Affirming I am

Written by Jeanette Albright on February 26th, 2013

Birth affirmations are a wonderful emotional and mental distraction aid to your natural childbirth experience.

Perhaps you had a mantra that was helpful to say or think during a contraction.  Perhaps you hung up posters of inspiration.  Maybe your partner whispered words of encouragement in your ear during your labor.  Whatever way you could, you probably empowered yourself with positive thoughts and energy.

How would you fill in this birth affirmation?

I AM __________________________.

 

…strong

…prepared

…capable

…made to do this

…a mother

…fierce

…protected

…safe

…calm

…a warrior

…ready

…going to hold my baby soon

…well nourished

…well rested

…loved

…determined

 

You ARE all those things and so much more~

 

Breastfeeding Blessings

Written by Jeanette Albright on January 4th, 2013

I attended Monroe County La Leche League’s first meeting last night.  It was wonderful to meet with like minded ladies who have or will successfully breastfeed their babies.  I look forward to this community growing and thriving in our area.

When we did some round robin discussion questions, it reminded me of the struggles that a lot of women go through with breastfeeding their newborns.  Whether it’s latch issues, premature babies or even lack of support and educational resources, it can be a difficult process to do something so natural and necessary when it shouldn’t be (read this).

So even though I’ve had sore nipples, clogged ducts and mastitis at some time during my breastfeeding “career” of 4 babies, I am taking time to reflect on the blessing that I essentially had no latch issues or supply concerns with my babies.  I also had fast flow so the time spent at the breast for my babies was not all encompassing.  I guess I can say it was easy for me to breastfeed and for that I feel blessed.  I’ve even been able to give some donor milk to an adopted child – super blessing there!  With baby #4 having a minor cleft lip (no cleft palate), I was reminded again of the blessing as he had no latch or suck issues.

This is what God intended for us to do and I’m thankful that I have been able to do so.

 

My birth story #4

Written by Jeanette Albright on October 29th, 2012

Quinn Keith Albright

Born September 28, 2012 at 4:25pm

11 pounds 15 ounces

22” long

15.25” head circumference, 15.75” chest

 

 

 

Preface:
This birth was by me, for me.

This birth story is about me.  The mother of 4.  The wife of Aaron.  The woman of strength and self doubt.  Of determination and defeat.  Of love and broken heartedness.  My choices are my own based on knowledge and experience and instinct.
This birth story is NOT about me the birth worker, although I do know and understand the value that my births can offer others if needed.  I am an advocate for mothers and babies and the birth of their desire and my birthing experiences are beneficial in my teaching and educating however, I am not comfortable with words like Birth Warrior, Birth Goddess, Hero or Superwoman nor definitions like successful VBAC.  I am not a martyr.  I did not set out to try and impact the “system” or show the doctors I know best – I was just seeking the birth me and my baby wanted and needed.

More importantly, this birth story is about God.  And a journey.  And faith.  And the power of prayer.  And patience.  And humility.

My pregnancy:

Aaron and I always talked about wanting four children.  We gave it more of an adjustment period between baby #3 and this one but when we were ready the Lord blessed us with another healthy pregnancy after one month of trying.  We announced it to our family and friends through a Valentine advertisement in our local newspaper.  When we told the kids, Ethan wasn’t too thrilled at first about another sibling but Grace was wide eyed excited for a “Grace baby” (she wanted a girl and to name it Grace – when she understood we couldn’t give it her name, she started a campaign of princess names).  Weston finally understood there was a baby in my belly when my lap started to disappear.  For all of our babies, we’ve never found out the gender.

Without a doubt, I knew my goal for this labor and delivery was to have a VBAC (vaginal birth after cesarean).  My first 2 births were natural vaginal births and my third was an emergency cesarean due to a placental abruption.   I chose to stay with a hospital birth (my husband was a little leery of other options) and with the same care provider I’ve had with the other 3.  Even though I knew I could be facing some opposition to my VBAC goal and a more managed pregnancy and labor, my doctor had always honored my birthing desires and I was confident that we would be able to maintain a good relationship that would aid in me getting the birth I wanted.  Throughout the pregnancy, I continued to research and process the benefits versus risks of different scenarios for my situation and we were prepared with facts and documents that supported our decisions and we were confident in our choice.  To my surprise, I had to face some opposition from even family and friends to this path but I chose to make it an opportunity to educate and ask for support regardless and then I had to leave that aside so I could focus on a positive mental and emotional state to progress me towards my desires.

