Friday, November 28, 2008

Beautiful Video of woman singing during labor...

I am in love with this video. Isn't she beautiful? It gives me chills everytime I watch it. From reading the comments on youtube, she had her baby about two hours after this was taped. I've seen people say that there's no way she could do that during active labor but it IS possible. Especially during a homebirth, when you are secure in your surroundings and with your caregivers, it's much easier to relax and work with your body.

Ahhh I just love the intimacy of homebirth...can you tell I wish I had one? hehe

Tuesday, October 21, 2008

Taking a Break

Things have been a little crazy around here lately. I've got a part time job now and am still up many times a night with my youngest baby, and I'm having a hard time finding time to blog. So I'm going on a little hiatus until I get some more energy. There will be one more post about a beautiful Blessingway that I went to but that might be it for awhile.

Monday, September 29, 2008

Quote of the Week

We have a secret in our culture, and it's not that birth is painful. It's that women are strong.
~Laura Stavoe Harm

Friday, September 26, 2008

Interesting Homebirth Article

I just came upon this homebirth article today and must say I was very pleasantly surprised at how well balanced it is. I was happy to see a full range of experiences, from OB's to midwives to women giving birth unassisted, being portrayed. So, here it is!!

Home Made
Inside Baltimore's Home-Birth Underground

Tuesday, September 23, 2008

On Todays Episode of Bringing Home Baby...

Blatent breastfeeding misinformation. I only caught about ten minutes of this episode but basically what happened was a petite mom gave birth to a 9lb 1oz baby(c-section of course)and here's the wonderful advice her doctor gave her(I am para phrasing):

"Well the good news is that you have a big healthy baby. But since you're so small, you will probably not be able to make enough milk for her. My suggestion would be to supplement your breastmilk with formula."

Would it KILL a Dr to oh, I don't know, read a book about lactation? Or even drop by on a La Leche League meeting? Even a cursory read would enlighten them to the fact that breastfeeding is all about supply and demand. And that a womans body or breast size does not affect her ability to produce milk! HOw do people think we humans have survived this long if we couldn't feed our babies? Before formula, people had to make their own milk! Yes, small woman can easily make enough milk to feed a large baby. They can even provide enough milk to feed TWINS and TRIPLETS! I can think of three woman that I know who have EXCLUSIVELY breastfed twins, without a drop of formula. If they can handle twins, I'm sure this "small woman" can make enough milk for her "huge baby". I'm just so sick of uninformed medical professionals sabotaging early nursing efforts. Everyone thinks Dr's have tons of eduction on lactation and that just isn't the case.

I wish pregnant woman would spend more time researching birth and breastfeeding than choosing their nursery colors, swings, and onsies. It would help them so much more than relying on bad information from doctors.

Thursday, September 18, 2008

Birth Stories: Amelia ~ unmedicated hospital birth

When we found out we were expecting(on Mothers Day 2007), I was so excited and knew I was going to have a natural childbirth. I started going to prenatals with my OB but after doing a lot of reading and research, I was seriously doubting my chances of having a natural, physiological birth with her. After a lot of hemming and hawing, I decided to switch to a group of midwives. Like a lot of women, I felt really guilty about leaving my OB. But it's MY birth and I needed to do what felt right for me. I'm so glad I did it. I also decided that I was going to have a doula this time around. One of the mom’s on one of the local parenting boards was becoming a doula and she needed three births to receive her certification. I ended up being her first one. The pregnancy went smoothly. The midwives answered my millions of questions and were on board with all of my requests. They never once questioned my ability to birth whatever size baby I grew and I felt confident that I would not receive any unnecessary interventions. Their birth plan is very woman friendly. They won't even talk induction before 41 weeks(unless medically called for), they want you up and out of bed, moving around, in the tub, intermittent monitoring, no IV's, ok to eat and drink, etc etc. They gave me their entire list of stats from the year before on my first appointment. If only every provider would be so transparent!

