth Story

(I'm drowning)

And the midwife holds me in her arms and says
Yes, it's hard, isn't it? You're doing so well!
(I'm surfacing)
And she says you're doing it exactly right
(And I'm drowning)
And she says you're taking such good care of your baby
(And I'm surfacing)
And she says yes this is how it is, you'll live, you're good and strong
(And I'm drowning)
And she says, good, good, that's good!
(and I'm surfacing)
And part of me says damn you, I'm dying here!
(And I'm drowning)
And part of me says, Oh God, I am doing this, aren't I?
(And I'm surfacing)
And part of me says leave me alone save me help me
(And I'm drowning)
And part of me says this is the most incredible thing I've ever done
I can't believe I'm actually doing this yes yes yes
(And I'm surfacing)

And the baby comes in a long, sea salt waterfall flood ocean of sweat and tears and birth waters and blood and I take her slippery warm wide-eyed amazed and knowing little self against my created~and~moved~the~universe warm and billowy belly and tell her she's wonderful and safe. And I follow her with a red and glorious afterbirth.

And I think "I did it. I am totally incredible!! We want some prizes and news coverage in here." Did you see that? Was that great or what?!?!?”

(And the Doctor writes:
32 year old gravida II Para I presents in active labor. Normal, spontaneous vaginal delivery of a viable female LOA over intact perineum. Apgars 9 & 10.
Uneventful delivery.........)

~ by Barbara Kozlowski, CNM

Wednesday, May 28, 2008

Hello again

Hello internet and my poor neglected blog.

Life has been loaded lately. I was just put in the primary presidency so that's been taking a chunk of time. Also finishing up the (home)schooling year and getting ready for next. Meeting with clients. I have a couple of births lined up for this summer and I'm excited to attend a mom that is a repeat client :) I've also been trying to get exhibitors signed up for our baby fair this fall. It should be great!

We headed out to California. Back home. It was great! We had such a good time and the kids were wonderful and they had so much fun. I LOVE watching the kids enjoy themselves. We hit up Legoland and they were all so cute. I could hardly stand it. My boys loved Sea World. Even the baby watched Shamu. His favorite was the beach though. It made me sad to think that my kids won't grow up around the ocean. It was so nice to live so close to it growing up and have it be a normal, regular part of life. I feel like my kids are lacking. A lake is just not the same.

We're heading out on another little trip to Mount Rushmore. I'm really looking forward to getting away again! This is a big family trip so my parents, brother, and my sister and her family are also going. I'm sure the cousins are going to have a blast together!

Little Baby E will be 11 months next week. He's walking all over the place now. He's our latest walker. Our first baby was 10 months, next 9 months, next 8.5 months. E's been walking for a couple weeks but is just now getting confident about it and choosing to use it as his mode of transportation. Now when he has to crawl he does his little stinkbug crawl.

When I was pregnant with E there were a couple months when we suspected twins. When we were able to get in for an ultrasound and it showed just one BIG baby I was disappointed. I had all these hopes built up and I felt like I lost something. I figured I could always have another baby, but after the birth I couldn't even think of doing that again. After my other homebirthed babies were born I almost immediately looked forward to giving birth again. Not this time. It's been almost 11 months and I still shudder to think of contractions and pushing and the immediate postpartum period. Until the other day. I've seen so many brand new babies in the past 11 months but the other day I saw a man snuggling his new baby and it just sent shivers through me. All of a sudden it was like a weight was lifted as the chills ran up my spine and immediately the air was cleared of all those painful physical memories of his birth. Maybe not cleared - but more like those misty walls went up so I could think about the positive physical sensations instead of the negative. I finally feel like I have the strength and desire to do that again. And I want another baby girl so so so badly. I could definitely do more boys and I think I could try a couple more times to get that girl, but at least I know now that I can do it again and it will be ok. Do we assign too much meaning to this? Analyze it too much? Dream about it too much? Is it crazy to plan a birth that is years in the future? Whatever - I'm doing it. :) I'm content to hope that in a couple years I'll have another sweet baby.