Using my last menstrual period, we had an estimated due date of September 11th.  My doc had me do an early ultrasound as I was measuring weeks ahead of that projection but when the ultrasound indicated a date within 2 weeks of my date, she left it as is.  Throughout the pregnancy, I had a feeling this baby would come sooner rather than later since it was my 4th and I was hopeful we wouldn’t be facing over due dates with the VBAC goal.  Of course, since all my other pregnancies carried up to 2 weeks over my estimated due date, I should’ve known better.

My pregnancy was challenged this time around by sciatica issues that affected my left leg and back.  I started under Webster chiropractic care at about 8 weeks and even though it was a long journey, I found relief from that pain at about week 30 of the pregnancy.  This was the first pregnancy where I got chiropractic care during pregnancy and I now am testimony of the wondrous things it does for good pelvic alignment and comfort that aid in your delivery.

Other than that, I was blessed to not be plagued with morning sickness (4 for 4) or heartburn.  I also only gained about 30 pounds this pregnancy (about 20 pounds less than all my others) and I carried this one so tight and up high which was different than any of the others.  I also experienced Braxton-Hicks regularly from about 23 weeks where I never had them with the other 3.

September 14th:

After my 40w due date came and went, I had some small bouts of prodromal labor which I welcomed since I knew they could be helping to bring my baby but it was frustrating that they would just fade away.  My check up that week was positive and my doc said we’d avoid talking about other options until my next appointment.

September 21st:

41 weeks came and went.  My doc called a day before my appointment, worried and nervous for me and wanted me to come in a day early to get checked over.  This was the only time I felt sort of betrayed by her lack of support.  There were some scare tactic statements that were unnecessary and could have been detrimental to my positive attitude of having a healthy VBAC.  I held firm to our originally scheduled appointment which yielded a good check up and the biophysical showed all was well with me and baby so my doc had no choice but to support us in not intervening with the natural course.  I did consent to a vaginal exam at this point and we learned I was 1cm, 50% effaced and baby was really high up at -2 station.  It is typical that a multipara does not drop until labor begins but my doc mentioned the big baby issue again and hinted again that she felt fit might be why baby is so high but then added in that she knows I’ve birthed a 10+ pound baby previously.  We did talk about some options in induction given my current cervical state.  My doc does not support the use of chemicals to augment a VBAC birth even though ACOG does not rule it out so her choices were mechanical methods (Foley catheter and/or AROM – artificial rupture of membranes).  I was okay with a Foley bulb but my 2nd option would have been low dose Pitocin over AROM.  Again, since me and the baby were okay, we walked out of there and I raised my arms high over my head and said “FREEDOM” to my husband.  I thanked the Lord again for a good report too as if there was anything amiss; it would’ve just opened the door for my doctor to want to do an intervention.

This is the week I really struggled with self doubt.  I really had thought the baby wasn’t going to go past dates and I was going to get my desired VBAC on its own accord so there was some self wallowing as well.  Even though I was concerned with some of the risks of going over as a VBAC, I was an emotional wreck about facing an induction the following week and told my husband the day before that I might still want to walk out of that next appointment.  I had mixed feelings of knowing that an induction meant my baby would likely arrive soon but also that I was giving into those naysayers as well as that I was abandoning the natural process.  I prayed continuously for God to give me guidance and direction and a labor, of course.  I knew though that I had to find peace with all of this and just let go and trust God so I changed my prayer to asking God to give us clear indications as to the choices we needed to make.  What a blessing that he did show us quite plainly soon enough!

September 27th:

At 42 weeks we went in prepared (well almost so) to go over to the hospital side to do the induction.  We had another good biophysical report and my vaginal exam showed almost a 2cm dilation, still 50% effaced and still -2 station for baby.  Doc said she could start the Foley that night or the following morning.  Not knowing whether the Foley might take a few hours or even longer, I didn’t want to chance laboring through the night on little or no sleep so we opted for Friday morning for the induction.   I felt immediate relief and it was amazing to walk out of that office again.  I had the doc do a membrane sweep and this way I had one more day of walking and trying to get labor to start on its own.

