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Having a Child

Making the decision to have a child - it's momentous. It is to decide forever to have your heart go walking outside your body.
- Elizabeth Stone


Pregnant In America - A Movie

Pregnant In America is a wonderful movie that anyone interested in childbirth should watch. Shot by a newly pregnant couple who decide to travel the world interviewing people on the street and professionals about childbirth and home delivery.

Movie runs 1:46.


What is Emotional Dystocia During Labor>

Emotional dystocia is emotional stress during labor that causes a woman's catecholamines to rise, which reduce the circulation in the placenta and uterus, resulting is contractions that can be inefficient. As a Labor Doula, partner or birth companion, you can look for these outward signs from mama, to determine if she is experiencing high levels of emotional stress during labor:

  • Does she exhibit signs of anxiety or fear during or between contractions?
  • Is mama strongly responding to mild contractions?
  • During the later stages of labor does she not move into Labor Land, instead staying active and alert, making sure she knows exactly what is going on?
Try to talk with mama about her concerns, always validating her fears. Try offering her another way of looking at the situation. It may be all she needs is a little more information about what is happening or reassurance that everything that is happening is a normal part of the birth process. If you know her history, she may be remembering abuse from her past, which often comes up during labor.

Never assume you know the reason mama is upset and concerned. Always be honest and listen to what she is saying. As a labor companion, your responsibility is to help her through her birth and offer her what she needs to become a new mom.


Baby Food - Article in The New Yorker

Great article in The New Yorker on this history of breastfeeding and how woman have been encouraged to bottle their milk called Baby Food.


The Importance of Birth Art

Birth art, created by pregnant women, mothers, families or artists, allow us to share feelings about the natural process of birth in ways that move beyond words. Often times it is difficult for us to express how we feel about the magical and sometimes frightening process of birth. Having the privilege of looking into this personal world is a true blessing.

Thank you all for sharing this very inspiring gift.

Birth Art Submissions

Thank you so much for submitting your birth art to Healing Midwifery. Artwork posted on this site may not be reproduced in any form or manner without explicit and prior permission from the Artist.

Artist: Alixandra Lynn Mullins
Title: Earthwoman


Artist: Alixandra Lynn Mullins
Title: Oceanwave Fertility Goddess

Artist: Alixandra Lynn Mullins
Title: Fire Goddess of Fertility

Artist:Alixandra Lynn Mullins
Title: Conception

Birth Art Submissions

Thank you so much for submitting your birth art to Healing Midwifery. Artwork posted on this site may not be reproduced in any form or manner without explicit and prior permission from the Artist. 

Artist: Colleen Patricia Williams

Artist: Anonymous
Title: Birth in a Belly

Artist: Anonymous
Title: Time

Artist: Anonymous
Title: Wheel of Life

Birth Art Submissions

Thank you so much for submitting your birth art to Healing Midwifery. Artwork posted on this site may not be reproduced in any form or manner without explicit and prior permission from the Artist. 

Artist: Courtney J.
Title: Creating

Artist: Thomas James

Title: Baby Scream



Artist: Pam Allen

Artist: Anonymous
Title: Blue Womb



Using Guided Imagery During Childbirth

Helping a pregnant mama visualize her labor and delivery will allow her to become more comfortable with her birth and give her more confidence during that time.

Studies have shown that a person's visualizing an event is the same as doing it according to the brain activity, and using this ancient technique can decrease a mama's pain and allow her to open and allow her body to give birth.

After a Cesarean Birth is another great time to practice guided imagery with the new mama. A lot of times the new baby is away from her and surrounded by doctors and nurses. Guiding her to a safe place that is warm and inviting where her and her partner are holding their baby can ease her anxieties about what is happening.

You can make up visualizations on the spot or write a script that you're comfortable with. The following is a visualization you could use for a woman that I adapted to fit a waterbirth or laboring in water .

Ask the mama to close her eyes and place her hands on her belly (if that's comfortable to her). Lower the lights and try to reduce interruptions for the next 15 minutes. In a calm, soothing voice, walk her through the following visualization, using your intuition to add or eliminate things and always following her non-verbal cues.

You are gliding underwater, able to breathe like a dolphin. As you swim about in the warm, blue and quiet sea you can see waving seaweed, bright coral and glistening fish. Looking down you see rocks and seahorses and anything else you can imagine. Looking up you can see the sunshine beaming down on you and warming your back.

Gliding and gliding. You are a dolphin moving with grace and ease through a warm, friendly ocean. You can feel the sunshine and the support from the water. You glide with ease and happiness. You are weightless, without worries and cares, knowing that your body and environment are supporting you.

If you'd like more examples of guided imagery to using during pregnancy or labor, please let me know.

Portland Doula for Hire

As a Doula, I am honored to serve in whatever way you feel will best support you and your family prior to, during and after the birth of your new child.  I am privileged and humbled to be there for you and your family during your birthing process. 

