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Category Archives: Birth

Negotiating Laborland

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She could take me down with her pinky finger.

Her body was strong.  Her mind was sharp.  She carried a gun.

Thankfully not during her labor.

Her motto was “To serve and protect.”

When I walked into her home, shaking off the adrenaline from my speedy drive, I found her deep in her labor dance.  She was leaning over her bed and swaying her hips.

Things had moved rapidly since I’d visited her that morning.  That morning we had laughed about her spacey contractions and she prepared to go shopping.

It was 4pm.

The first words she said, “I’m not strong like you.  I can’t do it.”

“Crazy talk.  You are MUCH stronger than I am.  And you ARE doing  it.”

Her husband, who also carried a gun, was mastering the fine art of the double-hip squeeze.  I caught his eye and sent him telepathic messages:  she is close.

And she was.  I arrived during mom’s transition stage; when her body was releasing adrenaline to prepare for pushing.

And there was a problem.  This beautiful police officer, in that strong police officer voice that I’ve spent a lifetime respecting says, “I want an epidural.  I am not leaving this room.  I’m absolutely not getting in the car.  I can’t.”

I look to her husband but he is suddenly very involved in double hip-squeezing.

I’m on my own.  My usual pep talk with murmurs of encouragement fly out the window.  This woman is practical.  I give it to her straight.

  • A) I’ll call a midwife and we’ll have the baby right here.
  • B)  I’ll call an ambulance.
  • C)  We will walk to the hospital you did not want to use (1 mile away)
  • D)  We walk downstairs, get in the car, and drive to your hospital and your doctor.  (45 minutes away)

Negotiations begin.

I know we don’t have time for negotiations.  I channel my inner police officer.

I send Dad to load and cool the car.  He also fortifies himself with a Red Bull.

When Dad returns, I give him “the look” and I run to transfer my things to their car.  This birth will be my first time driving the getaway car!  Usually I follow in my car but this one is too dicey.

Somehow Dad gets her into the car and we’re off.

I’m driving two police officers to the hospital.  And one is pushing!

Holy cow, what a ride.  Mom is on her knees with her faced smushed up to the window.  Dad is still rocking the double-hip squeeze.  I’m handing back a chux pad in anticipation of her water breaking.

We were still a good 25 minutes from the hospital when the pushing sounds began.

Then I hit stupid Wade Hampton Rd.

When I pull up to the hospital doors, I jump out, grab mom, and bolt.  I hear knocking and look back to find Dad stuck in the backseat which can only be opened from the outside!  I rush back and let him out.

We get upstairs, there is flurry, there is some chaos.  Mom is a VBAC so there is extra flurry and extra chaos.  I catch the eye of a nurse I know and mouth “which room?” while Dad deals with check-in.  She points and I go.  As soon as we walk in, Mom’s water breaks.  I strip her clothes and toss on a gown.

She crawls into the bed on her knees.  Baby crowns.  I hear one of the nurses say to another, “I’ve never done one in this position.”  Too late.

The nurse receives the baby, mom flips overs and takes baby.  No one clamps the cord until the OB arrives 10 minutes later.  I guess the OB has to have something to do, right?  She doesn’t even get to suture since Mom’s perineum is perfectly intact.

Baby was born 15 minutes after we pulled in.

This woman’s first birth:  a 40 week induction + cesarean + NICU.

Second birth:  a quick birth without assistance.

I think that women can be just completely surprised by the change in them from giving birth—you have something powerful in you—that fierce thing comes up—and I think babies need moms to have that fierceness—you feel like you can do anything and that’s the feeling we want moms to have.” –Ina May Gaskin, midwife


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I haven’t done one of these in awhile.

Adoring: my May clients. Two beautiful families. Their births will be extraordinary.

Listening to:

Proud of: my students and the amazing, outside-the-norm births they experience!

Never Leaving Home Without: My LifeFactory bottle filled with coconut water, chlorophyll, and lemons.

Appreciating: coffee

Nostalgic about: gluten. Oh how I miss it. I’ve been gluten-free for four whole days.

Reading: Little Women with Norah. The Easter Bunny is bringing her tickets to the musical.

Buying: Vitamins and herbs. This family is consuming some serious supplements of late.

Drinking: green tea. Trying to get three cups a day.

Working on: A new blog look. This one has long grown stagnant.

Wishing: Cedar would decide to poop on the potty. I threw away a cloth diaper the other day because I just couldn’t make myself clean it. Shhhhh…don’t tell anyone.

Giddy about: hmmm. I can’t think of anything. I need more giddy in my life of late.

Feeling: Heavy for my dear friend who will be sending off her Airman to faraway places.

Missing: my computer. It crashed last night. As much as I would like to say the iPad satisfies, it falls short in areas like blogging, creating Facebook events, creating documents, working with media files. I would like to insert a picture in this post. Alas, I don’t know how.

Grumpy that: my poor missionary sister in Cambodia gets to see Hunger Games before I do.

To be astonished

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Let me keep my mind on what matters,

which is my work,

which is mostly standing still

and learning to be astonished.