After the appointment, I was feeling mildly crampy so I went on a walk while Aaron fed the kids and put them down for naps.  The walk down our road was pretty slow going as I was feeling very loose in my pelvis and hips.  After 20+ minutes, I had had 5 contractions and felt very tired so I returned home to lay down for awhile and of course, the contractions stopped.  Since our induction was early that next morning, my mother in law was coming over that night to stay the night to be there for the kids.  It seemed within minutes of her arrival, I got some good strong contractions about 10 minutes apart.  It was late so I went to bed and called for Aaron about 30 minutes later to join me as the contractions were pretty intense and I wanted his help.  Praise the Lord, those 10 minute apart contractions continued all night long!

My labor (First Stage):

The contractions continued to be very strong and intense and I had a lot of loose bowels and some bloody show.  In my mind, I thought “yeah, early labor signs” but I was also nervous that the contractions would just fall away again and being that they were 10 minutes apart, technically I wasn’t “in labor”.  I prayed to God and thanked him for the contractions (probably the only woman praying that that night) and asked Him to keep them going.  I was able to sleep a few minutes after each contraction but I would wake with every one of them.  I did a lot of groaning and had my husband rub my low back during them.  I drank lots of water and ate a pear.  Some contractions did get near 8 minutes but mostly they stayed around 10 minutes.  I remember telling Aaron that bloody show during labor occurs around 4cm (which is the number the Foley usually dilates you to) so when we were getting close to the time to go in for the induction we were debating if we should stay at home and continue to labor until the contractions got closer or if we should still show up to the induction.  Since we also noticed that the kids seem to be a distraction for me, we opted to go to the hospital and see if we progressed any and perhaps labor there.

We were put into a triage room on the OB floor and our nurse Natalie (super great support) came in and right away said she had already read my birth plan and asked us some questions about it.  She told us to let her know if we want to be left alone or want support from her – she was really laid back and we felt she was a great fit with our birthing goals.  I asked if my doctor was there yet and told Natalie to tell her that I had had contractions all night long so she said she would check me before she got anything out and prepped.  During the vaginal exam, she said “Jeanette, we aren’t going to need the Foley bulb – you are a 5.”  I cried tears of joy.  I couldn’t believe it.  Finally!  17 days overdue from my LMP and I was in labor, my body was doing what it needed to do and I did not have to have that intervention.  The baby’s head was at -2 station.  This was around 7am on Friday, September 28th.

I prayed and thanked God again for the progress and we were moved to a labor, delivery and recovery suite.  Our nurse Natalie asked if we minded that a shadow nurse, Sarah would be following her all day.  She said she had an interest in natural birth so I was totally fine with her being present.  I sat on the birth ball and moved and bounced in between contractions.  I ordered a light breakfast and continued to drink lots of water and have more loose bowels and bloody show.  My contractions would be 8 minutes apart for an hour and then 3 minutes apart for an hour.  It was definitely not text book.  With the baby’s head still being up so high earlier we wanted to see if labor and gravity had helped to get the baby engaged so I had another vaginal exam around 10am.  We were closer to a 6 at that time, more effaced but baby was still at -2 station.

I then got up and walked the halls for awhile and we saw the husband of one my natural childbirth class couples who had had their baby the day before.  It was during the walking that the contractions picked up even more intensity and stayed closer together so it wasn’t long before I wanted to lay down and labor.  Around noon, I consented again to be checked (who would’ve thought I would’ve wanted so many exams) again and now I was 8cm, 100% effaced but the baby was STILL -2 station.  I was told there was a bulging bag of waters that was down in front of the head so we were hopeful that it would soon break and that would drop the head into the pelvis more.

Just a half an hour later, I felt some rectal pressure but I thought maybe it was just a wishful urge to be complete as it was likely the bag of waters being intact still causing that.  Thankfully, around 1:30pm the waters finally broke to such a relief from me.  Of course that made for some more intense contractions and I could not get relaxed or comfortable.  We later discovered too that the waters breaking was only my forewaters and there was still a bag in front of the baby’s head!

