Saturday, December 21, 2013

Colonization

 
I read a fascinating article called "Colonization" by one of my favorite bloggers Navel Gazing Midwife recently and wanted to share it with you.

        "I read a piece called “Cesarean Birth Linked to Childhood Obesity” that discussed the baby being introduced to the mom’s good bacteria as he is being born through the mom’s vagina. Theories about allergies, Type I Diabetes, and Celiac Disease have all been implicated in children not receiving their mother’s colonization from their good bacteria when going through the vagina.
Another a June 2012 study offers a detailed look at the early stages of the body's colonization by microbes. Babies born vaginally were colonized predominantly by Lactobacillus, whereas cesarean delivery babies were colonized by a mixture of potentially pathogenic bacteria typically found on the skin and in hospitals, such as Staphylococcus and Acinetobacter, suggesting babies born by CD were colonized with skin flora in lieu of traditionally vaginal type of bacterium.
There’s so much science here, I’m just going to leave it to the researchers. I know they are studying it, they are picking apart vaginal and cesarean births, I suspect they are taking the different modes of transportation apart (via the nose, mouth, eyes, ears or a combo of any of the methods). I’m just wondering what we do know about it?
Do we add lines in our birth plans that ask for a swab of vaginal fluid if we have a cesarean so we can run it on our breast for our baby to colonize with it? I would ask for a large swab, not a q-tip sized one). Today it seems kind of gross smearing our juices on our breasts and the laying the baby on there to nuzzle. But, I don’t see it being too far in the future when it becomes the standard of care. Might we take a cloth and schmear it down the woman’s whoo haa and then rub on  the baby’s face and then clean the face off. Any of these ways seem doable to colonize the baby.
Is this far in our future? Already I hear about CMNs who swab for the mom and know that women ask for the ability to colonize their babies. Would I be doing this if it were me or Meghann? Absolutely.  What are your thoughts about this controversial experience with colonization?"

Fascinating stuff!!!!!

 

Tuesday, October 8, 2013

Tips for giving your infant a bath

I was visiting a blog called Spearmint Baby earlier today and watched the most beautiful video of a nurse giving an infant a bath. This particular nurse developed a bathing style she calls the Thalasso baby bath or baby spa. Essentially it mimics the warmth and security of the womb, making the baby feel relaxed and at home.



 
 
Here are a few of her tips for bathing your newborn:
 
1. Don’t bathe a hungry baby. They can’t relax if they’re hungry.
2. Let your hands and heart express themselves.
3. Take your time. Ten to 15 minutes is good.
4. Water getting in your baby’s ears and eyes? It’s OK!
5. Enjoy the experience as much as your baby does.

Wednesday, September 18, 2013

Journey towards becoming a Doula

This is a post from I shared on my blog last November, but I thought it would be pertinent to share it here as well.
 
"I finally did it!. I signed up for and took a Doula course in November !. I can't even begin to tell you how excited I am  Ever since I became pregnant with Amelia I have been fascinated with pregnancy and birth. It is hard to explain why, but I can't help but read everything I can get my hands on about the subject. I love hearing birth stories. It doesn't matter is they were traumatic, easy, or beautiful. I find each women's experience incredible."  - Jocelyn
 
I have always been passionate about empowering women, so when I heard numerous stories in which women felt as though they
through the process of learning about laboring practicing and common hospital procedures, I realized that the majority of women find their birth experience not only terrifying but dis empowering. I went on to discover that the almighty dollar has a HUGE impact on how and how long women are "allowed" to labor. These reasons not necessary basic on the "best interest" of the mother and her child, but for the ease and financial gain of the health care provider. Some may say that the "method" is not so important as the end goal: a healthy baby. While I agree that a healthy baby is of paramount importance, shouldn't a healthy, empowered woman be of equal importance? What about making sure that every women receives the education, support and tools necessary to have the best birth they can have. Birth can look very different from one woman to the next, but what about HOW a woman feels about her birth experience afterwards. Did she feel empowered, confidant, knowledgeable, and supported?
It is for those reasons that I embarked upon this journey towards becoming a doula.