Friday, March 14, 2008

Why it matters

If you haven't seen the movie The Business of Being Born I highly recommend it. If you visit the link you can watch a trailer of the movie. If you're a netflix member you can go there and rent it or view it online.

I've read all kinds of different reviews all over the internet. We had a screening of it here and it was so neat. I especially loved the part when Marsden Wagner said that if you want to have a normal birth, you had better get the hell out of the hospital. Everyone cheered.

I don't think that birth belongs in hospitals. What I see as ideal is homebirth as a choice for everyone. For the women who do not choose it they should have a birthing center to go to. It should be specialized. It's not an illness and hospitals are dirty places where people go who need medical help. I am also increasingly frustrated with how women are treated. And this is normal. Women expect it and don't question it because it's just how it is.

What is normal birth? It's what nature, evolution, God, intended. It's how our bodies were created to function. It's what is best for our bodies; emotionally and physically. Lamaze has adopted the World Health Organizations standards of care to promote normal birth. They have six care practices that promote the gold standard and are based on evidence and research. Imagine that! I really need to find this article again, but I believe it was in a national newspaper (I'm thinking Wall Street Journal or New York Times). It was an editorial and the author talked about how in all branches of medicine if they find things that work well - they do them, and if they find things that don't work well (harm, kill, or have too much risk to patients) then they don't do them anymore. The author mentioned that obstetrics is the laughing stock of the medical community because they do not follow evidence based research. It's alarming that our bodies are being put on the chopping block because of convenience for someone else. It's time for us to own our bodies, and our births.

These six care practices are
*Labor should begin on it's own. Your body and your baby will work together and when it is time you will go into labor. There are so many incredible risks to induction that it's disgusting that these methods are used in upwards of 75% of births in the US. I've heard a few women say lately that they just don't go into labor naturally. If labor is so broken, if birth is so dangerous, if our bodies really fail us that much - WHY is the human species thriving? Birth works, and it's not an accident how it works.
*Freedom of movement throughout labor. If you have had a baby, specifically in a hospital, where did you end up spending most of your time? I was in bed, tied to an IV, a blood pressure cuff, a contraction monitor, and an electronic fetal monitor. Later an epidural catheter in my back. Even before the epidural moving about was not a choice. I had no idea it would be easier, beneficial to me and my baby.
*Continuous labor support. Was your nurse or midwife rubbing your back? Massaging your feet? Telling you that you were wonderful? Supporting you, inspiring you, helping you, serving you? Most nurses are sitting at the nurse station in front of a computer watching 4 laboring moms at a time on their monitor. It's true that you may get a superb care provider who does stay with you continually and keep your best interests at heart. They are few and far between but they are brilliant people.
*No routine interventions during labor and birth. What exactly are these "interventions"? This is not a problem with mothers who have other issues in labor who may truly find these things necessary. This is a problem with the conveyor belt routine that all women who enter a hospital door are pushed through - without reason. These things are not beneficial and can actually be quite harmful. In a recent survey of women these were the findings:
Continuous electronic fetal monitoring (EFM)(93 percent)
Restrictions on eating (87 percent)
IV fluids (86 percent)
Restrictions on drinking (66 percent)
Episiotomy (35 percent)
Epidural anesthesia (63 percent)
Artificially ruptured membranes (55 percent)
Artificial oxytocin augmentation (53 percent)
Cesarean surgery (24 percent)
Just as an example we'll use the EFM. When this was introduced into the hospitals it had only one affect. It didn't save babies. It didn't help mothers. It significantly raised the cesarean rate. It has never shown any benefit, but only shown risk. And we have done it for decades while more and more women have been scarred from surgery and barred from having a future normal birth.
*Women should not give birth on their backs. I just read a wonderful blog post over at Rixa's and she has some great references. In the recent issue of Mothering magazine there is an article about a woman finding true info and acting on it and going on to leave her OB practice and birth at a birthing center. The midwife tells her in a tour that she can give birth any way she wants, except on her back because it's dangerous. Hallelujah! What a wonderful midwife. It is dangerous. It's also inefficient and painful. But it's easier for the doctor right? What are we paying these people for? 5 minutes of their time to come sit on a stool with a scalpel in hand in between your spread eagled legs? Is that worth thousands of dollars?
*No separation of mother and baby with unlimited opportunity for breastfeeding. Breastfeeding is one of my hot buttons. There really is no debate about what is best for you and your baby. Breastmilk is normal and created specifically for your baby. Formula is inferior and was created with a farmer's pocketbook in mind when he had all the waste product from his dairy production. With half of it made from high fructose corn syrup... The minutes after birth are so important for bonding. A mother and baby need continuous skin to skin contact. The bath can wait. Anything that needs to be done to the baby can be done with the baby on your chest.