At 2:15pm, I was 9cm dilated and feeling more urges to push and there was a bit of movement down with the baby to -1 station.  At this time though, there were some decels with the baby so we consented to a bolus of fluids being hung and that made the baby’s heart rate stabilize again.  Of course though, this prompted the fit issue discussion again from my doctor and her suggesting strongly that we opt for a cesarean before there is an emergency situation.  Aaron and I exchanged looks.   Both the nurse and doc said things like “we know this is not what you want” and then the dreaded “healthy mom and healthy baby” card came out.  I snapped and said something to the effect that it is so much more than they could understand.  My doc and the nurse left the room and Aaron and I talked a bit.  I didn’t feel comfortable going straight to cesarean and I reminded Aaron that fit issues cannot be “diagnosed” until sufficient pushing time in second stage.  Since we weren’t there yet, I wasn’t comfortable going that route since there was no medical indication to do so.  I asked our nurse off the record, knowing that my doc trends toward being conservative, what was her take on the situation and I recall it being something positive about keeping on track with what I was doing.  Upon coming back in, my doc is the one who actually gave me the energy to fight and keep going when she said that with the fluids in, the baby looked good.  I am so grateful for that because we may have made a different choice otherwise.

Unbelievably though, an anesthesiologist and nurse came in to meet with us, “just in case”.  They said there was an emergency earlier (I had heard alarms) and if they come see me now and get prepared, then they wouldn’t be needed.  *Eyeroll* from me but I answered their questions and then got back to getting my baby out without them.  When they left, Aaron said there was a team outside the door just waiting to start the cesarean and our doctor shooed them away.

So onward laboring we go.  Again, there were more prayers to God to give us a clear sign if we needed to make a different decision.

 

“I Won’t Give Up” by Jason Mraz

When I look into your eyes
It’s like watching the night sky
Or a beautiful sunrise
There’s so much they hold
And just like them old stars
I see that you’ve come so far
To be right where you are
How old is your soul?

I won’t give up on us
Even if the skies get rough
I’m giving you all my love
I’m still looking up

And when you’re needing your space
To do some navigating
I’ll be here patiently waiting
To see what you find

‘Cause even the stars they burn
Some even fall to the earth
We’ve got a lot to learn
God knows we’re worth it
No: I won’t give up

I don’t wanna be someone who walks away so easily
I’m here to stay and make the difference that I can make
Our differences they do a lot to teach us how to use
The tools and gifts we got, yeah, we got a lot at stake
And in the end, you’re still my friend at least we did intend
For us to work we didn’t break, we didn’t burn
We had to learn how to bend without the world caving in
I had to learn what I’ve got, and what I’m not, and who I am

I won’t give up on us
Even if the skies get rough
I’m giving you all my love
I’m still looking up, still looking up.

I won’t give up on us (no I’m not giving up)
God knows I’m tough enough (I am tough, I am loved)
We’ve got a lot to learn (we’re alive, we are loved)
God knows we’re worth it (and we’re worth it)

I won’t give up on us
Even if the skies get rough
I’m giving you all my love
I’m still looking up

 The next hour was the hardest yet with contraction intensity and it’s a blur of what happened when so forgive the confusion.  I wanted to push at times yet wasn’t quite complete.  One time I was over the toilet and my body just pushed.  I grunted, “I’m pushing” as I stood up and Natalie ran in and said “Oh no you’re not – you will not be having a toilet baby.”  I said, “it’s not like it’s going to come out in one push” and her reply was that I’m a 4th time mom and anything can happen so we went back to the bed.  I was in such misery that I consented to my doc breaking my bag of waters hoping that would bring the head down.  This was around 3:30pm.  Again, it was still up so high.  It was so defeating but I wasn’t giving up.  We did a modified Walcher’s position or as the nurse called it – I was sitting on my throne.  I was at the end of the bed, the bottom was dropped, my knees were up and there was a towel behind my back to bring my pelvis forward.  Wow, was that painful but again, I was game for anything to get baby engaged.  After about an hour of this, my legs were shaky and I needed a rest.  The nurse talked me into 15 more minutes and then she told me to roll to a side if I wanted a break.
Immediately upon going to my left, I felt this HUGE movement, I yelled “I have to push” and Natalie said, “go ahead”, so I did.  AND THE BABY CROWNED!  Wahoo.  From -1 station to crowning.  Finally!  I was in second stage – it was so incredible.  And then it got real chaotic.