On Sunday, the 20th of January, I was home by myself. My husband was at work and Olivia spent the night at her grandparents house and was still there. I slept in and enjoyed what I knew would be one of the last mornings I had to sleep in for a long time. Around 10:30 I remembered feeling a Braxton hicks contraction that burned a little at the end. I’d been having them since 19 weeks so I was familiar with how they normally felt. I decided to just go about my business and didn’t really think this would be “it”. I ate breakfast, vacuumed, picked up, and thought, “wow the nesting is finally kicking in!” All the while I kept getting slightly uncomfortable contractions about 15 minutes apart. By about noon, they were 10 minutes apart and were definitely demanding my attention during them. Still, I wasn’t sure if I was in labor. I felt so great in between them that I thought I had been exaggerating the pain of each one afterwards. I called Ben at work and told him he might want to come home early and to stay by his phone. I called Kristi my doula around 1:30pm and told her that I might possibly be in labor. When I had to stop talking when a contraction came, she said she knew it was labor. I, stubborn woman that I am, didn’t really believe it. So, she said she’d call again at about 3:30 to check on me. The contractions kept coming and getting closer together. I ate lunch, called my family to tell them that this may be it, but I’m not sure, and watched “The Hundred Greatest Songs of the 90’s” on VH1.When a contraction came I would just close my eyes, kneel on the couch with my arms on the back of it, and breathe through them. I really focused on keeping my face relaxed and surrendering to the contraction. I also tried to visualize a rose bud slowing opening up. I feel these really helped me to relax and make my labor very efficient. Around 2pm my mother in law dropped Olivia home. I told Diane that I “might” be in labor so to be available if we needed to drop Olivia back home. Liv was great for distracting me. I made her some lunch and we watched TV together. We took this pic :

Around 3pm Ben came home from work and the contractions were burning. I remember thinking, “Wow I forgot how much this hurts.” But at the same time, I was so excited. I knew I was going to get to labor and possibly birth in the tubs at the hospital so that’s what was helping me get through them. Of course, Ben was running around getting Olivia packed up to go to his parents house and packing stuff for the hospital. I just wanted him to stop. All his fluttering around was making me anxious and irritated. It sounds horrible, but it was as annoying as when you are in a room by yourself trying to sleep and there’s this one mosquito buzzing around. Kristi called me back at 3:30pm and we decided that she would come over. I told her to take her time because I was still thinking I was in early labor(yes this is a theme). Things got really intense while waiting for her. I remember sitting down at the bottom of the stairs telling Ben to stop packing, that we can get stuff later, and to get over here and freakin help me! Then Kristi arrived and I started crying a little. I was getting overwhelmed with all of the commotion and from dealing with the pain. I felt like some of the pressure was taken off of me by her being there. She totally took over and had the mothering touch that I really needed. She shut off the tv and just rubbed my back through contractions. She really helped me to get my focus back on me. She noticed that the contractions were about 3-4 minutes apart and suggested we go to the hospital. I refused. I didn’t want to get there and have them send me home. I don’t know why I had this irrational thought since intellectually I knew my contractions were strong and getting closer together. I had planned to arrive at the hospital around 6-7 cm’s and then get in the tub. I thought at the time that I was no where near there. It was just going too smoothly and easily to be that far. Finally after a few more contractions, and Ben’s telling me that we went to the hospital with Olivia when the contractions were farther apart than this, that I agreed.

In the car, the contractions came very fast, about every two minutes. Oh how I wished we had a bigger and more comfortable car at the time. It was not fun. Ben dropped me off at the entrance and went to park the car. I barely waddled up to the registration worker. After what seemed like forever, Kristi and Ben met with me and we went to L&D. My husband had called them about an hour earlier to say we’d be there later on and I remember shouting to him to tell them to get us a room with a tub! Well when we got there, the not too pleasant person at the desk told us they were all full. Grrr. Then they said that one was empty and if we wanted to wait in the waiting room they’d clean it. Fine I said. I really wanted the tub. We waited about a half hour in that room. The contractions were coming fast and furious but I was handling them well. I even managed to pee in a cup for the nurse! Oh she was annoying though. I’ll refer to her from now on as Nurse Annoying. She kept asking me all these questions even during a contraction! Couldn’t she tell that they were coming every few minutes? Why did I not preregister? I should’ve just had a homebirth, but anyway. Eventually we got into the room. I remember glancing at the clock and noting that it was 6:08pm. My mother in law had showed up by this time too, video camera in hand.

When we got in the room, I found out that my favorite midwife was the midwife on call and I was so happy. She was the one I had wanted for my labor. She also had a student midwife with her and asked if she could participate. That was fine I said. I was actually hoping for a nursing student or an intern though. I wanted them to get a chance to witness an unhindered birth, hehe. So I changed into the clothes I had brought and I let Lydia check me. Getting on the bed was the last thing I had wanted to do but I really was curious as to how far along I was. She announced that I was complete(10 centimeters and 100%effaced) and zero station. Wow. Everyone in the room collectively said, WHAT?!, myself included. No way was I complete! I wasn’t ready to be that far along. Just the moment before I was joking about my blue smocked pj’s I brought to labor in. Where was the sweat and the shaking and panicking? As she finished the exam my water broke. Clear fluid. I barked out to someone to fill the tub! They all knew that I wouldn’t have time to get in it but they humored me anyway and started the water.