We would save millions of dollars and have healthier and happier mothers and babies if we followed these suggestions from the World Health Organization. Unfortunately most hospitals in the
US don't. For convenience or litigation worries, it doesn't matter. Women and their babies matter. And why? We are building future generations and what happens when a baby is born will affect him and his mother for the rest of their lives.

I hate to feel like I'm shoving anything down someone's throat. I'm passionate about pregnancy and birth because we are hurting women and babies. I'm stamping my feet and shouting, "It's not fair!". It matters - it matters so much. These things they do to women are not normal, they are not safe, they do not benefit moms or babies. It says something about our society when we examine how we treat the delicate and innocent. Look what we do to them! We spend more money on maternity care - doing all this unnecessary stuff - and we have the worst outcomes for any developed nation for mothers and babies. We need to do something. Birth is not the means to an end - it is a beginning. And it is important.

Wednesday, February 20, 2008


Most branches of medicine use updated research and evidence based care. Right? If there's a new study involving heart disease and they find that something didn't work well they would typically stop doing it and maybe base their practice on modern research. Why can't obstetrician's do this? How many studies does it take to prove that electronic fetal monitoring is not beneficial to babies? What about episiotomies? We're living in the dark ages in regards to maternity care in the United States.

The latest pile of crap

"ACOG encourages all pregnant women to get prenatal care and to make a birth plan. The main goal should be a healthy and safe outcome for both mother and baby. Choosing to deliver a baby at home, however, is to place the process of giving birth over the goal of having a healthy baby. For women who choose a midwife to help deliver their baby, it is critical that they choose only ACNM-certified or AMCB-certified midwives that collaborate with a physician to deliver their baby in a hospital, hospital-based birthing center, or properly accredited freestanding birth center."

Let me just go throw up in my mouth a little. Because, you know - some surgeon out there knows ALL ABOUT having a normal birth. I love it because at the same time, the UK is saying otherwise.

The Royal College of Midwives (RCM) and the Royal College of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists (RCOG) support home birth for women with uncomplicated pregnancies. There is no reason why home birth should not be offered to women at low risk of complications and it may confer considerable benefits for them and their families. There is ample evidence showing that labouring at home increases a woman’s likelihood of a birth that is both satisfying and safe, with implications for her health and that of her baby."

ICAN (International Cesarean Awareness Network) has responded to ACOG's statement.

"Since VBAC is the biological normal outcome of a pregnancy after cesarean, ICAN encourages women to get all of the facts about vaginal birth and elective repeat cesarean before making a choice. This decision should not include weighing the choices of your doctor’s malpractice payments but only be a concern of the mother, her baby and their health and safety.

Since some mothers will make the choice to give birth outside of the hospital, we encourage the AABC to not cave into ACOG’s demands that all women give birth in a hospital facility with a surgical specialist, but instead allow women to make their own choices about care providers, birth settings and risk factors. ICAN respects the intelligence of modern women and accepts that the amount of information available about VBAC and elective cesarean should serve as informed consent."