My labor, continued (Second Stage):

With just Natalie and her shadow, Sarah in the room, Natalie placed a hand on the baby’s head and told Sarah to get some people in the room.  My doc enters and said, “yep, that is a head” and asked why I was on my side.  Tee hee.  Nice Natalie gave me a break from my throne position and that very thing is what helped the baby to come down!  What followed was a lot of calm directions to get things set up from the doctor (no one could figure out the new beds).  My urge to push was so strong, I was screaming during the pushes.  I had forgone all my training and went full force into getting that baby out – there was no control.  They were trying to move me to the end of the bed so the doc could get at the baby but I didn’t want to move.  Everyone had to help pick me up and scoot me down.  When I did have a break in a contraction, they tried to line a mirror up for me to see as I had stated in my birth plan but it was so small and the nurse couldn’t take direction well that I only got one quick glimpse of some dark hair.  Another push or two and the head was out.  Then the doc had the confirmation that it indeed was a large baby and she immediately directed everyone into pulling my legs back and trying to avoid a dystocia issue while getting the shoulders and chest out.  Scissors were handed to Aaron and I reminded everyone we wanted to wait out the cord pulsing before cutting.  Doc said she didn’t like the dip in the heart tones and told me I had to get the baby out (Aaron told me later he saw the rate dip into the 80s a few times and as low as 60 but it would go back up over 100 as well).  I was pushing without contractions, screaming as I did.  I heard a popping noise and I thought I broke my tailbone or dislocated a hip bone (we learned later it was the baby) and I heard her say the chest was out and he could get a breath now.  I still had to give another push though (for the butt?) and then I felt the warmth of him being put on my belly and everyone was rubbing him and I announced he was a boy.  He was quickly whisked away though so they could work on him.

 “Be Still”by The Fray

Be still and know that I’m with you
Be still and know that I am here
Be still and know that I’m with you
Be still, be still, and know

When darkness comes upon you
And covers you with fear and shame
Be still and know that I’m with you
And I will say your name

 If terror falls upon your bed
And sleep no longer comes
Remember all the words I said
Be still, be still, and know

And when you go through the valley
And the shadow comes down from the hill
If morning never comes to be
Be still, be still, be still

If you forget the way to go
And lose where you came from
If no one is standing beside you
Be still and know I am

Be still and know that I’m with you
Be still and know I am

We heard a nurse say, “good heart tones, good heart tones” and another one say “breathe baby, breathe”.  It was excruciating to watch.  We were saying “c’mon baby, c’mon” and then we heard some muffled cries.  Doc asked for a baby update and we were told he scored a 2 on his APGAR at the one minute mark and then a 9 at the 5 minute.  I leaned back and just kept repeating through my tears “he’s here, he’s here, he’s here.”  Aaron had to lean in to hear what I was saying probably because my voice was so hoarse from screaming.  They then put him on the scale and everyone exclaimed and gasped when a nurse said 5400-something grams.  I said “what is that?” and finally they announced his weight at 11 pounds 15 ounces.  I was amazed.  I knew it was likely a big baby but who knew it’d be that big!

He was then placed on me and we did skin to skin and tried to get him to breastfeed.  It took a few tries and some time before he was ready for that but it was so incredible to finally just hold him and kiss him!  He was safe and sound in my arms.

I have no recollection of my participation in third stage (I suspect doc used cord traction as my placenta encapsulist indicated it looked like the cord may have broke and there was a tear at the base? – can’t remember her technical terms for it) but Aaron was on top of retrieving our placenta immediately upon doc giving it a once over.  He said he couldn’t believe how pink and good it looked.  I didn’t need pitocin for bleeding and I only had a small tear into my previous tear and I opted for no stitches.

Recovery:

When the baby was placed on my belly, we noticed right away that he had a cleft lip.  After consulting with our pediatrician and a lactation consultant, we had positive feedback that it was very minor, wouldn’t effect breastfeeding and would hardly even be noticed after correction.  What a relief.  We also had confirmation that the popping noise I felt and heard was Quinn’s left clavicle breaking which is a common side effect of shoulder dystocia.  It will heal on its own and quickly.  We had to have a few other tests done due to his size and some results found in his biophysical exams in utero but all those turned out fine.  The day we were leaving, Quinn did have some yellowing of jaundice but it was low enough that some sun and breastfeeding was all that was required.  Quinn’s discharge weight was 11 pounds 3 ounces and 5 days later at his pediatrician appointment, he was back to his birth weight.

