Monday, February 28, 2011

Homebirth After Emergency C-section

The following video is of the homebirth of a woman named Rebecca. It is a lovely video that captures the beauty of pregnancy, homebirth, and large families. The most inspiring thing about this homebirth is the fact that it occurred following an emergency c-section due to complete placenta previa.

Watch the video below and also read Rebecca's interview where she discusses why she chose homebirth, overcoming fear, support after cesarean, her involvement with the Normalizing Birth Project and more.

Henry's Birth from Steven James on Vimeo.

Saturday, February 26, 2011

Memories Of Susana's Unassisted Birth By Dee

In February, 2008, I had been in contact with Susana about her impending birth, she had mentioned that she may ask for me to attend. Any birth that I witness I consider a great privilege and honor.

In the wee hours of the morning Susana called and asked if I could come, we spoke about the timing and intensity of her contractions, she was very calm and detailed, I figured she had at least 4 more hours to go.

I immediately left to drive the 30 min to her house. When I arrived I met Robert for the first time, he was quietly arranging things for Susana's comfort and spoke with such gentle voices and calm demeanor I felt like he did not need my assistance. I spoke with Susana while she was in the tub, she at this point had already started moaning and yawing through her waves. Within 15 minutes of my arrival she was ready to push.

She was in control and spoke briefly in between contractions. I felt the need to encourage her onto her hands and knees, when I spoke she told me to hush.

She labored onto her hands and knees, and baby immediately crowned face first. After another push (possibly two?) Baby Boy was gently born into his Father's hands.

When Susana felt ready, we wrapped baby in blankets and she cleaned up and transferred to her bed. The placenta had not detached and with gently pushing and adjusting her position, she had no luck in getting the placenta out.

I was worried about infection, and I was inexperienced in how long to wait for a placenta to deliver without harm to mother. Cord had stopped pulsing for at least an hour and we felt she would be more comfortable if the cord was cut. Robert cut the cord and we diapered baby and wrapped him up . Everyone was so gentle and kind, When Robert woke the kids and told them their new brother had arrived he was such a gentle father, so loving and kind to all of his family, you could tell he was so proud to be a pappa!

After another hour we decided to transport Susana to the Trenton Hospital where they could help in delivering the placenta. We wrapped Susana up to stay warm and I drove her to the hospital. I knew then the reason I was needed, NOT to attend a birth, but to be a support to her in going to the hospital. The Dr. on staff was surprisingly neutral to her need. he did not make any derogatory comment that I remember, other than the hospital was not allowed to give her the placenta to take home .

She was able to argue that it was her organ and she had the right to take it home (to which she did.)

The confidence and peaceful environment were so impressive to me, the family was wonderfully supportive and I was impressed with how lovingly Susana's baby entered into his family.

Dee, friend, and witness of miracles.

Thursday, February 24, 2011

Breastfeeding Photos of Willow

These beautiful photos are of baby Willow, cuddled in yarn, adorned with a butterfly, enjoying mother's milk, adored by big brothers, and safely in daddy's hands. You can view a larger selection of Willow's photos by watching the video montage below.

I created the mosaic and video montage with photos courtesy of Tie-Dyed Doula. If you would like me to create a mosaic or montage for you (to be shared on Spirit-Led Birth) I would be happy to. Contact mamabaig at

Wednesday, February 23, 2011

Clearing A Newborn's Airway

Often babies are born with mucous clogging their mouth and airway. This hinders their breathing. A bulb syringe can be used to clear the passage. A bulb syringe is not the only way to clear the passages though. The method of "suck and spit" does the job, too. The following video beautifully exemplifies this.

Routine suctioning of babies is not necessary, or beneficial, however. California Midwife Ronnie Falcao writes the following on her Neonatal Resuscitation page:

I just wipe the baby off. And if you put her/him head down you can SEE the junk run out of his/her nose and mouth -- the natural mechanism is for the baby to drain and "spit" and THEN breathe, so i want to encourage it to happen that way.... (I "suspect" that suctioning -with a bulb- might make a baby try to breathe before it's cleared)....

How do I know whether to suction? The sign I use is real simple -- I gently touch the baby when just the head is out. If he purses his lips and looks like he's "trying to spit: then I figure all the reflexes are there and I'm not going to need to suction....