My ongoing academic and professional experiences includes continued education at Birthingway College of Midwifery, Postpartum Doula work at an established birthing center, and experience as a student Antepartum and Labor Doula. I maintain an extremely flexible schedule and support network to ensure you will never be without Doula support. 

My services include supporting families during the antepartum period if mom is on bed rest, a single or teen mom, has severe morning sickness, emotional trauma or multiple children. As a Doula I can provide informational, emotional, physical and practical support during your pregnancy. 

As a Labor Doula, we will meet three times (if time allows) and can incorporate modalities that you and your family need, such as help with birth plans, birth art and pain coping techniques (massage and touch, positioning, breathing, meditation, visualization, vocalization, aromatherapy, energy techniques) pregnancy and postpartum diet and fitness designed to ease labor and recovery, Reiki healing, creative expression and relationship / birth coaching. You will decide what type of total labor support you require from me as your Labor Doula.

Postpartum, you will receive one visit, during which we will share your birth story and discuss all the challenges and joys that lay ahead. You will also receive any needed breastfeeding support during this time. 

Additional longer-term postpartum support can include lactation consulting, infant care techniques, meal planning and cooking, gentle yoga and exercise options, natural healing, integrative life coaching, light housekeeping, dog walking and nanny care.


Seeking Birth Art Submissions

Healing Midwifery is seeking birth art submissions. Send in pics of your pastels, watercolors, clay sculptures, finger paints, illustrations, metal - any medium - that captures the beauty of being pregnant, giving birth or raising a child.

Please comment (general inquires won't be published) if you'd like to submit or if you have additional questions.

Looking forward to all the amazing pieces we'll get to share.


Essential Oils for Birth - Part 1

Stephanie, a Labor Doula from the Portland Birth Collective, recommended some essential oils for my birth bag when attending a laboring woman. I purchased the oils she suggested, plus some additional ones that I use in my personal practice, while holding the intention of childbirth, then meditated on the scents and allowed imagery to come to me that would assist women during their work.

Here are some of the oils I in my birth bag. More to come later.

Feminine. A pure waterfall. A gentle caress. A bed of satin.

Lavender is calming. Place drops around mamma.

Remember how it feels to climb a wall. Dancing in a dream. Running into the wind, feeling the sunshine on your back.

Rosemary and Orange are energizing. Sprinkle a few drops on the floor around the birthing mamma.

Sweet Orange
Clean and safe. Mouth watering sweet. Paradise.

Use in combination with Rosemary.

Ylang Ylang
Erotic beauty. Lotus flower opening gently in the calm of the pond.

Ylang Ylang is a good to drop in a bathtub when mamma's cervix isn't opening. Because it is a sensual oil, Ylang Ylang can help open the cervix like a Lotus.
To use during birth - remember to hold your intention:


Waiting for Birth - Guest Writer Series from the Portland Birth Collective

There is a lot of anticipation involved in awaiting an upcoming birth, both for birth professionals and for excited families.  Birth is dynamic and diverse, and though we attempt to assign dates to this spontaneous process, the “due dates” are very rarely the actual date upon which the baby decides to arrive. We have no real power over the date when our baby comes. This is a challenge for families because often they expect to meet their baby after 40 weeks gestation, and because following their due date there may be pressure from their health care providers to induce labor. This article will provided suggestions and assurances for families awaiting the spontaneous birth of a baby.

Waiting for your baby: Surpassing 40 weeks gestation in your pregnancy

Expected gestational age of an infant is approximately 40 weeks. This is the basis upon which an estimated due date is calculated. Due date is 40 weeks after the last menstrual period and based on an average cycle of 28 days. While in calculating averages and quantifying biologically processes this is fairly accurate, it is not necessarily always the case. Menstrual cycles are not all 28 days long, and not all babies take exactly 40 weeks to mature. Rather than considering the estimated due date a helpful tool to help us understand when to expect a baby, we have begun to consider it a rule for when the baby must come. It is this misuse of the 40 week marker that presents unnecessary challenges for birthing families. 

Consider that in the United Kingdom gestation is considered complete after 42 weeks. Are our babies biologically different than babies in the United Kingdom? No, rather our interpretations of what gestational age means are. Consider also that this is a country where homebirth is a widely accepted norm. 

Gestational age is a helpful guideline. Much like two pieces of fruit do not ripen at precisely the same time, women are unique and diverse and the way that their bodies function, while remarkably similar, are different and we should allow those differences to exist, appreciate and embrace them. 

Once a 40 week due date is surpassed most women will be asked to have regular ultrasounds and non-stress tests to ensure the health of their baby. If these tests show a healthy baby there should be absolutely no reason to suggest intervention at that time. A myth that babies will grow to be too large for us to birth is often perpetrated by birth practitioners and frightens many women into unnecessary inductions. This is widely believed misinformation. Our bodies are wise and we must trust that we are not going to grow babies too large for us to pass. Our species is extremely efficient and functional, and believing in that is the key to a healthy birth. 

