And I Quote…

January 30th, 2010 § 0 comments § permalink

“We have not lost faith, but we have transferred it from God to the medical profession.” —George Bernard Shaw

Pondering this quote…

Labor for First-time Moms

January 14th, 2010 § 0 comments § permalink

This was a hand-out I made for the childbirth class I’m teaching this January/February. I had fun writing it. I hope it might be helpful to some of you. 🙂 Blessings!

“Is this baby ever going to come?”
Yes. Your baby will come, and it is much better for your body, and your baby to determine that timing, than for you to try to “make it happen”. Many labors that begin with inductions (an attempt to start labor with drugs, or by breaking the mother’s water), in the hospital, end in a cesarean section for “failure to progress”. In the vast majority of those cases, it wasn’t that the mother’s body failed, but their body wasn’t ready for labor in the first place!
Although we don’t fully understand what exactly causes labor to naturally start, we do know that both the mother and the baby are involved in the process. Trying to get labor going when mother’s body isn’t ready, and baby isn’t ready—even with natural means and methods isn’t the greatest idea, although mighty tempting sometimes with the baby is “late” by the estimated due date. (Remember that just because you’re using “natural” stuff to induce yourself doesn’t make it risk-free.) Every mother and every baby are different, and some of those little ones need to “cook” a little longer than others. The average length of time for a first-timer to carry her baby is 41 weeks, 1 day. And being stressed about when you are going to go into labor actually can hinder that process; stress releases adrenaline into your system, which inhibits the start of labor. So put away the castor oil, come in after your walk, take that warm soaky bath and remember that labor will begin when the time is right…

Labor Begins!
The beginning of labor for first-time moms is usually a time of great anticipation, excitement, and just a little trepidation. Usually at the first signs of labor, I get a phone call from the expecting mother; she will usually tell me what is happening, and then ask, “So is this labor?”
The most important thing for new mothers to remember is to try to ignore labor as long as possible when it does start, and rest! I cannot emphasize this strongly enough. When you realize that the most common reason for transport to the hospital is because a first-time mom gets tired during a long (specifically prolonged labor) and can’t keep going, this advice begins to make more sense. Usually your first labor will be your longest, so be prepared!
Make sure you are getting plenty of rest in the weeks before your due date, and don’t go to bed late. (I know, this is also when you’re the most uncomfortable during pregnancy, and sleeping can be difficult.) Labor usually begins in the evening, or early morning hours, and you will regret going to bed late if you only get a few hours of sleep before those contractions wake you. Take little naps during the day if you feel the need, and if you can.
Eat well, and drink plenty of water—give your body the nutrition it needs for the hard work of labor. And continue your light-to-moderate exercise; this will help your body be in good condition for labor. Even a simple walk three times a week is helpful.
If it is evening and you’re starting to have some contractions, let your midwife know, and then eat something, make sure you’re well-hydrated, and then go to bed. You won’t sleep through your labor and miss the birth of your baby—I promise! Stronger contractions will wake you in a few to several hours if it is actually labor. If contractions start during the day, give your midwife a call, and then feel free to continue with your usual routine, again, ignoring labor as long as possible.
And please don’t worry about timing every contraction. Your midwife will probably have you time a few to give her an idea where you are in the process of labor, but keeping track of all of them will make labor seem very long.

Early Labor
You have probably read (or heard) that being in an upright position and walking stimulates stronger contractions, and is helpful to progress in labor. This is absolutely true, and we encourage our mothers to take advantage of this natural labor enhancer. However, there is also a need (especially for first-time mothers) to alternate walking and being upright with periodic times of rest. Even if you cannot actually fall asleep, closing your eyes and concentrating on being relaxed enough to try to sleep is good for you, and will often give you the little boost you need to continue. If you actually do fall asleep—even just between contractions—all the better.
And do remember to keep eating and drinking during early labor. Strive to drink about eight ounces (one glass) of water or juice every hour or so. Being well-hydrated gives you greater endurance. And keeping a little food (ideally, easily digestible food) going through your system will provide you with the energy you need to do well during the marathon of labor.
Your first baby and your first labor and birth are such a special time and event in your life, and we feel privileged to support you!

It’s not the easy ones…

January 8th, 2010 § 0 comments § permalink

I realized something today. Or was reminded of it afresh.

It’s not the easy labors and births that teach you the most.

At least, not usually.

Usually, it’s the struggles that teach you the most about what works. And what doesn’t. What to try. Or not.

How to really support the client and their family, and the other midwife. Even when you are tired, hungry, and so ready to be done!

How to give your all. And then give even more.

It’s like our walk with the Lord. It is the trials, and the struggles, and the valleys that draw us closer to Him.