I got up right away because the bed was so uncomfortable. How do women labor in bed? It's so painful! The student midwife was still trying to find the heartbeat so I was standing up next to the side of the bed. It was so hard to stand still. All the while, Nurse Annoying was asking me questions. “What’s your social security number?”” How much do you weigh(yeah right I had stopped looking months ago, ha!)? “What are the first 100 digits of pi?” Ok well she didn’t ask that but she might as well have. Didn’t she know how far along I was? My mind couldn’t think about these things. I said, “How many more fucking questions are there?” Then I barked at the student, “Have you found the heartbeat yet?” Nope. I wasn’t worried about the baby, I just wanted to move! Typing this out I sound really mean, but really that was as bad as I got. Plus, Amelia is born about three minutes from here so I think I did pretty well.

All of the sudden I had the strangest feeling, like I had to take the biggest poop ever. Then I realized OH! It’s the baby! It’s all kind of fuzzy from here. I think I said something about she’s coming. People flutter around. The student midwife kneels next to/behind me and my midwife was kneeling in front of me. I’m paralyzed in place. I lurch forward a little to grab onto Ben’s shirt with both hands. I somehow had to presence of mind to realize that my mother in law was videotaping from behind me so I shouted at someone to put the sheet over me. Not that I think women need to be covered up during birth at all, I just knew this would be on video forever and I didn't feel like looking at my butt.It’s amazing that you can think of these things while a baby is being born. Anyway, I digress. Here's a pic of the position I gave birth in:

Anyway, I remember screaming so loud during the next contraction. It was very primal and felt really good to scream and not care how loud it was. It felt like a missle was barreling out of me. I wanted to stretch as tall as I possibly could to relieve the pressure and slow it down. Someone asked if I wanted to squat. Hell no, that would make it hurt more. Someone inches my feet a little farther apart since they were still close together.. I’m still clinging to Ben, my face in his shirt, leaning over. I couldn’t have moved if I’d wanted to. I mean I was literally cemented into place. The next contraction she was crowning. Holy crap it burned and I wanted to fly out of my body. Kristi told me to make low pushing noises and I said, "That’s if I were pushing. I’m NOT PUSHING!!" I think that’s why I screamed so much, because it was happening TO me and I couldn’t control it. Her head came out during the next contraction. Someone said she had so much hair you could braid it. Someone asked if I wanted to reach down and catch her. No! That would make it hurt worse and really, I couldn’t even move that much. I remember thinking momentarily how odd it felt to be standing up and having a head hanging out from between my legs. Then I felt the last contraction coming and I think I might have pushed a little, just to make it get over with faster. She slid right out. I instantly straightened up and proclaimed “I feel so much better!” Literally all the pain was gone in an instant. It’s amazing how you can go from such exquisite pain to ecstasy in two seconds. I felt such a rush! I totally did it! I felt like I could go run a marathon or climb a mountain if I wanted to. Wow, THIS is was the oxytocin high everyone was talking about! It’s kind of an indescribable feeling.

Then I realized, Oh the baby! Luckily, someone had caught her,lol. They gave her to me and I remember not being able to bring her all the way up, the cord was too short. So somehow I got onto the bed and I held her that way. She looked so small to me. She had tons of dark hair and was screaming a lot. After a few minutes, the midwife said the cord had stopped pulsing and asked if we wanted to clamp and cut it. Ben went ahead and cut it. We nursed at some point but I can’t remember how soon after the birth it was. The afterpains were horrible though. They felt almost as painful as the labor contractions. But they did their job and I my uterus clamped down nicely. My sweet girl was born at 6:28pm, exactly 20 minutes after we got into the room. She was 9lbs 8oz and 20 ½ inches long, with a 13.5 in head and a 15 inch chest. The nurses were shocked at how big her chest was but Olivia’s chest was larger than her head too. I had a U shaped tear that honestly, hurt like hell when they were stitching up. I made Kristi’s hand white from squeezing so hard. The lidocaine just wasn’t working and I kept asking for more. They said that it wasn’t numbing it well because the tears were very superficial. Once that was over though I felt better and it healed a lot quicker than my episiotomy with Liv. I finally got into the tub about an hour after the birth and it felt great. So that’s how my Millie came into the world, with a big rush and lots of love, on her own terms.