“Home” by Phillip Phillips

Hold on, to me as we go
As we roll down this unfamiliar road
And although this wave is stringing us along
Just know you’re not alone
Cause I’m going to make this place your home

Settle down, it’ll all be clear
Don’t pay no mind to the demons
They fill you with fear
The trouble it might drag you down
If you get lost, you can always be found

Just know you’re not alone
Cause I’m going to make this place your home

Settle down, it’ll all be clear
Don’t pay no mind to the demons
They fill you with fear
The trouble it might drag you down
If you get lost, you can always be found

Just know you’re not alone
Cause I’m going to make this place your home

 

Conclusion:

I must say I was pleasantly surprised at the wonderful support I received while at our county’s community hospital.  They followed my birth plan with no opposition (including refusal of their typical procedures) and there were some very nice improvements (such as lactation cookies on the menu and a birth day cake for the family) since the last time we had used the facilities.  The shadow nurse, Sarah’s shift ended at 3pm and she stayed with us until the end of our birth because she was so vested in it and she thanked us for letting her witness it and be a part of it (turns out she ended up helping with a leg even since Aaron told her to but she was supposed to be hands off).  Our nurse Natalie returned after her shift in her plainclothes just to say good bye and congratulations.  Also, the head OB nurse (who is a lactation specialist) came in on her day off just for us and our cleft lip concerns.  We do feel such compassion towards our doctor as well as we know for certain, had it been any other within this medical community, our birth would not have progressed in this manner.  She really had to carry a burden of concern for me and the baby and we feel for her and respect her for still doing her best to support me how I needed.

Even though we pushed the boundaries of our doctor’s comfort level with this birth, I stand behind every decision we made.  Without clear medical indications, we made our choices based on the intent of allowing God to take control and that He was in charge and He would watch over us.

I feel so blessed to have had this birthing experience.  The Lord answered our prayers while still teaching me a thing or two.  We got the birth He decided we needed, all we had to do was be faithful.  Quinn has completed our family and his birth completed me.  Thank you to all who encouraged me and supported me on this journey with love and compassion.  God is so good!

 

That’s What She/He Said…

Written by Jeanette Albright on February 10th, 2012

Throughout my years of teaching natural childbirth classes, I know I haven’t “seen it all” and I’m positive I haven’t “heard it all” yet.  Still, recent reports from childbearing women have left my jaw agape when told of what their obstetrician has said to them.

From, “there’s no way a baby can come out those hips” to “I can’t even feel if the baby’s engaged and I have big hands”, comments on women’s birthing hips are not the only offensive things doctors have said.  Lately it seems to be scare tactics to get a patient to come over to the medical professional’s way of thinking.  How do you think this would go over with a near term mother: “I’m surprised her vagina didn’t fall out” or “you’re lucky I’m letting you do this”?

A woman needs to feel support from all those present at her birth and yes, that even means from those doctors who have another agenda or are too busy to bother.  We are paying them for a service and we have a right to demand quality.  Hopefully, if a care provider does act this way or say things out of line, that woman feels empowered to switch to another supportive person to be present at her labor and delivery.  It’s never too late to do so.  Remember, they don’t delivery the baby – you do!

 

Changing the world, three (so far) babies at a time…

Written by Jeanette Albright on August 2nd, 2011

In the midst of World Breastfeeding Week, the social media outlets are brimming with articles about every aspect of breastfeeding and lactavism.  And I sit here wondering what can I do?  What impact can little ole me do to help spread awareness and enlightenment about this normal, natural, God-given gift?

Some days, I just want to save the whole world through my breasts.  So, I could donate milk, right?  God gave me an adundant supply and I was blessed to be able to share some with my beautiful Ethiopian nephew as he begins his new life here in this country (and oddly enough, in this country where we are not as open and appreciative and expressive of breastfeeding as his homeland, the one we view as 3rd world).

Some days, I want to shout from the rooftops to make everyone see why breastfeeding is the best feeding and that, really, ALL women can do it.  So, I could teach, right?  I do yearn for a time when I may be able to go back to school (as if a Bachelors and a Masters degree are not enough as well as a Porfessional Engineers license and certifications in teaching natural childbirth and infant soothing classes) and become a lactation consultant.

