Skip to content

Posts tagged ‘birth story’

Wordless Wednesday~ Twins

Yesterday I saw the BEST Twin talk video which I will put at the end of this post..

But first….. I wanted you all to have a look at some luscious twin breastfeeding photos I found on Google. I am in a twin mood today.


This has had over 2 million hits on YouTube!


America Scores a “D” on the Premature Birth Report Card


Hello Everyone

I haven’t disappeared… I’ve just been too busy outside for computer time!

This is a copy of a letter I received today trying to

spread the word

about Prematurity in this country……

Today is the release of the second annual Premature Birth Report Card, and I wanted you to hear the news from me: America receives a “D.” As a country, we are failing to give our babies the healthy start they deserve.

Your state has received its own report card. I’m afraid you’ll agree we have a long way to go. In fact, before the end of this year, more than half a million babies will be born too soon, some very sick.

It’s Prematurity Awareness Day® — the day when we’re all focused on the terrible toll of premature birth on babies and families. The report card reminds us how urgent the problem is. But with the support of people like you, we can continue to fund lifesaving research and programs.

If you haven’t already, I hope you’ll visit our Web site and join the fight for preemies.


Dr. Jennifer L. Howse


No VBAC’s Banned: So Far so Good

iStock_000004564778Small My little hospital is not one of those hospitals which has banned VBAC’s.

We’ve been doing VBAC’s since 1984. Here is our first VBAC story. You may have read and heard that some places had specific policies against a mother attempting a VBAC.  There is really only a small percentage of women who truly are not a good candidate for a vaginal delivery after a cesarean. (Having a previous vertical incision in the uterus for example). There are several places a mother can go to for facts, scientific research, honest information and support if her provider or hospital has denied her an opportunity to VBAC. If this has happened to you, it will be important to do your homework, get the facts and have a really good conversation with your provider. It is important to make an informed choice weighing your benefits and any potential risks.

We do just under a thousand deliveries a year.

From January through July 2009~

We had a 100% successful VBAC rate!!!!

We had 2 mom’s last month that ended up having to go for a cesarean after labor began. I don’t know all the numbers but I had looked over the perinatal data sheets yesterday and I was so very happy to see how we were doing.

Let’s hope we keep it up!


A Wonderful Day in the BirthingHood

What a great fun day in the world of birthing.
The first words I heard at work today were words that I just love to hear when used in this sequence….

“Section’s Canceled”


Her Cesarean had been scheduled because her baby had been in a transverse lie position…. for weeks.  However–> this smart little genius baby had positioned his little self into a beautiful head down position before arriving at the hospital this morning! Mom was also contracting regularly and was 3 cm dilated. This was her second baby, first exam of the day, so she hung out for a while until it was clear she was continuing to make cervical changes and labor was underway.

A few others decided it was their time to make an appearance today. One baby boy was a couple weeks early and another a few days over 41 weeks.

Ever hear that things sometimes happen in 3’s ??

 As luck would have it, 3 young men decided to be born within 15 minutes of each other! All 3 were spontaneous vaginal deliveries. All 3 boys were breastfeeding within that first hour and 1/2 … not bad!

All the moms were so happy with their birth experiences. All the babies were healthy. The staff worked really well together. Our midwife was awesome! The doctors were fun, funny, thoughtful and kind and made really good patient centered decisions.

It was just an all around wonderful day in the birthinghood!



Not your Usual Birth Plan



A birth plan is usually a written plan from the mother to her caregivers describing her wishes, what type of options she’d like to take advantage of, things she would like to happen thru out her labor and birth, what things are important to her as she experiences birth.  There are various resources out there to help a new mom explore options and formulate a plan.. especially for a hospital birth.  It is important that the mom review this with ALL her care providers AND especially the L&D nurses…. the advocates who help you actually realize the goals with in your plan. I have a fellow L&D nurse blogger who has done extensive research on the topic and wrote a 2 part series on Writing Your Birth Plan- Tips from an L&D Nurse over at nursingbirth. I would highly recommend you check it out especially if you plan on a hospital birth.

