Category: Pregnancy

Do you like your job?

Someone asked me the other day, if I liked my job. I took a breath and I thought about it for a moment. And then a moment later I answered with my standard response about the highs and lows and ups and downs of life as a midwife.

A few days went by, but I couldn’t shake this question from my head. It’s a question that I’ve been asked many times before, but this time I kept thinking about it, and replaying my answer. I felt dissatisfied, like I hadn’t done it justice. It lingered in my mind, and I knew that I’d answered it half-heartedly. Not that the person who had asked me was bothered. My answer had served the purpose in the moment, and to them I had answered the question. But for me, I knew that I hadn’t answered it from my heart. Anyone who knows anything about birth, or about being a midwife, knows that you cannot do it half-heartedly. Either you are in, or you are out. There is no place in the middle (or if you are hanging out in the middle, you probably need to be out).

Fast forward a few days and I am sitting at BINI Birth waiting for Gena Kirby to begin her Rebozo workshop (which deserves a whole new other post), wondering what the next few hours were about to bring. 6 hours later and I am sitting in tears, in complete awe of this woman, and I find that I have all the answers I will ever need to that question I’d been sitting with all week.

Over those 6 hours, I’d forgotten about any other part of my job that brought me down. Any negativity towards it had completely left my body. All I was left with was this raw realization, and this complete clarity as to why exactly I love my job. The workshop was amazing for so many reasons, but in Gena’s own words, ‘it’s not all about the robozo’. For me, it’s not even all about the birth. What stood out to me today, as if in bold neon letters above my head, is that, ‘it’s all about the journey’. I knew this already, but somehow what I experienced over those 6 hours, just reaffirmed it on such a deep level for me. It reinforced my belief that life is a journey, not a destination. It doesn’t matter where you go, or what turns you make, or even where you end up. It’s about how you feel in that moment in your life. In my job I get to watch peoples’ worlds unfold. I get to witness their hearts grow and open. I get to touch someone else’s version of love. I get welcomed in to these precious moments in their lives where everything changes. I get to be a apart of this rite of passage in to womanhood. I get to walk side by side with these women, along the well trodden path to motherhood. And to me, that is everything.

For me, there is no other job in the world that could touch that.

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Undisturbing Birth with Dr Sarah Buckley

Feeling very inspired and honored to have spent the day listening to and learning from the wonderful Dr Sarah Buckley today at BINI Birth, about our hormonal reproductive design for life in relation to birth. Amazing day spent surrounded with like minded people learning more about my life passions-good times!

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Pregnancy Photography

photo (10)In the last 3 weeks I have ‘midwifed’ and witnessed some of the most beautiful and inspiring births I have ever attended as a midwife, which have touched my heart in a number of ways. Sometimes as midwives we get so weighed down with the logistics and politics of our job, that it takes the shine away from the magical moments we have the privilege to share with our clients. 2013 has given me the strength and the opportunity to grow and really fly as a midwife, and I’m sure 2014 will be no different. I want to thank the families who have welcomed me in to their birth experience, I am grateful to you for allowing me the opportunity to spread my wings a little further. I love the lessens I get to learn through my work-it makes me feel humbled every day. I am entering 2014 with a new energy and passion for the work that I do.

#birth #midwife #GraceFull #lessonslifeteaches

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Pregnant Cross Fit Controversy

Image

I love how this one photo has sparked so much debate. What started off as an edgy alternative to the typical cutesy pregnancy pics, has gone viral across the globe! From LA to London, to China, Germany and New Zealand. It seems like everyone has something to say on the matter. Cross Fit’s Facebook page, where the photo was originally posted, has received over 16.5K ‘likes’ and 1.7K comments! Lea-Ann Ellison is now at the center of a media frenzy. She is being interviewed for newspapers and magazines (such as the Huffington Post, In Touch magazine, the London Metro and the Daily Mail to name a few) all over to tell her story and to give her thoughts on exercising whilst pregnant. She hopes that all this hype will bring attention to an important health issue. In her own words, “I can’t believe this photo has caused this much stir, but it makes me hopeful that it will inspire other strong healthy moms to continue on doing what they love.” (And, her midwives concur)!!

 

Photo by Nick Stern

 

The Sweet Truth

 

Does anyone else think the traditional oral glucose tolerance test to screen for gestational diabetes, is enough to put anyone in to a diabetic coma? For regular healthy women who are conscious about what they eat, this test is highly inappropriate.

Let me explain why…

Firstly, let’s go over some basic physiology to understand how a healthy body deals with the breakdown of sugar (glucose). As glucose is ingested, blood glucose levels rise almost immediately. The pancreas responds by secreting insulin. Insulin helps the liver store excess glucose as glycogen until it is needed. As blood glucose levels begin to fall a few hours later, the stored glycogen is converted back to glucose to provide energy until more food can be eaten.