Some days, I want to hop on the bus(es) of those passionate, inspirationists who travel around promoting and lobbying for betterness in our country.  So, I could promote, right?  I don’t hold back on this topic in my childbirth classes or to anyone who will listen and I love these to help in these efforts.

Even though I feel I need to do more, that I can do more, that I should do more; what I must always come back to and fondly remember, is that home is where I’ve made an impact to help change the world.  This is my first step:

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

I did this.  For 39+ months.  Yep.  And I am proud.  Proud that my babies and I shared such wonderful time as God intended.  Proud that they know that this is how babies eat.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Proud that this is their norm.  Their natural.  Their legacy.  And I can be content with that.

 

World Breastfeeding Week 2011

Written by Jeanette Albright on August 1st, 2011

In support of World Breastfeeding Week, August 1 -7, my posts this week will be on breastfeeding.

This year’s message – Talk to Me!  Breastfeeding – a 3D experience.  From The World Alliance for Breastfeeding Action’s website :

Press Release

World Breastfeding Week (WBW) 2011

1-7 August 2011

Feeding the Future

From 1-7 August 2011, the World Alliance for Breastfeeding Action (WABA), and breastfeeding

advocates in more than 170 countries worldwide will be celebrating World Breastfeeding Week (WBW)

for the 19th year with the theme “Talk to Me! Breastfeeding – a 3D Experience”.

As global exclusive breastfeeding rates continue to rise, we may wonder – why talk about breastfeeding?

Isn’t it a normal, physiological process? The reality is that most talk is confined within the health care

and related spheres. WABA’s call to action is for celebrants to reach beyond these borders, in new

ways, and include traditionally un-involved parties, such as young people, to join in WBW.

This year’s celebration is spearheaded by some of the breastfeeding movement’s newest faces along

with several veteran champions. In association with the United Nation’s International Year of Youth,

WABA commissioned a dedicated group of young people to carry out the United Nation’s call to action

and create awareness, mobilize and engage, connect and build bridges across generations, cultures,

religions, and civilizations” on breastfeeding and are therefore an invaluable sector to ally with in any public health movement

The “3D” theme is about looking at the dimensions of our lives – things happen at a time and place,

but communication is what makes our experiences so robust. The theme speaks to everyone, and the

young copywriters have added a vibrant lens to encourage young people to activate and take part in this

global campaign. Using our own voices, we can talk to others about why breastfeeding matters, not only

for health and well-being, but also for the environment, for women’s rights, and for social advancement.

“Our generation is looking for opportunities to make a difference, to be included in dialogue that can

impact our future world, and to pursue our dreams as learners for life.”says WABA YOUth intern and

coordinator, Kathy Houng. Another young advocate, Phan Bich Ngan says, “as a young person I want

to contribute to the global breastfeeding movement! Not only do I need to learn more about

breastfeeding, but I need to make sure I talk to my friends and family and help them when needed”.

To kick-off WBW in a youthful way, WABA has created the first WBW global flashmob titled

Feed the Future! was written and steps created by a young choreographer. We are calling on communities across the

world to mobilize their networks and join together in the flashmob and support breastfeeding! Penang,

with the leadership of the WABA Secretariat and the Mother to Mother Peer Support group, will be

holding the first flashmob during WBW on 7 August with hundreds of young people already preparing

to make a storm!

Let’s bring the dialogue to life and make this year’s WBW a truly “3D” experience – an opportunity for

outreach, an investment in a healthy future, and a unifying lens through which to see the world.

 

A test for candidacy

Written by Jeanette Albright on July 13th, 2011

If you are considering an induction (hopefully, for clear medical reasons, not excuses), did you know there is a “test” your practicioner should do to see whether you are a viable candidate for an induction?  That test is called The Bishop Scale/Test.

The test is to see how if your body will react favorably to the chemically or physically enhanced options of induction.  You will be given a vaginal exam and then you score points in different categories of how your body has already progressed.  If you score a 9 or higher, you have a good probability of the induction.  Less than 5 indicates, you are not a good candidate and your body will probably not react favorably to an induction and you should consider the pros and cons of your scenario and question what spiral effects and outcomes could arise.