Many times these birth plans accompany a mom’s prenatal chart weeks in advance of her birth. Over the years there has been a gradual acceptance of the plans in my facility where historically, there had been much resistance for the mother’s input what so ever.  Much like the attitudes towards homebirth…. The doctors or nurses would casually peruse the plan then toss it aside and have a good laugh…. saying…. ” oh- she’ll end up a section for sure!”  Unfortunately, they were often right about that– many of those early birthplans never seemed to go as mom wanted, giving the staff fodder for snide comments and remarks. Sad but true. 😦

Recently, we recieved a birth plan that was not at all like any other.  Maybe some of you have seen plans like this… maybe some of you actually wished for births like this…. Hey~ who am I to judge? …. I am only here to help,  it isn’t my birth.

Her Birth Plan requested:

  • Pain medication as soon as possible….. I prefer to have an epidural as soon as possible
  • Please do not try to make me have breathing patterns through contractions… I’m afraid I’ll be too nervous
  • If a Cesearean is needed, please put me to sleep
  • I want only my mother with me in the labor and delivery of my baby
  • When the baby is born, I do NOT want to touch him until you clean him off
  • You can do his eye ointment and Vitamin shot, bath and all procedures before I hold him
  • I want to hold him wrapped in a blanket, not skin to skin
  • I want the baby to be in the nursery as much as possible at night so I can rest
  • I want to feed my baby formula from a bottle. I don’t want to breast-feed
  • I want to stay in the hospital for the whole allotted time so I can rest

My first thoughts were… Sweetheart, you could have ALL THIS without even asking!” ……..

Sadly, despite all efforts to improve,  …  things still happen exactly like this for many births.  We just don’t usually see it written out as a formal request or plan!  At least this is how this mother wanted things to happen.

This little mommy came in and delivered vaginally. Her plan was very easily carried out. 😉  I am very happy to report that she and her son were healthy and she displayed very postive interaction with him. Very loving and caring. She was very very happy with her birth and with being a mother!

That is all that really matters in the end.  Options– and what you as an individual would like to have for your birth. How much education she had before chosing these options… I’ll never know.

 Now I am asking the rest of cyberspace world.. have you ever seen birth plans like this???

A Formula Rep turned my Maternity Leave Injury into a new career as an IBCLC? Really?


My contribution to this fabulous Carnival of Maternity Leave  , is a story of how during my maternity leave, an injury occurred leading to a career change specializing in Lactation… ! It starts with the birth of my third and last baby…… A  girl….. (after 2 boys) was also born by C-Section.. a first for me.

Well– first, let  me back up a few years… I’ve had a potpourri of maternity leaves. I have been a Maternity/L&D/Nursery since the mid 70’s.  I always worked full time and had never entertained thoughts of staying home with my children once they were born because the USA didn’t assist in providing any type of viable option for families who rely on two incomes or single moms with one income.  Prior to FMLA,  maternity leave was pretty much up to the employer as far as I understand it. The USA doesn’t offer any paid leave (unless offered by individual employer). For my first baby in 1979- I took 7 .5 weeks and went to a weekend 12 hr shift job which at least allowed me 5 days each week with him. 

 When my next baby was born in 1985, I worked at the same facility I am now. We were allowed to save up ALL Vacation, Holiday, and Sick time to be used collectively with your hospital allowed 12 weeks off.  I was able to have 5 1/2 months total, partially paid time to be with my new baby. Since he had to have surgery at 3 months, I needed that time and could have used more.. My leave was actually supposed to end on Christmas day (YUK).. however, they graciously allowed me to come back on the 26th… also his first day in Day Care. 😦

So back to my third baby in 1988~I had had a C/S — (that’s another story).  I had to be hospitalized for 10 days after the surgery with a whopping infection. A fresh incision and chills with a temp of 103.8 do not go well together! [Nurse Curse] Anyway, I made it thru–> healed and returned to life as a mother of three. The same type of collective accumulated paid hours were allowed withthe hospital’s offered 12 weeks. I didn’t have as many hours saved up as last time but was hoping for the best length of time.  One day in church, I held my little 2 month old baby girl on my shoulder with one hand, while using the other to hold the hand of my active 3 yr old boy as we made our way down the aisle. Suddenly, my boy squealed with delight and whipped over in a different direction. I held my daughter and did a sudden twist and reach for my son as he squirmed away. I immediately felt something “give” in my back.

