Saturday, April 26, 2008

On this night

On this night, a dear friend of mine is laboring with her second child. She has carried this baby for just over 44 weeks. She has been patient and loving with this baby. We don't know if baby is a boy or girl.

With her permission, I will post her birth story after it's written.

We love you, V!

Tuesday, April 22, 2008

VBACwarrior's birthday

Following is the story of my birth, told by the woman who did it!

April 21, 1981 at 9:00 am I walked into the Conerstone Clinic for women only one day before my due date of April 22, 1981. Dr. Smith came into the room and asked "how are you today?" My reply was "ready to have this baby." I had no idea what I was having but I wanted a girl very much. After examining me he estimated another 2 weeks or so. I thought to myself you are crazy I can't wait another 2 weeks! After all I had gained 30 pounds already. I was not thinning and not dilated at all. I was very upset and went on to work.

I worked for 5 doctors who were also anxious to hear my news. After telling them the news, the
older doctor pulled me aside and told me to jump rope during my breaks and lunch break. I thought it was worth a try! I got off work at 5:00 that evening and went home and fixed dinner, cleaned up a bit around the house(nesting) and ate dinner while watching TV. At about 8:00 I had my first contraction. I believed that this would be like any other night of Braxton Hicks but they kept on coming doing the traditional longer, stronger and closer together. By 9:30 I called my labor coach and best friend who was at work as a labor and delivery nurse in Baptist Hospital in Little Rock, Arkansas. She wanted me to be checked before she went home. I went in carrying my pillows and bag just in case. To my surprise I was 2-3 centimeters and I believe about 50 percent effaced.Wow progress since this morning. They monitored me for a few minutes and decided I was a keeper.

The worst part of the whole labor was the soap sud enema. They actually cleaned me out with soap suds. How humiliating could it get!!! After that, I walked the halls and stopped to breathe during the contractions. By about 4 am I was wearing thin and decided to rest a while in bed. Longer, stronger and closer together they came. The hee hees were becoming harder and harder to do. The music I was listening to irritated the heck out of me! The nurse insisted by 5:30 that I try a little Demerol because they thought maybe they could break my water and make it go a little faster for me. Bam water broke and transition began!!! Oh that nasty Demerol I just wanted this to be over now. When my water was broken there was meconium in the water. It was about 7:45am and they said the lucky number finally... 10!Now you can push and I said NO NO NO I am afraid they said push now or we will have to cut you then I said OK. Three pushes later a beautiful olive complected blonde daughter was born, Rebecca, at 8:17 am weighing 6lbs 6 1/2 oz.






My mom would go on to have six more children. Her fourth child was born via (true) emergency c-section because of a placental abruption. After that, she had three unmedicated hospital VBACs.

Saturday, April 19, 2008

Birthing Freedom Advocacy Campaign- I need your help!

I am attempting to begin a cesarean awareness campaign via this blog.

I need a "slogan" for the campaign. It's going to be "one if by ___, two if by ___" (a play on the Paul Revere "one if by land, two if by sea" story) and I need ideas as to what to fill in the blanks with. Some ideas already suggested are

cut/push

scalpel/design

above/below

The idea is to have women (and their daughters, friends, mothers, aunts, midwives, etc) from all over the United States (and the world) submit pictures to the blog. Everyone in the pictures should be holding up two fingers (like a "peace" sign). This symbolizes several things:

1. it's the "peace" sign (as in, advocating birthing with gentleness and not violence)

2. It's two fingers, meaning they choose the second choice (two if by____ )

3. It's a "V" for vaginal birth

4. It's a "V" for VBAC (vaginal birth after cesarean)


Also, I'd love to get a birthing freedom version of THIS POEM going. I have stanzas 1 and 13 covered. I just need stanzas 2-12. If you'd like to take a stanza, please send me a messege letting me know which one, and then send it to me when you're done with it (along with the number stanza you "re-wrote") Here's an example of a re-written first stanza:

Listen my children and you shall hear

Of the midnight birth of sweet baby dear

On the fourth of July, in Seventy-five;

Hardly a woman is now alive

Who remembers that’s how babies get here



Please send me your ideas in the comments section. Thanks for your help, birthin' mamas!!

Birthing Freedom Advocacy Campaign- I need your help!

I am attempting to begin a cesarean awareness campaign via this blog.

I need a "slogan" for the campaign. It's going to be "one if by ___, two if by ___" (a play on the Paul Revere "one if by land, two if by sea" story) and I need ideas as to what to fill in the blanks with. Some ideas already suggested are

cut/push

scalpel/design

above/below

The idea is to have women (and their daughters, friends, mothers, aunts, midwives, etc) from all over the United States (and the world) submit pictures to the blog. Everyone in the pictures should be holding up two fingers (like a "peace" sign). This symbolizes several things:

1. it's the "peace" sign (as in, advocating birthing with gentleness and not violence)

2. It's two fingers, meaning they choose the second choice (two if by____ )

3. It's a "V" for vaginal birth

4. It's a "V" for VBAC (vaginal birth after cesarean)


Also, I'd love to get a birthing freedom version of THIS POEM going. I have stanzas 1 and 13 covered. I just need stanzas 2-12. If you'd like to take a stanza, please send me a messege letting me know which one, and then send it to me when you're done with it (along with the number stanza you "re-wrote") Here's an example of a re-written first stanza:

Listen my children and you shall hear

Of the midnight birth of sweet baby dear

On the fourth of July, in Seventy-five;

Hardly a woman is now alive

Who remembers that’s how babies get here



Please send me your ideas in the comments section. Thanks for your help, birthin' mamas!!