Another thing that's really cute is this. "There are always risks associated with a surgical procedure," said Dr. Berenson. "It's important that women understand the potential risks of these procedures and that there is no scientific evidence regarding their benefits."

WOW! Did they really say that?! Is he talking about episiotomies? Ceserean sections? Nope. Vaginal Rejuvenation. Apparently it's unethical and risky to perform surgery when it's not necessary and potentially dangerous. Who would have thought. It would seem that would apply to a lot of things we do these days. Like maybe circumcision. Add to the previous the fact that we're performing an unethical and risky surgery on someone who hasn't consented. Fun!

One of the big issues here right now is midwifery legislation and the Utah Medical Association trying to outlaw homebirth. You can go here to read the text of the bill and listen to the floor debates. Go here to join the Utah Friends of Midwives yahoogroup and find out what you can do to help kill this bill and protect the freedom of parents to choose medical care for their families.

Tuesday, January 22, 2008

The Business of Being Born!

It's coming!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! This movie is a must see. Check out their website to see if it is playing near you. It will also be released directly to dvd through netflix so go add it! Their release date shows Feb 12 but I heard they announced at their Hollywood premier that they were pushing back the release date!

The Utah Birth Network is proud to present a special screening of

Friday February 8
Displays featuring local mother-friendly organizations and The Shape of a Mother open at 5pm
Movie begins at 6pm
Discussion panel to follow movie

Located at Weber State University (Rm 110)
Davis Campus
2750 N. University Park Blvd.
Layton, Utah

Seating is limited!
Contact Sara Forsberg to purchase tickets
801-643-2633 or
or send payment by paypal to
$10 pre-purchase
$15 at the door
$40 Utah Birth Network membership + 2 tickets
Free at the door to WSU Wildcard holders

Birth: it’s a miracle. A rite of passage. A natural part of life. But more than anything, birth is a business. Compelled to find answers after a disappointing birth experience with her first child, actress Ricki Lake recruits filmmaker Abby Epstein to examine and question the way American women have babies.

The film interlaces intimate birth stories with surprising historical, political and scientific insights and shocking statistics about the current maternity care system. When director Epstein discovers she is pregnant during the making of the film, the journey becomes even more personal.

Should most births be viewed as a natural life process, or should every delivery be treated as a potentially catastrophic medical emergency?

Visit for more information

I am so excited for this movie. I've been really busy getting this organized for this but I have a few blogs that I really want to post. I hope to get to them in the next few days. Until then, go to the Business of Being Born website and check out the trailer!

Wednesday, January 09, 2008

Waterbirth International

Waterbirth International is having a crisis and you can help. Visit their page to donate.

They had their first ever Gentle Birth World Congress this past year. It was extremely successful but apparently drained most of their resources. They are on the verge of closing! They need to raise money to keep functioning. I hope they are able to get what they need and continue on!

Waterbirth Int. is such a wonderful organization. They have so many resources available to help women and their families. I was contacted a couple of years ago by a woman who was working with them to have a waterbirth at one of our local hospitals. The hospitals here are largely unsupportive of waterbirth, even to the point of picking women up out of the tubs while the women are trying to push their babies out.

Our local midwifery organization had a waterbirth conference and Barbara Harper and Cornelia Ennings were both able to come and speak. I spent a couple quiet hours with Barbara as we discussed birth and our visions for maternity care in the United States. She is a wonderful lovely woman and I hope they are able to raise enough money to stay open so she can continue with her vision.

Lately I have been so discouraged about the conveyor belt course of birth in this country. I don't understand why consumers don't protect themselves. Why don't people take responsibility for their bodies, for understanding how things work and why they do this? Why don't people CHOOSE? This isn't like buying a can of soda or picking out a movie. This costs thousands of dollars and affects the rest of your life - physically and mentally. Not only will it touch your life, but the choices a woman makes about what is done to her or for her are going to affect her baby's life - forever. It seems like this should matter more. We should pick only those who are deserving to attend us. We put far too much trust in something that is broken, and not enough trust in something inherently normal.