A Birth Doula .....
Recognizes birth as a key experience the mother will remember all her life
Understands the physiology of birth and the emotional needs of a woman in labor
Assists the woman in preparing for and carrying out her plans for birth
Stays with the woman throughout the labor
Provides emotional support, physical comfort measures and an objective viewpoint, as well as helping the woman get the information she needs to make informed decision
Facilitates communication between the laboring woman, her partner and her clinical care providers
Perceives her role as nurturing and protecting the woman's memory of the birth experience
Allows the woman's partner to participate at his/her comfort level
The word "doula" comes from the ancient Greek meaning "a woman who serves" and is now used to refer to a trained and experienced professional who provides continuous physical, emotional and informational support to the mother before, during and just after birth; or who provides emotional and practical support during the postpartum period. Studies have shown that when Doulas attend birth, labors are shorter with fewer complications, babies are healthier and they breastfeed more easily.
 
My experience with Doula's

1st Birth

When my pregnancy with Amelia had been confirmed at a local drop in clinic I was referred to a baby clinic in town. While in the waiting room for my first ultrasound (to see how far along I was) I quietly asked the clerk if she knew where I could access midwifery services. Her eyes lit up and she excitedly handed me a phone number for a midwifery office in town. She told me that she highly recommended that route (in a hushed voice) as though she was routing for Pepsi in a coca cola factory. In my third trimester, my midwife and I began discussing my birth plan, and my support network. She highly recommending having a doula. At the time I did not know what a  "doula" was and started to research their  purpose. It didn't take me long to learn how valuable a doula could be. My midwife happened to know of a doula who had just finished her training and could provide her services for free. At our first appointment we talked about the ways that she might be able to support me, my birth preferences and concerns. I remember telling her that I wanted her to help me make calming sounds, instead of screaming like a banshee (as I had often seen on TV). On the morning on March 18th, I woke up feeling  a little crampy at around 6:00 in the morning when Nathaniel's alarm clock went off. I didn't think much of it and went back to sleep until 10:00 or so (those where the days). After a long warm bath, something of which I also rarely indulge in, I set about my regular routines of cleaning, returning emails (while bouncing on my ball) and making stew for dinner. At some point in the day, possibly around 1:30, I realized that I was having consistent contractions. When my husband got home from work and announced that he was probably going to be laid off for a couple of days, I said "that's good because I think I am in labor". We quietly started timing contractions, did some grocery shopping and told my parents that I was in labor. Around 7pm I called my doula to let her know that I was definitely in labor and she hurried over. She arrived just as I was heading into transition and starting to loose my composure. She quickly helped me start breathing and swaying and helped ground me again. When I climbed into the tub she put cool clothes on my head, brought me water and stayed close. After Amelia had been born she stayed behind after the midwives had left and cleaned me up, brought me a meal and helped me with breastfeeding. Her calm presence was incredibly reassuring.
 
2nd birth

As soon as I knew that I was pregnant with my second child, I started searching for a midwife and a doula. I knew that my chances of having a midwife were slim (due to the fact that we lived in the middle of nowhere), but I hoped that maybe I would be able to find a doula. Thankfully I did! We met once a week in the months leading up to my delivery. We would sit in a cafĂ© and chat about everything related to pregnancy, birth and breastfeeding. From the start I knew that she was "in my corner". We shared similar values and she understood my concerns about delivering in the hospital. I already knew how to labor and knew that Nathaniel would be an excellent support, but I didn't know what it was like to labor in a hospital. More than anything I just needed a sound board. I appreciated her the most when I was overdue and was being pressured to have an induction. She researched acupressure methods, herbal remedies and many other natural methods for starting labor naturally. She understood that I DID NOT want an induction and supported me 100%. She prepared emotionally when I had to do a fetal stress test and diagnostic ultrasound. She warned me that the OB that did the procedure had a reputation for guilt tripping women into inductions and  helped me understand my rights in such a situation. She did everything she could to help me get the birth I wanted and gave me every possible resource to help me do so. When I went into labour (on my own) she met up with us in town, did a Starbucks run with me, walked around in the park with me and helped me breath through my contractions. She drove with us to the hospital when I was ready to go,  massaged my back in the minutes leading up to the frenzied birth and then helped get Claire latched shortly afterwards. She visited me often in hospital over the days that followed (out of town patients are expected to stay a minimum of two days) and we spent a great deal of time talking about Claire's birth and my thoughts about how it all went down.

 I would highly encourage anyone who is pregnant or thinking of becoming pregnant to consider the value of having a doula present at the birth of your child.  It is a day you will never forget, so you might as well have a great team to support you and make it great!

 

 

 
 

Sunday, September 15, 2013

Beautiful birth photography

Click on this link to see some of the most beautiful birth photography I have EVER seen.  One day I hope that I will be able to capture births and bellies like this photographer.