It took a few days for me to feel the true extent of the injury. I thought it was just a little pulled muscle. After a 5 hour drive to my sister’s for a family visit, I ended up writhing on the floor with the unstoppable intractable “fire hot poker” pain of full blown sciatica…. all down my right side. I had to go to the hospital ER away from home, unfamiliar doctors, for help and drugs! Boy, I needed relief. As explained to me by the doctors… this was not the same as sciatica from many other causes. This was a swollen inflamed sciatic nerve… we didn’t know why yet.  The only thing helping at that point was medication and ice.. a lot of ice. I still insisted they give me meds I could take while breastfeeding, so they weren’t too strong.

I got home, went thru an MRI and diagnostic process, different doc’s, different opinions. I had a disc “blow-out” with”free extruded disc fragments” at L5-S1. Some felt surgery was needed immediately, others said to wait.  After careful consideration, we decided to wait and do some conservative type treatments with oral and epidural steroids. I still had to heal well enough to work, though. I spent many nights crying and wondering HOW I could work ??? How could I go and be on duty…running all over to keep up with the pace, helping people thrulabor and delivery…respond to emergencies…how?? I could barely care for my family! I called many friends while I was on periods of bed-rest and had various treatments during the time I had left of maternity leave. (I eventually did have to extend the leave a couple weeks for more recovery. I ended up witha 5 month leave altogether). I was searching for ideas.. visions of something less physically taxing which could combine my knowledge of labor/delivery/postpartum and neonatal care….. and allow me to continue working. I was, after all, the major bread-winner in our family!

Finally, a friend came up with an idea. He was actually a formula and drug rep for Ross labs.. TRUE!! But he was a friend, had heard I was hurt and stopped by the house to see how I was. He was a rep to many hospitals in the NorthEast and had exposure to what else was going on– what other hospitals were doing.  This was 1988, only a few years after the emergence of the Lactation Consultant profession. I had never heard of it. Sometimes word traveled slowly (by pony express) and things changed slowly in my little neck of the woods. He encouraged me to check it out and gave me phone numbers of LC’s at some of his other hospitals. I was really excited! I called a few and found out more about the lactation profession and the relatively new Board exam given every year in July to gain the credential of IBCLC.  I was actually naiveenough to think I could take the exam with my current knowledge base!  HA! (Unfortunately, this is what many nurses with a little experience think…we think we already know it all! Ha!) 

I called one of the LC’s at a hospital not too far from me. We talked a while and I had my eyes opened as to the extensive and vast knowledge base needed to become a lactation professional. I launched a quest for the best way to gain this knowledge. I joined LLL and went to meetings. I made home visits with the local LLL leader. I wrote many letters, made many phone calls searching for some type of education program. (remember– no Internet back then!)

Finally I found the perfect program for me. There was a correspondence course offered to be done all through the mail and phone calls designed to be an 18 month course.  It was a Lactation Consultant Course offered by BSC Breastfeeding Support Consultants! (the link shown is for their current course) Back then, you could be called a Certified Lactation Consultant after completing the clinical practicum and final exam. Because of continued back problems, I started this course in early 1989, had to take a few months leave from the course and completed it in early 1991. I then went on to continue studying and sat for the IBLCE exam in 1993 earning  my IBCLC status!

I have always continued to work as a staff nurse. I found a corset style back brace and found the best balance possible between family, back pain, work and more pain. I was able to get the pain subdued with steroids to carry on with life. In 1992, during a particularly gruesome relapse, I eventually consented to a myleogram… something I had previously NOT wanted. They also did a CT scan while the dye was in place. These tests showed my right Sciatic nerve had been pushed way up out of place by the disc material. I consented to surgery by a fabulous neurosurgeon the very next day. It turns out, the disc was actually adhered to my sciatic nerve!! He had to meticulously excise it off the nerve!!  My post-op pain was minimal compared to the pain I had before surgery. I was able to go back to full duty in 8 weeks!

Over 20 years later, I am still working as a staff nurse and am now a CLC… Certified Lactation Counselor.  Becoming a breastfeeding professional has enhanced and fortified my life! I am immensely happy I have gone down this road. To think it all came about as a suggestion from a Formula Rep!?!?!

Hope all had a great WBW 2009!!

Hope all had a great WBW 2009!!

Mama needs “ME” time…. How do you guys do it all?