What many people don’t realize is that during pregnancy the placenta produces the hormones Lactogen, Estrogen and Progesterone, all of which counteract the function of insulin. The placenta also makes potent enzymes that destroy Insulin. Why would that be, I hear you ask. The body suppresses insulin purposely to allow more glucose to remain available in the mother’s bloodstream for longer periods of time. This is known as ‘glucose sparing’. Glucose sparing increases as pregnancy advances, peaking during the third trimester when the fetus gains most weight and needs more nourishment to grow. In other words, at 28 weeks (the time gestational diabetes screening is performed) the body actively creates higher levels of blood glucose (the very thing the test screens for) so that it is available for the baby to use to support its growth in the last trimester. In the medical field this is seen as a malfunction, a glucose ‘intolerance’, however this is normal pregnancy physiology.

For those of you who are not familiar, I will briefly explain the procedure of the oral glucose tolerance test (OGTT).

  1. A woman fasts for (at least) 8 hours before the test
  2. Her fasting glucose level is taken via a blood sample to gain a baseline result
  3. She is given a sugary drink containing 100g of glucose (often with artificial colors and additives too) within 5 minutes
  4. Blood is taken at 1, 2 and 3 hour intervals after the drink is consumed

The problem with this test in women who don’t ordinarily ingest such high levels of glucose, is that their body is not used to handling the overload. The pancreas cannot produce sufficient quantities of insulin fast enough to meet the demand. Therefore levels become temporarily elevated until the pancreas has chance to catch up. This decreased carbohydrate tolerance is known as starvation diabetes. When the pancreas catches up with the glucose overload, insulin surges, and glucose levels plummet. This is called the rebound effect. This shock reaction is not true diabetes. A woman with a diet with a low intake of refined carbohydrates is at high risk of starvation diabetes.

Giving a woman a concentrated refined sugar load before testing is not recommended. She can have a physiological reaction to the glucose overload which can mimic diabetes. When the pancreas is presented with such high levels of glucose, not enough insulin can be produced fast enough to compensate. A temporary peudo-diabetes results, making results abnormally high. When the pancreas catches up insulin surges and blood glucose levels crash. This rebound effect actually mimics hypoglycemia. The period of time for this to occur varies, but often the 1-3 hour OGTT is not long enough to allow levels to come down to a normal baseline.

This test is bad enough to put the mother through, but think what effects this has on her unborn baby. Think carefully before willingly undergoing this seeming ‘harmless’ procedure.

Ask your health care provider for alternative screening methods.

 

One Week On…

This week has been like no other I have ever experienced.

Last Thursday marked the arrival of our beautiful baby boy, and although it’s only been one week since he made his peaceful entrance in to the world, I now can’t imagine life without him. One week in to motherhood, and yes, sleep deprived, sore, and covered in milk, it is still the most magical experience. I can’t help but stare at him sometimes as he sleeps, wondering what he dreams about, but also wondering how I got to be so lucky.

The birth was by far the most challenging experience I have ever encountered, both physically and emotionally, but I wouldn’t have had it any other way. The birth pushed me beyond limits I never knew I had. It pushed me through intense moments of fear, doubt, excitement, fatigue, pain and finally intense elation, joy and love. Surrounded by love and support, our baby boy was born at home in our bedroom, without intervention or medication, without being rushed, in exactly the way he needed to be born, which was important to me. I was supported with my amazing husband by my side, and fantastic Midwives who knew us both and knew our desires and wishes, and who I love and trust.

The whole experience has reinforced my belief not only in natural birth, but in nature’s design for life and the miracles our body can perform without instruction. As a mommy now, I know the birth of my son will only enhance my abilities as a Midwife, bringing another level of confidence to my practice, and help me to connect with the women I care for on a deeper level.

The journey was wild, but worth every moment. I look back on it with nothing but satisfaction, joy and love.

That Thursday one week ago, June 28th 2012, I will remember for a lifetime.

BirthMarkings

I came across this on Facebook, and it struck me as a fascinating topic, and one in which I’d say affects the majority of women in some way after the birth of their children.

Why is it that we have come to accept our pregnant bodies as a thing of beautiful which is celebrated and praised, yet we are so ashamed as a society of our post birth body.

Why is this subject never talked about?

Margaret Lazarus‘ film BirthMarkings explores our post-birth bodies, and how our self-image changes after giving birth. BirthMarkings reframes the concept of beauty and motherhood, raises important questions about body image, and reveals the incongruity of western standards of beauty with the natural process of pregnancy and childbirth.

How do you feel about your body since giving birth?

 

Related Topic – ‘Beautiful Whatever’

Eleanor Grace Palatucci

I feel privileged to be able to share this with you all.

Over the last few months I have had the honor of getting to know this beautiful, sweet family, and a few weeks ago, was lucky enough to be able to attend the truly moving birth of their second baby, Eleanor Grace….who is, by the way…GORGEOUS!

Eleanor was welcomed in to her home surrounded by the people who love her the most…Mom, Dad, big brother Leo (and of course, all of us lovely Midwives!)

This is their story…

Born at home

Video beautifully filmed by Paul Heber

A huge thank you to the Palatucci family for letting me be part of their amazing birth. It was a pleasure to be apart of your journey!

Path to Becoming a Midwife

Becoming a Midwife is a personal journey which goes far beyond medical training, textbooks and knowledge.

It is more than just a career choice.

It is a calling to something greater.

A passion and desire for a rewarding and meaningful career.

It has become more than just a job for me.

It has become part of my identity.

It is far more than Monday to Friday 9 to 5.

 

Related Article…

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