I finally figured out that suctioning and stimulation are great first steps in a baby who is a slow starter, but that a baby who clearly getting it together on his or her own doesn't need me to suction.... the baby seems to be quite capable of dealing with secretions on its own, and thus the suctioning is being done to make me feel better rather than because it is necessary. Now I wait, unless meconium is present. Then I suction on the perineum and afterwards, of course. But this in not the normal scenario.

From Henci Goer:

Routine suctioning is worse than useless; it's harmful. Evidence suggests that suctioned babies take longer to achieve normal oxygenation levels. Linda Smith has written about the adverse effects of suctioning on initiating breastfeeding. Suctioning c-sectioned babies isn't even logical. The problem is fluid in their lungs. Suctioning the nasopharynx isn't going to do a thing about that. Finally, it is now believed that meconium aspiration results largely from events occurring in pregnancy. Thanks to randomized controlled trials of suctioning for meconium, the sole remaining accepted indication is meconium staining and a nonvigorous baby--

Also from Ronnie Falcao:

Other important aspects to helping a baby breathe are:

  1. head extended with a straight neck so the airway is free (the tray provides a good surface for this if needed)
  2. mucus/meconium out of the airways
  3. head draining on mom's belly if needed after breathing established. Nursing helps bring up mucus as does crying.
  4. keep the baby warm and dry by changing blankets.
  5. homeopathics can help with resuscitation if you think of it. Carbo veg for a blue baby (also fetal distress-not enough oxygen via the placenta. Aconite for fear or fright, with a white baby, traumatic delivery. Laurocerasus for wet lungs, face blue, difficult breathing.

Tuesday, February 22, 2011

Spirit-Led Childbearing Now on Facebook!

I have just started a new Facebook page: Spirit-Led Childbearing. This fb page will encompass issues of pregnancy, childbirth, breastfeeding, motherhood, and emergency childbirth.

I hope you will "Like" the page and that it will be one more method to help inspire women to apply their faith to childbearing.

Friday, February 18, 2011

Spirit-Led Birth: Top 50 Natural Childbirth Blog

In 2009 Spirit-Led Birth was listed as a Top 50 Natural Childbirth blog by Now, in 2011 it has also been listed by as one of The Best Natural Birth Information Blogs and by as one of 80 Best Natural Birthing Blogs.

Spirit-Led Birth was begun in 2008 with this purpose:

"I believe that if most couples were to study the full spectrum of childbirth choices, then ponder and pray to know how God would have them birth, more people would birth through a more autonomous fashion and with greater self-responsibility than is the norm.

In regards to delivery, we must choose between an OB hospital birth, Certified Nurse Midwife attended birth, CNM attended at a birth center, lay-midwife homebirth, and medically unassisted homebirth.

I believe that only God can and should tell a couple where to birth. How will God convey this to you? Through a still small voice, a peaceful feeling and/or through a burning in your bosom.

I also believe that when the Spirit guides couples to homebirth, they are resistant to it because it goes against this societies' current traditions. Homebirth has been made to seem dangerous and an extremist approach, thus people who desire to know more or who come to believe in homebirth, face the stumbling block of fear.

So although I recognize that hospitals, technology and medications are beneficial to many, my blog is dedicated to: encouraging couples to employ less interventions during hospital birth; extolling the benefits of homebirth; and supporting those who have been guided to homebirth, yet must overcome fear."

Monday, February 07, 2011

Rising Premature Births And A New Drug

A new hospital-by-hospital study was released recently. It reported that the number of elective deliveries are on the rise, from 5 to 40 percent depending upon the hospital. A watch-dog group described the information as "extremely disturbing," and called on hospitals to limit early elective deliveries through establishing prohibitive policies.

The senior vice president and medical director of the March of Dimes Foundation, Alan Fleischman, said that elective "deliveries can be grave" because, "Babies born just a few weeks early have feeding problems, jaundice, inability to hold temperature and tremendous increased costs. Every week counts."

The report discussed the many health problems that premies face, including a higher risk of death, as well as life long health problems.

Some of the reasons cited for elective deliveries are concerns that the mother is overdue, medical inductions, a mother's desire to get her pregnancy "over with," and lastly, concern that the baby is too large. Alan Fleischman stated that "large babies aren't a valid reason for early deliveries."