–Mary Oliver

New Birth Story!

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I added a beautiful birth story to the collection.  This Hypnobabies birth was with the new Greenville Midwifery Care at GHS.  It was mom’s first baby!  Get a kleenex before clicking over.

Redux: Birthy Posts from the Past

So You Want to be a Doula (2008)

Preparing for a Smooth Hospital Birth (2009)

Doulas and Cesarean Birth (2011)

Dads and Doulas (2010)

Sacred Moments (2011)

I Heart My Perineum (2010)

A Word or Two about Homebirth (2009)

Accepting Your Birth Environment (2009)

Why I Wish Doulas Didn’t Exist (2008)


New Blooper Added

Added number ten to the Blooper Page:


10) I was the first to arrive at a homebirth.  When I walked in, I noticed all the signs of labor:  childbirth books open on the floor, half-eaten dinner on the table, hypnosis script playing, tub full of water.  But I did not find signs of the couple.  I searched every room in the house.  Looked in the backyard and garage.  Called out, “hellooooo?”  Where were they?  Ambulance transport?  I called the midwife who was on her way and said, “What is going on??”  She was as shocked as I was.  Then the dad pokes his head down the stairs and waves.  I hang up with the midwife and rush upstairs.  And still couldn’t find them!!  Looked in all the rooms again.  Turns out I was standing three feet away (twice!) but didn’t see them in a tiny space around a corner.  P.S. she had her baby an hour after I walked in the house.

Sword swallowing and sphincters

Yesterday, I listened to a podcast on sword swallowing. No, I’m not considering a new career in the circus. Just curious about how it works.

Turns out sword swallowers can control the involuntary muscles in their esophagus. They train the gag reflex to stop working. How? I mean, the gag reflex is controlled by the brain stem! The brain stem controls reflexes. The sword swallower triggers the gag reflex over and over until it stops working. Then the sword swallower learns to relax the involuntary muscles of two sphincters–one at the top of the esophagus and one at the base. This control allows the sword to enter the stomach.

I’m absolutely amazed at this ability.

Some sword swallowers even drop a sword into their throat (or, in one case, shoot it from a gun!). To keep it from, you know, killing them, they “catch it” by contracting their esophageal muscles and sphincters.


You know where I’m going with this, yes?

The cervix is a sphincter. Can we train it? How? I would have women lining up to take my class if I unlocked the secrets of the sword swallowing sphincter tricks.

Maybe I need to buy tickets to the circus.

Overheard at a homebirth

I take notes during births.  I like to record comments.  Usually I get some funny ones.  Occasionally a few “you did this to me” from mama to papa. 

Here are all the notes I recorded from a recent homebirth.  I arrived 2.5 hours before baby so these were all spoken in active labor.  And mom is not a Hypnobabies student.  🙂 

“What a magical time.”

“Gimme some lovin'”

“I can’t believe how natural this feels.”

“I love you.”

“It feels good.  How can it feel this good?  It is %*#&$ great!”

“Why do I feel it is easy?”

“So easy, easy, easy, so easy.”

And then after the birth, “I don’t know if that birth could have been any more blissful.”

The question is:  Do our positive words, feelings of love, and gratitude to partner/support team create an easier birth?   Or does an easy birth create the positive words, love, gratitude?

New Classes

Childbirth Crash Course:  Around the holidays, it can be a challenge to fit in a class or even find a series offered. This class will cover the basics–stages of labor, comfort tips, and as much as I can cram in 2.5 hours.  Great refresher course or last minute childbirth class.  December 3 at 9:30am.  50.00/couple. 

Natural Baby Parenting Series:  I’m excited to teach this series for Natural Baby.  Beginning Nov. 15, six Tuesdays of classes for new or expectant parents.  Couples/Individuals may register for individual classes or the entire series.  20.00/couple/class or 80.00 for the entire series (must be paid in advance).  6pm-7:30pm.  Here is the schedule:

Nov. 15: “Try to See It My Way: How Babies Communicate” (newborn behavior, birth bonding, attachment theory, soothing skills, and finding balance)

Nov. 22: “Breastfeeding” (initiation, physiology, common issues, finding help, returning to work)

Nov. 29: “Now What? The First Six Weeks” (care for mom and baby, baby basics, postpartum concerns, creating a lying-in, jaundice, circumcision, and vaccine choices)

Dec. 6: “Sleeping Like a Baby” (the normal course of infant sleep, nighttime parenting, circadian rhythm, and naps)

Dec. 13: “Having a Baby without Breaking the Bank” (creating a smart baby registry, DIY tips, cloth diapers, going green can be budget friendly, what is safe to buy second-hand, top toxic products you don’t need)

Dec. 20: “Parenting the First Year” (solid-feeding, safety, teething, discipline, learning through play, development)

Positive Discipline and Toddlers:  Dec. 10 from 10am-noon at Natural Baby.  20.00/couple. 

Register by emailing or rsvp’ing on Natural Baby’s facebook page as events post.

A Doctor Writes a Birth Plan

Guess who has started blogging! Check out Dr. Polo Shirt’s thoughts on birth plans.