Birth and Breastfeeding Blog? I haven’t been doing much blogging.. Hmmmm……I feel somewhat guilty…….I mean I feel like I have a lot going on in my life… but ~

I don’t have small children….. mine are grown and gone… for the most part.

I don’t work 5 days a week….I work 3..but they are 12 hour shifts

I barely cook… at least no really complicated meals… I’m not a crunchy (didn’t even know what that word meant) organic earthy person.. I try to eat well but — the easier, the better…or frozen 😉 is ok with me!

I don’t scrub-clean my house….. I like things orderly so I straighten, manage the dishwasher, blow the dust off frequently used areas, but hey, I gotta clean the bathroom.. that’s a must.

My husband does all my floors and his own laundry….. everyone in my house has always done their own laundry. My husband is just NOT a needy guy at all! He’s my dreamboat.

I’m not really married to my work… so to speak — but I’ve always taught my family that I have to care for people all day long at work…so they need to be independent where they can and help care for all their own needs. Mama is always available for the important stuff or talks.

Mama simply needs “ME” time..and a lot of it! It renews my spirit and rejuvenates my energy. Sometimes I feel like a selfish be-otch.. but I KNOW I need it. I’m worse with out it.

Today I worked on several work projects here at home…  Some PowerPoint, outlines for projects in my Clinical Expert Applicant Curriculum…. Specifically on Evidence-Based Practice and research;  Project participation within my organization… (searching for compelling ideas to stir up others enthusiasm); Community involvement; Cultural Diversity; Service Excellence and Preceptor/Mentoring of new nurses. Just a little somethin-somethin.

Oh and I forgot to mention a little thing called.. WORLD BREASTFEEDING WEEK !!   August 1-7  (more on that very soon)

A lot of the blogs I read contain regular well researched posts. I have over a hundred posts still to read in my reader! I want to tell my stories but I don’t always have the energy to figure out ways to tell the essence of the story and change enough to protect the identities.

So I do a lot of thinking and dreaming about what I’ll write on this blog — without really writing. Don’t give up on me yet.    If you are looking for something really cool or inspiring..I have it inside me head.. I do… it’s in there — still waiting to be gracefully typed with two fingers….


I’m probably watching a movie, reading a book or going out to lunch.
Fellow Bloggers… How do you pour it out on to the pages? I have a fairy tale impression of you all.

JUST HOW do you guys do it all?? Come clean with me.. are you all magical self-less supermom wizards?

HomeBirth Transfer~ Doc says NO to C/S~

I wrote a few stories a few weeks ago because I was proud of my hospital that week– sorry I didn’t finish the stories until now……


~She lived about 8 -10 miles outside of town. “Ellie” was having her first baby at age 32.  First baby, first pregnancy, no risk factors…. an easy uncomplicated pregnancy. She had done some research, not extensively, judging from some of my conversations with her and her husband…but she knew what she wanted. She had made a beautiful plan with a CPM for a water tub home birth. This particular midwife has been doing home-births in my area for a long time.. (She was the one cowering in the L&D hallway in this story…). The story of how things progressed up to transfer to the hospital was told to us by both the mother, father and midwife. 

~Her labor started with regular contractions at 39 weeks. They progressed from early labor which lasted around 6 hours to a more active labor with contractions about every 2- 3 minutes.  Her cervix had dilated to 6-7 cm. This pattern of contractions continued for hours. Ellie was in and out of the tub, walking, dozing, in and out of the shower, squatting, doing many different position changes throughout the next 6 to 8 hours. When she was re-examined by her midwife, she had made no cervical change in all that time. This can happen sometimes, things can stall out and pick back up again. Ellie reported that the contractions may not have been as strong at that, so she wanted to wait it out, maybe nap. The baby’s heart rate checks were all good.

~Everyone rested about 2 hours … Ellie’s water broke (clear fluid)  about 1 am and her contractions got more intense. The CPM checked her cervix about 3 am and felt no change. She still was 6 -7 cm dilated and the head was at about -2 station. The midwife then brought up the idea of possibly transferring to the hospital. Ellie said NO! Is my baby alright? “Yes….” said her midwife.. “Then No..I’m staying here, — I can do this.”

