The Royal Derby Hospital where I did my Midwifery training in England, is leading the way in Midwifery led care after receiving a £224,000 make-over in order to create a ‘home from home’ environment within the birthing unit. The maternity ward now homes an in-hospital birthing center where low risk moms can choose to give birth with minimal intervention, in a homely environment. It is well document that the environment in which women give birth, has a huge impact on the progression of labor and a woman’s overall childbirth experience. Staff within the unit wanted to create an environment where families could receive one-to-one care from a midwife in a “private and friendly” setting, without emphasis on medical intervention.
Last year, the Government announced it was awarding the Derby hospital a grant of £224,000 to make improvements to its maternity department. The money has been used to install a second birthing tub. The second birth pool will be used by women considered ‘high risk’ in the hope that this will bring a sense of normality back to their pregnancies. A separate entrance to the birthing center has also been created, along with the addition of a kitchenette for families to use during labor. Improvements have also been made to the overall decor, adding mood lighting and murals to the rooms. Floor mats, colourful lights, birthing chairs, birth balls, music and aromatherapy treatments will also be available to help create an “atmosphere of tranquillity”.
Lets hope hospitals across the pond can follow in the same footsteps in the near future to help support moms to give birth naturally. Not everyone is suited to an out of hospital birth, and therefore may need or want to give birth in the hospital. These women should still be able to receive care in an environment which is welcoming, relaxing, and conducive to natural birth. As Midwife Sue explains, ‘ultimately, this is about giving women more choice when it comes to how they want to give birth. The birth rate is going up and we think it is really positive that we can offer this atmosphere of normality – with the option of medical support if mums need it.”
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
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.
I have come to realize over the last couple of months, that I am in fact, a ‘Crunchy Mama’.
It never really dawned on my before. I thought everyone was in to this kind of stuff. However as I’ve sat across the table from unsuspecting family members and friends, watching their horrified faces and raised eyebrows as I go on about my plans for a totally natural birth and encapsulating my placenta, or my desire to cloth diaper and take my baby to work…it got me thinking, that perhaps not everyone is as crunchy as me!
But that’s ok. I’m fine with being a crunchy mama. In fact I am rather enjoying it! I smile secretly to myself as I’m telling my holistic tales while the other person wishes they had never bothered to ask which hospital I’ll be birthing at!
Oh well, I love living in California and embracing this lifestyle!
I just came across a great description of what a homebirth is really about…
‘Home birth is about female empowerment, strengthening relationships between family and friends, and facilitating participatory experiences that put mothers in control, with the ultimate goal of safe and healthy deliveries less focused on technological intervention’.
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.
You’re a midwife?? That’s cool, I wanted to do that when I was a kid. What do you make?” “WHAT DO I MAKE?” I make holding your hand seem like the most important thing in the world when you’re scared, i can make your baby breathe when they stop. I can help you to survive a postpartum haemorrhage, I make myself get out of bed at 5am, so I can care for you and your partner on one of the most important days of your life, and am privileged to do so. I make my family wait for dinner, until I know your family is taken care of. I make myself skip lunch so that I can ensure everything I did for you today is documented. I make myself work weekends, nights, and holidays, because people don’t just birth babies 9-5 Monday – Friday. Today, I might save you, or your baby. I make a difference, what do you make?” REPOST if you are a very proud midwife. I am!
This week I was lucky enough to be able to go to the premiere of the new Business of Being Born documentary, More Business of Being Born, at the Laemmle’s Royal Theater in Los Angeles. As a Midwife, I believe that the first ‘Business of Being Born’ documentary has done a lot to open the eyes of the masses, and educate people about modern childbirth and the maternity system, not just in the States, but around the world. It discusses the huge and somewhat controversial (to some people) topic of homebirth, natural birth, cesarean birth, obstetric care, aswell as Midwives and Doulas-which to the average American, are professions most people had never heard of. I think it has played a huge part in educating people in a topic that they wouldn’t have ordinarily thought about. Most women of childbearing age today, only consider birth once they become pregnant. It is no longer something which is talked about amongst family and friends, or witnessed before becoming pregnant. Since birth left the home around 50 years ago, birth has become shamed, hushed and secret. Something that takes place in a hospital bed, behind closed doors, in private, so that no-one can hear you. As a society we are overwhelmed with images and stories in the media of dramatic, medicalized, traumatic births with emergencies around every corner, where women are passive participants in their care, following the doctor’s every order. These are the only images of birth we ever see. The ones which make the news, or bring in the ratings. This is our only perspective. These births are fictional! We need some reality, and not ‘Reality TV’, but REAL birth stories from REAL families.
I have certainly noticed in the 3 years since the first documentary came out, the awareness of these issues has greatly increased. Many of our clients come to us having watched it, saying that this was the catalyst which launched them in to looking at different alternatives to mainstream obstetric care, or that it made them realize they did have options, or it was recommended to them from a friend or colleague. The birth world in America, and in California especially is changing, and Ricki Lake and her team, have helped to put those wheels in motion.
The new Business of Being Born documentary is a series of 4 mini documentaries, covering various topics which felt needed further explanation. Although the first documentary was extremely informative, it still left people with questions such as, ‘What’s the difference between a Midwife and a Doula?’. Producers Ricki Lake and Abby Epstein hope that this follow-up series will help to fill in a few more gaps. They cover conversations with Ina May Gaskin (America’s leading Midwife), celebrity mothers talking about their birth experiences, Doulas, birth centres, Cesarean and VBACs (vaginal birth after cesarean).
At the premiere we watched only the second in the series, ‘Special Deliveries’, which includes an hour’s worth of testimonials from Christy Turlington Burns, Cindy Crawford, Alyson Hannigan, Melissa Joan Hart, Gisele Bundchen, and Alanis Morissette, all of whom describe a wide range of birth experiences, including some tellingly unhappy ones. Their voices fuse into a compelling chorus of maternal will and desire. None of them paint a picture of labor and birth as an easy ride, but they are honest and open about their emotions and their journey.
Even as a Midwife, I found it hugely inspiring to watch. It ignited my passion behind creating an alternative for women and their families. There is a greater issue behind all of this. It is not just all about homebirth, or natural birth, or the hospital. It’s about choice. Something we all have the right to.
‘So if you’re thinking of having a baby, do what more and more people are doing. See The Business of Being Born (and More Business of Being Born). And decide what to do for yourself’.
“Giving birth is our greatest power.”
Brooklyn based artist, Marni Kotak, believes ‘childbirth is the most profound work of art’ and that ‘we should embrace it’, so much so, that she decided to give birth in front of a group of strangers at the Brooklyn Microscope gallery, earlier this week. Her son, Ajax, weighing in at 9lbs 2oz, was born October 25th 2011. Kotak is no stranger to performances that might raise eyebrows. She has been presenting her life-as-performance art for more than 10 years. Kotak hopes others can appreciate the exhibit celebrating life as an art form.
“It’s amazing,” she said. “It’s beautiful. It’s the creation of life. Why should we hide that?”
What’s your take on it?
I just came across this video on YouTube.
Women and couples talk about the many roles their Midwives played throughout their pregnancies. In essence, they experience the Midwife as friend, support, and professional; in the end an advocate for their autonomous role as a mother