Getting ready to nurse

Diane and Millie

My doula Kristi. Muah!

Olivia meets her sister for the first time

Birth Stories: Olivia ~ medicated hospital birth

During my pregnancy, I read all of the "standard" birth books, i.e. What to expect when you're expecting, Girlfriends Guide, etc.and took the hospital birthing class so I *thought* I was pretty well educated. I wanted a natural birth, but I only thought that meant no drugs. So, I will write this and try not to be too critical of myself because, for a lot of women, their first birth is where they learn what really happens and what they want to change for the next time. This is my first borns entrance into the world and it deserves to be honored like any other.

I saw an OB through this pregnancy and didn't have any major problems. Blood pressure may have been a little border line but never crept too high. I did hear the "Are you trying to grow a turkey in there" line quite a few times. So, we get to about 38 weeks and OB wants me to have an ultrasound for an estimated fetal weight. My dr said, and I quote "If she's going to be 10 lbs, you might as well just schedule an c-section and get it over with." As naive as I was, I would never do that and not even give myself a chance at labor! I agree to the ultrasound, didn't really think I had a choice, plus hey, it'll be neat to see how big she looks. They estimate her at 7lbs 14oz and the technician said it could vary a pound either way, but in my case, probably a pound more. So I get to 40 weeks with no baby. The nurse comes in and says they'll schedule me for an induction at 41 weeks since the Dr doesn't like anyone to go past that. Again, didn't think I could say no but luckily I went into labor the day before my induction.

My mother had flown in from NH for the two weeks surrounding my due date in hopes of being here for the birth so I was happy that she was here for it. Around 8 in the morning on March 1st I felt a little crampy. I figured it was from my appt the day before when the NP swept my membranes(without asking my consent, might I add). I decided to take a shower and shave(just to be prepared, lol) and see if the cramps went away. They gradually got stronger throughout the day and we pretty much knew that this was it. I would go about normally in between contractions and the only way that felt good during contractions was on all fours in a semi childs pose from yoga. Labored that way until about 3:30 when they were five minutes apart and I couldn't speak through them. We called my husband and told him to come home from work and take us to the hospital.

When we got there, I was at 4 cm and was admitted. I told the nurses that I didn't want an epidural and for them not to ask me if I wanted anything. They were all really nice about that. Of course, I got in bed, hooked up to the EFM and then they attempted to get an IV in me. Now during the childbirth class at the hospital, I remembered the instructor saying that you "had" to get an IV so I didn't think I could refuse. I was such a compliant, good little patient. I warned the nurse that my veins have a tendency to clamp down and roll when threatened with a needle. So, of course I was right(psychosomatic much?) and after FOUR tries, they finally had someone from anesthesia put it in.

Blasted IV, notice the blood stains on my hands?

Mind you, I'm progressing faster at this point, already at 6 cms, and I didn't even notice that my water broke while they were putting the IV in. I thought I was sweating a lot because I hated needles! So, apparently, the EFM shows her heart rate not having as much variability as before and all the sudden they rush everyone out of my room. Nobody bothers to tell me whats wrong. They put an oxygen mask on me and go to put an internal scalp monitor on her. That's when they realize my water broke and they finally calm down. They still put in the internal monitor and have me lay on my side. Then after that "crisis" they allow my mom, DH, and MIL back in the room.

In retrospect, I find it interesting how I totally forgot about moving around during labor once I was in the hospital. It's like you're indoctrinated into the system without even realizing it. Once I got into bed, I never got out of it again until after I had her. Anyway, I get to about 8 centimeters and start to get scared. This is a perfect example of where a doula would have been so great to have. I am convinced that if I'd had someone there to tell me I could do it and that my body could handle it, I wouldn't have accepted the medication. I had been told by everyone that this kid was "huge" and I was scared about how much it would hurt getting her out. So at that point I requested something, anything! The anesthesiologist came in and gave me an intrathecal. They explained it to me as a shot in the back that would numb the pain. I'd never read about it before and asked why and they said that it's not used that often since it only lasts about 2 hours and they only give it to women close to delivering. I don't recall them mentioning anything about side effects. So, after a few tries and some painful jolts of lightening going down my side as she's "testing" it, she got it in. I must admit it got me through the rest of transition. It numbed about 85 percent of the pain but I could still feel my legs and move them and feel when I had to push.