The hospital watchdog group's CEO stated that, "Every woman in America needs to know [information on a hospital's early elective delivery rate] before she enters the door of a hospital."

Interestingly, just as the rise in the number of elective deliveries, (which can cause babies to born prematurely,) is being reported, a new drug to prevent premature delivery has just been approved by the FDA. reported in 2010 that there was a 20 percent rise in premature births from 1990 to 2006 due partly to induced labors and cesarean sections. Apparently, doctors aren't exactly sure what causes 50 percent of premature births. They believe that infections in the mother's body and genetics may be a cause. They also site social and lifestyle factors.

These factors are a woman's eating and drinking habits, her stress level and her income. Additional factors that increase the risk of premature birth are, "smoking, alcohol consumption, drug use, high levels of psychological or physical stress during pregnancy, and improper prenatal care increase the risk of preterm birth." According to the March of Dimes, "being underweight, having diabetes, or being pregnant six to 18 months following a previous pregnancy might raise the risk."

Living in high poverty areas also increases a woman's risk of preterm delivery since she may have limited access to health care, or her health may not be a priority while housing and employment are.

Wednesday, February 02, 2011

Birthing In An Upright or Vertical Position

One of the things that I needed to learn in order to give birth without pain, is that birthing while lying on your back, or in the supine position, is the worst position to birth in. This position works against gravity, and actually hinders birth and causes the laboring woman pain.

Once I learned that women can birth while sitting, standing, or on all fours I was liberated! From the bed and from pain! My first two births, (which were hospital births,) were conducted in a bed. For the rest of my 5 births I never once lie in a bed. During my first homebirth I went to lie in bed, out of habit I guess, and as soon as I lie down I felt pain so I got out the bed and never got back in!

I left the bed and I came up with a wonderful position for labor. I stacked large throw pillows on the end of the bed. Leaning onto the pillows I swayed my hips back and forth. This was very soothing and I know it helped my son to descend as well as helped me dilate. I could feel how productive this position and movement was.

During that birth I delivered my son in a sitting position. I was on the floor on cloths, leaning back against a recliner chair, and I just leaned to the side a little with my knees bent when it was time for his head to emerge.

During my fourth birth my husband rigged from the ceiling something for me to hold onto and dangle from. I did use this although my son was born while I was down on all fours.

With my fifth birth I was laboring in the tub when I had the sensation that I needed to get out the tub. I went from the tub to standing, leaning over the sink. Our daughter was immediately born into her daddy's hands.

My sixth baby was born while I was on hands and knees. My husband was behind me and caught her with a pillow I believe.

My seventh child was born while I was on all fours in the bathtub.

I recently visited my Latina acquaintance, Enith Hernandez's website. I am so glad that I did! On her site she shared this amazing video that is in Spanish. Because I don't know enough Spanish to translate it all, using Google Translator I have translated most of the text.

The video is entitled, "Humanized Birth: Retrieving the Vertical Position."

"A woman should have her baby in the position she chooses."

"Walking and moving freely makes the baby's head push the cervix to produce more oxytocin."

"Dancing soothes the mama and favors the production of endorphins. Childbirth is less painful."

"The movement and pressure of the baby relax the pelvic floor muscles and facilitates dilitacion, rotation, and descent."

"With movement the contractions are more effective, you can share with your partner, and the waiting time is more pleasant."

"The birth canal, when the baby descends becomes wider, there is less trauma and possibilities of complications."

"The mother is the protagonist, has an active role and can change position and adopt the best position."

"Women throughout history have opted instinctively for the vertical position at the time of delivery."

"The vertical position makes for more effective uterine contractions, avoids using synthetic oxytocin (pitocin). Less risk."

"The vertical position causes the mother to feel more comfortable. It facilitates the encounter with her baby."

"By finding the most comfortable position and physiological delivery occurs naturally, cesareans are avoided."

"A physiological position allows uniform and spontaneous dilation of the perineum, avoiding episiotomy and tears."

"When mothers opt to have their baby on their knees, there is less pressure in large vessels and a better oxygenation to the baby."

"A woman may choose to hold onto a sheet which is done in indigenous communities since time immemorial."

In conclusion women should choose the position, with liberty and peace, but the question arises:"

"If the vertical position is the most convenient (for mothers), why do they continue lying mothers down during labor and delivery?"