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Birth: naturally at home

On Saturday, Mom was in a lot of discomfort. It felt like gas pain; pretty constant throughout the morning and afternoon. Dad went to run some errands—Home Depot, compost drop-off, food coop shop—and Mom was so distracted that it took her almost the whole time he was gone to come up with the grocery list. Mom and Dad did succeed in organizing our electronics bin that afternoon, though. In the evening, we walked slowly to dinner at Screamers Pizza with our friend Eric. Mom was feeling pretty good then—and ate everything—but by the time we got home, she had petered out and had to basically watch (instead of help) Dad organize all the baby clothes we had gotten from friends and put them away in your room.

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Homebirth: A Partner’s Perspective

I walked over to the drugstore around 10pm to get a hot water bottle for Lori because her lower back hurt.  She’d been having contractions here and there throughout the day but nothing regular, Shar had told us over the phone to try and get a good night’s sleep and we’d see what was up in the morning.  When I walked back in the apartment I heard Lori pounding on the wall, according to the system we’d put in place — so she could alert me without speaking when a contraction began.  I went in the bedroom and I knew it was on.  My mind became very flustered and I’m sorry to say that I never really emerged from that state.

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Homebirth: A Positive Transfer Story

Our game plan from before I even got pregnant was to have a homebirth. It’s what I had always dreamed of, Patrick was on board, and we found an incredible team of providers that we felt safe with and supported by. Then two weeks ago, at 41 weeks, I had a standard biophysical profile to check on how the stubborn babe was doing and we found out that my amniotic fluid levels were super low and we really had no choice but to go to the hospital and get induced. I spent about twenty minutes feeling upset and frazzled by this major change of plans but after a few deep breaths and some phone calls to the right people I really truly felt at peace with what was happening and also begrudgingly amused at this one final pregnancy reminder that I was not able to control what was going on. Patrick, my sister Emma, and I hopped in a cab and headed tonto Woodhull Hospital where we spent a thrilling 7 hours in triage cause a bunch of babies had just been born, I peed in a cup and then nobody ever took it and I’m still laughing at that, and one of my midwives swung by to say hi and see how I was coping. Around midnight we finally made it into our own room and I started my first of five  doses of cytotec (which helps ripen the ol cervix and get contractions going). The next twelve hours were pretty boring, I was definitely having contractions but my pain level was like mild period cramps and my cervix didn’t budge a bit. Eventually Patrick went home to take a quick shower and Emma and I had a singalong dance party to the entirety of Hamilton. I was certain that this would dance the baby down and open me up BUT IT DID NOT. Things started getting a lot more intense and yet my body still would not budge, around hour 19 on the cytotec I asked about an epidural because my back and hips were in so much pain but the hospital midwives said they try to hold off on that until “active labor” and since I still wasn’t dilated at all it seemed a bit early so instead I called my amazing doula who showed up in ten minutes and worked absolute magic that allowed to me totally zen out for a few hours.

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Raising Funds and Raising Awareness

Congratulations to all who took part in this year’s Miles for Midwives Fun Run and Birth Fair. And thank you to all our generous sponsors! Not only were we the highest fundraiser, but our team member, Laura Coogan, won first place in the women’s division! The event raised $34,000.00. It was a beautiful day to bring awareness to the importance of midwives and to raise funds for scholarships and public awareness campaigns.

Face Presentation

Kneeling in awe of the unfolding birth before me, I quickly realize that I am in unfamiliar territory. I see swollen tissue that perhaps is a urethra emerging or that ambiguous vaginal tissue that presents before the vertex. Another contraction and clearly, it’s the baby’s lips. Soon the eyes emerge and in between, barely perceptible is his nose. The mother asks, “what is that?” And I can emphatically tell her it’s her baby’s face presenting first.

Face presentation happens in approximately 1 out of every 600-800 births, often this can be a longer labor and/or a longer second stage, if there is progression.

This was a quick labor, seven hours in total. I joined this birthing family in transition, barely having time to listen to the fetal heart rate before she felt like pushing. As she was standing and swaying her hips she said, “I hope you’re not going to make me stop moving.” This child was in a hurry.

Typically, during labor, a baby’s head becomes flexed, chin to chest, with the crown presenting first as it is the least significant diameter. By comparison, the fetal face presents a larger cephalic diameter that needs to negotiate the pelvis. Here is where pelvic shape can play a significant role in the passage of a baby.

Factors that could influence a baby’s presentation include genetic disorders, multiple nuchal cords, pelvic shape, multiparity, or black race. Or there may be no identifiable reason.

Babies who make this journey will have significant swelling and bruising of the face and molding of their heads as seen in this photo. During their journey out, their heart rate might show signs of stress, with slowing heard during contractions and pushing. This child’s heart rate was strong throughout.

IMG_1271The stars were in alignment for this baby, fast labor, ample pelvis, and a 10-minute second stage. I am in awe of women and their journey’s through labor and honored to have been in attendance at this particular birth.

Miles for Midwives 2019

Hi all,

It has been a long standing tradition that MCNYC has participated in Miles for Midwives, and this year is no different.

Miles for Midwives is 5k run and gathering to bring attention to the vital work that midwives do.  We do this for our friends, our families and our future as a whole.

This year is extra special because Shar’s daughter, Seijan, will be running alongside to support the cause.  We ask that you kindly take some time to explore this cause and donate to it as well. We also ask that you tell everyone you know, and if you want, going our team!

Hope to see you all in person or in spirit at Prospect Park on October 5, 2019!

 

DONATE HERE

Reflections of a Fledgling Midwife

This summer as a midwifery fellow with Shar and Carol has been remarkable. I feel so privileged to have become part of the family that is MCNYC, to have shared in the excitement and joy of expecting families and to have been present as they welcomed their new babes.

I have been immersed in the “birth world” for 5 years now, as a labor and delivery nurse and midwifery student, but this summer gave me a new degree of respect and appreciation for the birthing process and the strength and power of women. It also showed me that there is another, more humane and family-oriented way to care for women and their pregnancies at a time when I was disheartened by the many limitations of hospital-based practices.

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Shar and Carol support and nurture the families they care for in a way that I had never before seen from a provider. They gave me that same degree of support as a fledgling midwife—generously teaching me the ins and outs of running a business, the skills of careful palpation, basics of herbal remedies, and how to hold space for laboring women in a place that is theirs rather than ours. I will be forever grateful to them for this experience.I am also so thankful to the families who opened their homes to me and let me be part of their experiences. I learned so much from each of them.

And here is what I will remember most: a four-year-old girl waking up in the middle of the night to find her mother moaning deeply in the pool in their living room, and then, sleepy-eyed, pulling up her little chair to the edge of the pool and resting her head in her arms, watching her mother, turning to me now and again, smiling in wonder at her mother’s strength. 

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