me and my mom

When I reached 10 cm, my doctor was almost at the hospital. The nurse that I really liked had to leave since her shift was over and the semi bitchy nurse was put in charge of helping me push. I remember hoping I'd be a good pusher and that I would do it correctly. How silly that we think we need to be told how to push! Do we need someone to tell us how to poop? Nope..well let me tell ya, pushing a baby out is the same feeling, but on a much larger scale. We intuitively know how to push our babies out(unless we are numb from an epi, then yes, we might need some coaching to know when we are having a contraction) I had a cervical lip so she put her hand inside of me during every push(on my back of course) to move it out of the way. Even with the medication it hurt like hell and she kept making little snide comments about how the baby would come down and slide right back up. Finally, my dr got there, checked me and was like, what are you talking about? She's right there!THANK YOU DOCTOR! Then, she had me get up on my knees, facing the head of the bed which was raised, and push in that position. SUCH a relief! I could finally feel like I was accomplishing something. She stayed and really encouraged me for the next 40 minutes or so while I pushed. Of course, the medication was wearing off by then but I really didn't mind it. I liked the feeling of pushing. Once the baby was crowning,she had me get back on my back and "assume the position" as I like to call it. She has Ben hold one leg and bitchy nurse hold the other. I push a few times. She announces that she's going to do an episiotomy and then I'll have the baby. This was the one time when I screamed NO! I did NOT want one but she said I had to. And everyone around me agreed and told me that yes I needed one!! I was pissed and scared and felt powerless to stop it. I felt like I had no choice. I still remember not wanting to push since I knew it was coming. It hurt even though she used the lidocaine and I will never forget the unnatural feeling of those scissors cutting me and feeling like my insides were going to fall out. I can't even watch that part of the video anymore. It should be such a joyous moment but all I can think about is the feeling of the cut. So I reluctantly push, she cuts me and Livvies head is out. She starts suctioning her with a bulb syringe already. She's not even out yet! What a brutal(and totally unnecessary) entrance into the world my baby got. Then, she puts both hands on her head and twists her head as I push again. I'm sure she could have turned on her own. So she comes out, the cord is immediately clamped and they place her on my stomach. More suctioning. Her shoulders were much harder to push out than the head and I remember being surprised by that. Anyway, my turkey was big but not "huge". She was born at 8:44 pm, 9lbs 3 oz, 21.5 inches long, with great apgars of 9 and 10. The nurse(bitchy one) "helped" me nurse her but I felt like she didn't really want to and I felt like she was impatient with me. Other than that though, I think Ben and I were just shocked to finally see her! It's like, wow you were inside of me! Livvie was beautiful. She had dark brown hair, really long fingers, and such an engaging disposition, even as a newborn. And I was so happy to have my mom at the birth. She really helped me a lot and it was nice to know she was there. So that's how my Olivia came to be!

Here she is. Yes, that is my leg and I think the blue gloved hand is removing the internal monitor that was screwed into her head.

Here she is!

I love this pic of Ben and Liv

Wednesday, September 10, 2008

"Haven't women been squatting in caves for thousands of years?"

My dear friend Brian spoke this nugget of truth on a car ride up to Maine this past summer. We had been discussing birth and out came this statement. I like to tease him, but he really is wise beyond his 26(for the last three birthdays, lol)years.

Women have received so much "help" giving birth recently, that we tend to forget that we instinctively know how to do it. I remember thinking prior to my first child being born, "Gosh I hope I do Ok. I hope I know how to push correctly." Well, assuming you aren't numb, it takes no more thought on how to push a baby out than it does to push a poop out!! You just do what your body tells you to do. It would serve us all well if we gave a little shout out to the cavewoman within us all.

Thursday, September 4, 2008

The Business of Being Born

Someone recently asked me what I thought was so wrong with maternity care. I was stumped and truly didn't know where to start. It's such a complicated issue, but I think that the root of it all is that nobody seems to know what normal physiological birth is. If people don't know what normal birth is, how can they recognize that the births that are taking place in hospitals across the country are so abnormal?

I'm going to start recommending The Business of Being Born to everyone. I wish I could just carry it with me and hand it to people to go watch. Then I wouldn't have to deal with people thinking I'm some crazy two-headed birth freak. It's an excellent introduction to the birth crisis and for many people, may be the first truly non-interventive birth they've seen. They certainly won't see it on A Baby Story.