There are more natural and more medically interventive means of inducing childbirth, but unless there is a medical indication to do so, both should be avoided. Women can safely go many weeks over 40 weeks gestation as long as their health is monitored by supportive birth practitioners. Women have the right to refuse any intervention.  I encourage you to do your own research regarding the risks of induction versus post-dates pregnancies. You can then make a decision that suits you. 

While, after 40 weeks, pregnancy can be uncomfortable and the anticipation of meeting your newborn can be a great motivator for induction, it is important to allow nature to take its course and not to attempt to artificially hasten the process. In doing that we are sending our bodies a strong message about their efficacy and setting ourselves up for a potential cascade of unnecessary interventions following the first. 

All of that being said, when medically indicated, induction can be a lifesaving procedure. When it is necessary it often works efficiently and provides necessary results. It is essential for you to be aware of what presents a real medical indication for induction and what does not. Do not be afraid to ask for a second opinion. Your birth is in your hands, and you are the one who needs to decide what is best based on information from professionals, good science and intuition. 

Tips for anxious parents awaiting a post-dates child:

-Speak to your health care provider in advance about their protocols regarding post-dates pregnancies
-Ensure your due date is accurate by calculating it yourself based on the length of your cycle, or ideally your date of conception
-Abandon your attachment to a specific due date. Think more in terms of “due week”, or “due month”
-Trust your body. It is wise and knows just what to do. Your baby will come when they are ready
-Keep yourself occupied. Pregnant women often do not schedule activities beyond their due date because they expect to have their babies. When the babe has not arrived they find themselves idly waiting for their upcoming birth. Scheduling self care appointments such as massages and pedicures can be a nice treat and something to look forward to post-due date. Appointments can be cancelled. Projects such as crafting, making things for the baby, and cooking and freezing foods for the postpartum period are pleasant and useful distractions for the post dates period
-Get exercise. Lots of exercise helps prepare for the physical act of childbirth, gets the baby in an optimal position for birth, and can hasten the onset of labour. Long walks, yoga, and swimming are enjoyable and gentle exercises for late pregnancy
-Enjoy some alone time. If this is your first child you are about to enter into a period of your life where you will have very little time to yourself compared to what you may be used to. Take the last weeks of your pregnancy to enjoy some quiet solitude
-Indulge. Spoil yourself with some of your favourite self-centered activities such as eating lots of chocolate or going shopping. Obviously activities should not be harmful to your health or that of the baby.
-Communicate with your baby. If you are getting uncomfortable in late pregnancy and want the baby to come, explain to the child that you are excited to meet them, that you have a warm and safe place outside for him or her, and that the passage out will be safe and peaceful.
-Process any emotions or fears you have about birth or mothering. Occasionally fear about birth or uncertainty about parenting can prevent the onset of labor. Welcoming birth and motherhood can help. Discussion and emotional work with your partner, Doula, midwife or therapist will benefit you in your transition into parenthood

Congratulations on the upcoming birth of your child. Trust yourself. Women’s bodies are infinitely wise.

-By Stephanie Elliott
Portland Birth Collective


Portland Birth Collective

Portland Birth Collective is a gathering of birth practitioners who have come together through the cooperation and community of supporting women through the natural process of birth. Through this collective we are able to guide and support one another as we each work with families in the Portland Metro area.

We offer grief support, labor doula and postpartum services, as well as education and resources during the childbearing year.

If you are interested in learning more, you can contact us at

Trigger Point & Myofascial Release Techniques to Help During Pregnancy and Postpartum - January Article

I discovered Dr. Bryan Baisinger, owner of  Clearwater Clinic in downtown Portland, when I was training for the Portland Marathon in 2005. He's the medical director for the PortlandFit Marathon Training Program and the doctor who helped me run 26 miles.

After training for several months, my left hip suddenly locked up as I was driving to work. I could barely lift my leg to clutch and walking up stairs was difficult. Even though I was a new patient, he saw me during his lunch break, cracked my back (ahhhhh) and externally massaged my hip loose. I left his office walking normally and ready to run again. But the same thing kept happening over and over and Dr. Baisinger recommended trigger point and myofascial release work.


Since my muscles refused to permanently release using external pressure, Dr. Baisinger suggested using fingertip pressure from inside the vagina to release the myofascial trigger points that were causing me problems. All I wanted to do was run the marathon, so I was up for anything. Within 4 treatments, I ran my first marathon with no pain at all. I had zero recovery and was out walking the very next day (while my husband was puking from drinking too much at my celebration party).