~Back to the tub… In and out of the shower, total body massages.. contraction pattern the same with increased intensity…next cervix check at 730 am… still 6-7 cm. Now Ellie was tired. Really tired. Exhausted! The baby was great on all checks. Her midwife again brought up the transfer to hospital idea, talked to her about the possibilities of pitocin, epidural etc… Ellie was now wanting anything, agreeing with anything–to get this over with.

~She arrived at the hospital around 8- 830 am very upset. Her husband and midwife were with her and her CPM had all her prenatal care info. Some of the first words out of Ellie’s mouth were that she wanted an epidural and a Cesarean! The nurses on duty this morning were awesome! They calmed her down, had her hooked up to the fetal monitor and observed her contraction pattern and the fetal heart rate pattern response. The baby looked excellent! The midwife and hubby coached her through the contractions while the nurses gathered their admission data.  The doctor checked her and she was still about 6-7,  swelling of the cervix noted, about -1 station. Ellie asked him if he would please do a C/S and he said no… (yeah!).  He said that he felt the best option at this time was to do the epidural she was asking for and observe her contraction pattern… possibly add Pitocin. He talked to her so nicely and non-judgmentally. Many of the other docs would have taken her right into the OR with very little discussion of options. She had been 6-7 cm dilated for some approximate 16 hours.

~After the epidural, Ellie and her husband and midwife all slept. The doc did NOT start pitocin right away, he said that she may need to rest and the contraction pattern couldstart to become of better quality once she rested and was better relaxed. WOW! Where did this guy come from? I’m so amazed and happy and quite frankly, shocked. This was a newer OB here.. I wanted to ask him where he’d been all my life! I went in to talk to Ellie and introduced myself. I told her I was so sorry thingsweren’t progressing the way she had hoped and sorry she didn’t get to stay home. She thanked me and said at this point, she was ready for it to be over! I told her she was really quite fortunate to have this particular doctor on duty today. Except for one bad apple from the night shift just leaving when Ellie arrived, everyone was wonderfully supportive and accommodating. Ellie’s contractions indeed did start up in a better intensity pattern on their own….. however their continued to be a lack of progress.  Once again, she asked the doctor to get it over with now and please do a C/S. 

~The doctor said NO again! He explained that her uterus was probably tired and the quality/intensity of contractions just may not be what was needed for the job to get done. He explained that the fetal heart rate tracing was beautiful and her membranes had been ruptured less than 12 hours. No baby risks…  He felt it possible the baby merely needed to get in better position and the contraction quality needed to improve.. and then he would re-evaluate. Ellie agreed with renewed optimism. The pitocin drip was started. She didn’t need much before the contraction pattern got much stronger, longer and better quality.  He came to re-evaluate her only after these better contractions had been consistent for 2 hours. The vaginal exam revealed the cervix was the same ..still the same and possibly more swollen.  He said he felt the head was not as well applied to the cervix as it had been.. but still at -1 station. He examined her with and without a contraction. Same in his opinion. Ellie lost all her fight. Her support people rallied to help her, but she was now insistent.

~This time the doctor  said she certainly had reason to feel this way, had given this a great try. He told her he still felt she could try longer… that we could alter positions with the pitocin, keep her comfortable with the epidural and keep going… the baby was handling all this just fine. He did say that there was a possibility the baby had his head in a tilted position making it difficult to descend the birth canal. He then let it up to her and told her if she wanted the C/S, he would do it at this point.

~YES I want a C/S! Ellie exclaimed. We did the C/S about 3 pm… some 7 hours after transfer and approximatelyclose to 24 hours of being 6-7cm dilated. Her gorgeous 7 lb baby boy was delivered operatively with apgar scores of 9 and 9. Pink and vigorous! Beautiful. I was able to get him skin to skin in the OR.. that was one of the first times all the players didn’t object and I went with it! (It won’t be the last….and next I’m trying for breastfeeding on the OR table!) Upon delivery, the OB noted the baby had been acynclitic . This is when the head is tilted to the side, ear towards the shoulder.  It is probably responsible for her long stall in labor. The OB still felt she could have delivered vaginally given time and good management. I am just so happy he was there.  I am proud of this mom, her partner and midwife and of our whole team! This mom was able to make good educated choices about her care despite dealing with the stress of a transfer.. and was able to feel so very very proud of how hard she tried.

In the end it was her…… who gave in to the C/S … not her doctor. 

Of that we can be proud


No Prenatal Care? …..What are YOU Hiding??