Sunday, August 17, 2008

Survey Says!

Woo hoo! The Birth Survey has gone national!

How did you feel about your birth? Loved it? Hated it? Well here's your chance to tell everyone(anonymously)! I am so super duper excited about this. This survey is for any woman who has given birth in the last three years. This fall, we will be able to see the statistics for each hospital and care provider. It's high time we have a consumer reports for birth! In addition to the survey results, there will be statistics for each hospital made available to the public. These are not easy things to get so it will be a wonderful resource. People may think twice before stepping foot into a hospital with a 45% c-section rate(we have one here). It's definitely the time for women to make their voices heard. Once the hospitals and providers listen to their patients, maybe some change will occur. It's time to have some transparency in maternity care and for the public to see what some hospitals and providers have been doing. We have a right to make informed decisions in our births. How can we do that when hospitals won't release c-section rates? How will we know a provider has a 50% induction rate(Lord knows they won't tell you themselves)? THIS is how. It doesn't matter what kind of birth you had(good, indifferent, traumatic), ALL of us need to take this survey!

Wednesday, August 6, 2008

Put the clamps down and step away from the cervix

Look Look! It's technology! Now you can pay even less attention to the laboring woman and watch your baby be born on the monitor. You know, like that neat Santa Tracker!!

Looks like the Birth Tracker will be entering L&D wards soon. Sigh. There have been plenty of great posts written about this already. I especially enjoyed Hathors comic and Rixa's scathing reviews. Honestly, when is enough enough? This just illustrates the technocratic mindset of current hospital care. They know things aren't working, they are seeing more bad outcomes, as the c-section rate continues to rise, maternal mortality and morbidity rise, and babies fare worse, but the only answer they can come up with is MORE technology. They can't fathom that less intervention would improve outcomes. It's pointless to rant, point out to them what the scientific evidence shows, pull our hair out in frustration, etc. The genie is out of the bottle and I don't think it will ever go back in, at least in a hospital. For awhile I honestly thought that we could reform hospital maternity care but now I just don't know. At least the public is becoming more aware of midwives, homebirth and birth centers. Here's hoping women will get fed up with all these doo dads up their vajayjays, stand up, and take their births back.

Tuesday, August 5, 2008

The making of a Birth Junkie


I never thought that birth would become such a passion for me. Such a passion in fact, that I had to create a blog just to get my feelings about it written down. Ironically, as I sit here, I am at a loss for words. Didn't I have an entire tirade mapped out in my head? Midwives vs. OB's, episitomies, the skyrocketing c-section rate, birth trauma, homebirths, inductions, amniotomies, evidence based medicine, doulas...the list goes on. But I find myself paralyzed. Where do I start?

I suppose I should start at the beginning.

My interest in birth began, not surprisingly, when I became pregnant with my first child in 2004. I prepared myself reasonably well, I thought. I found an OB whom my friend liked, eagerly attended my childbirth education class at the hospital, read all of the popular books (What to Expect, Your Pregnancy Week by Week, Girlfriends Guide), got my weekly babycenter emails and caught all of the episodes I could of A Baby Story and Babies:Special Delivery. I felt knowlegable and comfortable with everything. My OB and I joked about the huge "turkey" I was growing and I didn't bat an eye when, at my 40 wk appt, they scheduled an induction for 41 weeks because "The Dr doesn't like anyone to go past 41 weeks." That's just the way it was right? Dr knows best! Luckily I went into labor on my own the day before the induction. I had wanted to go "natural" and avoid an epidural, mostly because I don't like the thought of needles going into my back. I tried my darndest but ended up with an interthecal at 8 cm which I was pleased with. I came out of the hospital very happy about the birth. Sure, I "needed" an episiotomy but as far as first births go, I had thought it went well.

Two and a half years later I am pregnant with baby numero dos, and decide I want a totally natural childbirth this time. I started going to my prenatal appoinments with my new OB who was really nice. Early ultrasound, no quad screen thanks, blah blah blah...then IT happened. I read the "book". The book that shattered my rosy view of childbirth and maternity care completely. Holy crap, how was this happening in our country? How was it that no one seemed to care? Why the frick did I have an episiotomy? How am I going to have a natural birth with my OB? I need a midwife!

What book you ask?

The Thinking Woman's Guide to a Better Birth by Henci Goer

And so it began...