Stay "tuned" for Tuesday!

Coming Tuesday:

The story of my birth, written by the woman who did it! You'll find it in my journal post on Tuesday (my birthday!)

It was 27 years ago, in the year 1981. I was the first of what would later be seven children for my mother. She was 23 years old. She labored flat on her back while making herself hyperventilate (Lamaze hee-hee-hoo breathing) and try as she might, looking at a picture of a flower didn't make laboring on her back any easier.

Stay "tuned" for the rest of the story on Tuesday.

Thursday, April 10, 2008

Why I don't deal in statistics

I watched the ABC story tonight about Randy Pausch, who is dying of terminal cancer. Something he said really spoke to me when I thought about Cesarean Awareness Month. He said not to tell people how to live their lives. “Tell them stories,” he said. They’ll figure out how your story applies to their lives.

Just tell me your story. Tell an OB your story. Tell another mother your story. Or a nurse. Or your blog readers. Or your colleagues. Tell your daughter.

Leave the statistics, for now, to the scientists. They’ll spin statistics any which way they want to anyway.

A cesarean is more than an unnecessary or a life-saving surgery. It’s more than a mother strapped to a table or seeing your baby over that screen for the first time. It’s more than life or death. It’s more than right or wrong. A cesarean is a story that begins a life, and whether we like it or not, a mother who makes a decision to have a cesarean is choosing what she believes to be the safest birth for her baby.

If we want to reach mothers and really impact positive change, we need to tell our stories. If I tell a mother that statistics show women are less likely to have more children after a cesarean, she’ll just tell me that she had five children and five c-sections and she’s “just fine.” So what you need to say instead is that you had a c-section and experienced secondary infertility, or that you labored with Pitocin, had a ruptured uterus and a hysterectomy and now you can’t have more children. Or simply say you had a cesarean and now you’re scared to do it again, so you don’t have any more children.


There are so many choices to make each time you begin the journey to motherhood. Many of the choices aren’t easy ones to make. I think one of our goals should be to help mothers make these choices out of love, instead of fear. A mother should not be scared into a cesarean by words such as, “your baby is too big”, “your uterus will explode,” or “your baby is overdue”. Our children, and their children, are counting on us to protect normal, healthy birth. Nothing in life is without risks. Even with a cesarean, there are risks. Sometimes a c-section is the only way (placenta previa, for example). Sometimes it is necessary but preventable (induction on due date, epidural, mom immobilized, baby’s heart rate crashes). Sometimes, it’s just plain unnecessary (unreliable 38 week ultrasound says baby is over 8lbs so a section is scheduled for 39 weeks, and baby is born weighing just 7lbs).

Should I need to see an OB for a future pregnancy, I would ask her to hear my stories. I would tell her that I had a c-section and it made me cry. I’d tell her that it hurt my feelings that she and her colleagues talked over my naked body like I wasn’t there. I would tell her that she was a good surgeon and my physical scar healed nicely, but that inside I still hurt. I would tell her that more than anything, what I want from my pregnancy and labor care provider is to be listened to, loved and treated with respect.




Don’t let your voice fade or your story be forgotten.

for more information about cesareans, cesarean awareness, or VBACs please visit ICAN

Tuesday, April 1, 2008

In Honor of Cesarean Awareness Month

A terrible injustice was done to my daughter three years ago. She was prematurely, surgically sliced from my abdomen on an unusually warm January night.

I can’t change the fact that she was taken from my womb. That she now faces future problems such as asthma, IBS, and who knows what else! I can’t take that back and I can’t make it right.

But I’m standing up for my daughter now. I will not allow an insurance company, a hospital, a doctor, her majesty AABC, the almighty ACOG, lawyers with tied hands, nay not even the Supreme Court to tell me how, when, why, where or with whom I birth my future babies, or your future babies, or my daughter’s future babies.

These entities work for us, ladies! We hire them. I don’t tell Dr. Knifewielder how to pleasure his wife and I’m not going to let him tell me how I must birth my baby.

To these ends I hereby declare that I, vbacwarrior and United States Birthing Mother, revoke all current and future support of any individual, institution or governing body that does not support mother-baby friendly birth choices and practices.

What does this mean? It means that except in the case of a dire emergency,

I will not go to a hospital with a skyrocketing c-section rate.

I will also not go to a hospital that currently has a vbac ban, defacto or otherwise.

If I require medical attention, I will not seek care from a physician whose c-section rate is higher than 15% (I will drive to another city or out of state, if necessary)

I will not participate in conversations about obstetricians who have cesarean rates higher than 15% unless it is to speak about the dangers of seeing such a physician for normal pregnancy care.

I will see a non-OB affiliated midwife for well-woman care.

I will write to my congressman each month, encouraging him to help pass legislation in favor of mother-baby friendly birth practices and midwifery.

If asked, I will never recommend an OB to a woman with a low-risk pregnancy.

I will write letters-to-the-editor each month (or more often if allowed) about the dangers of the current c-section rate in this country.

I will become a doula and support women in their pregnancies, births and postpartum.

I will raise my daughter to know and appreciate what normal birth is.


I am only one mother, one voice, one pocketbook. Won’t you join me, beginning today, in my quest to hit the Obstetric Machine in the money belt?



For more information on Cesarean Awareness Month, cesarean sections or vbac (vaginal birth after cesarean) please visit www.ican-online.org