No Prenatal Care is usually a symptom of something--hiding some type of underlying problem. Sometimes it's very ugly. The most common encounters we have involve illicit drug use during pregnancy. We need to develop a comprehensive Maternal and Neonatal Drug Screening protocol to protect the newborn.

Read more

OB Docs and Nurses Scoff at Homebirth

My community hospital’s views have never been in favor of any type of home-birth… whether it’s with a skilled professional  practitioner or a skilled lay midwife. There could have been some free unassisted births going on but we were not aware….  As I grew-up in this profession, I learned first from my experienced counterparts…then I began to educate myself and learned a lot from mothers and babies.  The doctors and nurses I worked with were all stagnant in their knowledge in my early years. They were satisfied with how things were.  I was young, I had an open-minded philosophy and an eager quest for knowledge.

In the later 70’s, just when we began to have mothers speak out and request a more natural childbirth, I had a few friends who enlisted the aid of some lay midwife in the region and arranged for homebirths. They all had a really nice birth experience without a single complication. Perhaps that was why I was open to the idea even though I was not personally involved. Besides some of the truly prepared couples who came in and had incredibly beautiful births….. that had been my first exposure as an alternative option to the knock’em out–pull’em out births I had been working with on the job. I knew my friends were very low-risk and had done their homework. 

   However, the hospital’s exposure to a homebirth in those days was only if the homebirth went awry for some reason or another and they came in our doors seeking help…  here’s what the docs and nurses would say to one another :

  • “Can you believe she planned to deliver at home???”
  • “How could she take take a chance like that with her baby?”
  • “The reason people started coming to hospitals to give birth was because mothers and babies were dieing at home….she must be crazy or totally insane!!”

   We’ve had planned homebirths come in for various reasons, as I am sure other facilities did…. (keep in mind that in my area, the usual birth attendant was a lay midwife). The situations bringing the mother to the hospital were often scary and upsetting for her. The most common were:

  • Fetal heart rate decels with or without meconium stained fluid 
  • Lack of progress with pushing mostly after many hours..
  • Higher than normal bloody show or bleeding–possibly abrupting
  • Breech, brow or face presentation
  • Retained placenta

Often the OB’s didn’t handle themselves well.. certainly not professionally. We had this one OB who would call for the OR to be opened before he even examined the patient or evaluated the situation…..regardless of why they came in.  And he often actually yelled at the mother, in the middle of her scary situation.

“Your baby will die if we don’t do an emergency C/S right now, why did you let this happen!”

Most often the backlash was directed at the midwife who cowered in the hallway- uninvited by the staff, left alone detached from her patient. She never left the unit though until she was afforded the opportunity to visit and speak to her patient. 

The two significant situations I remember which would fall in to statistical data for morbidity were:

  1.  An abruption which resulted in a crash C/S upon admission and a neonatal resuscitation with good response….(final apgars 3@one min then 7@ five min) positive overall outcome, no long term sequelae.
  2. A birth where the father (a chiropractor) was the birth attendant for his wife, a multip, encountered a shoulder dystocia and the baby ended up with a displaced fractured left humerus. That baby was in a crib with traction to realign the bone. The child went on to be an honor student at a local university after homeschool.

I feel that instead of the midwife or mother receiving hostility (or even the mother being wisked away to the OR without a trial of something if the baby was deemed stable..)~ the staff should have behaved in a compassionate professional manner, acting on any urgent situation with consideration that this mother is now experiencing not only labor but fear and grief over the loss of her beautiful planned birth.

Despite all the negativity from the staff, we never had a seriously bad outcome from attempted homebirths arriving on our doorstep.  We still have attitude problems, probably always will~ just as we do with breastfeeding.  I wish they could  look at it from my perspective. Those who choose homebirth today have better information to hopefully make an educated informed decision about their birth options and choose wisely. I really like Ricki Lake’s “The Business of being Born” among other’s. I hope those choosing homebirth are truly investigating all these options, deciding what is best for them and not making any decisions out of “anger at the system” or any sort of revolutionary zeal.  

  There is so much out there for medical professionals to be aware of other than what goes on in their tiny little realm, their little part of the world. My co-workers and doctors need to be better informed.  

Any one bad outcome (which most certainly happens in the hospital)  does not mean that every homebirth is a bad idea.