Here are two sample presentations of The Bishops Scale:

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

As with any procedure, exam, test, etc. it is your responsibility to make the decision that is right for you, your baby and your family.  Do spend time researching all your options and question your medical professional so you feel comfortable with your choice.

Remember: Your body, your birth, your baby!

 

Reasons not excuses

Written by Jeanette Albright on July 7th, 2011

When I took my childbirth class while pregnant with my first, we learned that the average length of gestation for a first time mother was 41 weeks and 1 day.  So understanding that, we were prepared that our pregnancy could likely last longer than 40 weeks.  Of course, in the medical community, going past 40 weeks, is termed “overdue”.  You can refer to my previous post, It’s 40 weeks*, PEOPLE! but essentially, your due date is an estimate, not an expiration.  Your baby needs that time to grow, not only physically, but also mentally (it’s brain at 35 weeks is only 2/3 of that at 40 weeks).  So, why do we try to hurry it along?

Here are some reasons why a baby’s arrival might need to be induced before it’s estimated due date:

  • For maternal complications (such as preeclampsia)
  • For fetal complications (such as placental malfunctions)

Now here are some excuses we use to justify our impatience:

  • Big baby
  • Doctor’s schedule
  • Visitors in town
  • Body won’t start labor on it’s own
  • Want a certain birthdate
  • Numerous other illogical rationalizations (see this list here).

In my opinion, there should not be any elective procedure done on or to an unborn child or a pregnant woman and that’s what most inductions are these days.  Elective and scheduled.  I am glad to hear there are hospitals banning this procedure as well as cesareans before the 39 week mark.  That at least is a starting point.

Can anyone see what this trend will mean?  As we continue to bring babies into this world before they have fully developed, we are shifting the curve of what an average length of gestation is.  It is already probably not the 41 and 1/7 weeks that I learned back in 2006.  We need to remember, God designed childbirth, not man.  Let’s stop interfering.  Additionally, did you know that you are 2 times more likely to have a cesarean section if you choose elective induction?  With the cesarean rate for this country nearing 33%, you don’t need those odds increasing.  Make sure you are researching these issues before making any decision that could effect the long term health of you or your baby.

 

 

 

A series of/on Inductions

Written by Jeanette Albright on June 28th, 2011

I had a student ask me the other day, what the percentage of induced births were.  I cannot find a current source for that data but I did read that it was more than 22% in 2006.  I can confidently say that number has climbed in the last 5 years.

Did you know that a study published in the July 2010 issue of the journal Obstetrics & Gynecology found that among more than 7,800 women giving birth for the first time, those whose labor was induced were twice as likely to have a C-section delivery as those who experienced spontaneous labor?  This is a staggering fact, people, and it has to change!

So, I want to do a couple posts on the topic of inductions.  I want to enlighten everyone on this all too common intervention, what it can mean to you and how we can be prepared if we ever are faced with this in our own births.

Stay tuned for:

Can science replicate love? (which will discuss the hormone oxytocin that we naturally produce versus the synthetic Pitocin that comes from cows!)

Induce = cause, bring about (risks and methods of inducing)

A test for candidacy (discussing the Bishops score)

Reasons not excuses (medically necessary versus medically rationalizing)

As a teaser, I found this graphic on the topic:

 

 

Eeny, meeny, miny, moe – YOU’RE IT!

Written by Jeanette Albright on June 22nd, 2011

iVillage had a great article on choosing a childbirth educator written by Henci Goer (author of The Thinking Woman’s Guide to a Better Birth).  Check it out here or below, you’ll find a comparison of some of the options in childbirth educator selection.

In addition to the above, I believe you want to see if the personality of the instructor fits with your needs.  Even within one method of childbirth, there are numerous different teachers with different styles and backgrounds.  There is no harm with asking questions of the instructor or even asking for references.  Here are some things that I would find important to know:

  • What is your birth history and experience?
  • What brought you to teach this method?
  • How long have you been teaching?
  • Do you have statistics to support your success (i.e. if it is a natural childbirth class, how many students give birth without an epidural)?
  • How available are you for questions or other support?

I feel a good childbirth preparation teacher is as important and the medical support professional(s) you choose so make sure you are being a good consumer!