I know I never would have been able to run half that distance if it wasn't for Dr. Baisinger's amazing knowledge of trigger point and myofascial release techniques. Using this healing, Dr. Baisinger is able to release internal and external pelvic tissues that are hypersensitive to light pressure and traction. He uses hands-on manual methods like active muscle release, skin rolling and ultrasound with muscle stimulation to treat trigger points and myofascial restrictions.


During a recent interview, Dr. Baisinger gave me more insight into the procedure. 

(CKJ): How does this work help pregnant and postpartum women specifically? 

(Dr.B): With pregnancy related physical changes mild pelvic pain issues may become more pronounced and women with significant pain may experience an increase as well. Normalizing the tone of the pelvic floor muscles and tissue allows for needed expansion during pregnancy and vaginal birth. Postpartum, muscle imbalances can be addressed as the pelvic region re-calibrates the resting tone settings. Once any torn tissue has healed, ultrasound is excellent to restore plasticity to excessively hardened scar tissue. Stress incontinence is common and often resolved by normalizing the myofascial tissue neighboring the urethra and pubic symphysis area."

(CKJ): What are some symptoms that may tip off a woman to explore this type of healing? 

(Dr. B): If you have difficulty or pain sitting, clitoral/vaginal/genital pain, stress incontinence, post operative pain, urinary urgency, incomplete voiding, pain with sexual relations, pain in legs and feet, irritable bowel symptoms, PMS lasting more than 24-48 hours, these are good indicators that you should see what relief myofascial release techniques can help with.

Your pelvic floor controls all sorts of postures and movements, not to mention bladder and bowel functions and genital tissues. The volume of neurologic information transferring in and out of the region is not always coordinated. It sounds odd but sometimes muscles are capable of working but cannot due to the pain they would cause by contracting forcefully. Trigger point and myofascial release can help.

I feel very strongly that it is important for people with non-resolving acute or chronic pelvic pain make sure to keep pursuing help until the condition is resolved completely or the limiting factors are understood. Doctors and healthcare providers who take their patient outcome results personally act their best professionally. 

Dr. Baisinger is offering a 1 day workshop at Birthingway College of Midwifery called Trigger Point and Myofascial Release  Techniques for the Female Pelvic Floor. This workshop is open to practicing Midwives and Midwifery students. In this hands on workshop, Dr. Baisinger will teach women how to administer remedial trigger point and myofascial release treatments for both prenatal and postpartum times. These release skills help women achieve a non-medicated vaginal birth and can be taught to women so they can treat themselves.

If you're interested in finding out more about this work, Dr. Baisinger recommends starting with the International Pelvic Pain Society and searching the web with terms like "manual therapy" and "non-surgical". Of course, people are always welcome to call Clearwater Clinic to find out more information.


Role Playing Dad

During my Doula training at Birthingway one of our activites was to role play a hospital birth. I was the husband of a laboring mother who wanted a natural birth. Another student was the head nurse, who took notes, came in and out of the room and periodically asked if we wanted medication.

My wife was insistent on no interventions and she did most of the talking. I took the persona of a shy husband who supported my wife when we were alone and noticed that I became embarresed at my wife's "demands" that she wanted to stay in the tub and didn't want an epidural.

Getting into the role, I wondered if her behavior would negatively affect how this nurse treated us and if we were causing her too much trouble. As I kept these worries to myself, I felt my emotional support withdraw ever so slightly and my fear rise.

Never, ever, ever would I have imagined that it would be so easy to fall into that submissive role. Had we not been role playing, I wouldn't have thought that our simple requests to be left alone to allow birth to happen naturally would lead me to question the quality of care we would receive because of our beliefs.

This simple exercise drives home the point that all families could benefit from Labor Doula support. The Labor Doula acts as a educated companion and your advocate during the birth process.


Not Right Now

By Thursday morning I knew I didn't get in. When I came to that conclusion I got called to work at the birthing center, which cemented it for me even more. Now I would have to face women who knew my fate before I did.

So I called the school and left a message. I went to work and kept to myself. I got the message that I was wait listed around 4pm. I could tell that Dave knew when he asked me to call the school, but I didn't want to ask him.

They used my short length of interest in Midwifery as a measurement of my devotion. I knew that would be the case during my interview. I left that meeting broken and sad, knowing I was being judged by my path of discovery. But I successfully buried it and waved it away, hoping my energy would dissolve their doubts.

Like all establishments, they have their thought clouds they believe in. And I didn't fit into one of them. I could still get called, up through April to attend the school.

After I found out I got my first Labor Doula client and held a beautiful baby with an old soul. Today I feel heavy and sharp, but not angry anymore. I know the school is just one part of my journey, so I am going to continue on my path with the knowledge that I now have even more opportunities available to me.


My Labor Doula Profile

As a Doula, I am honored to assist in whatever way you feel will best support you and your family prior to, during and after the birth of your new child.  I am privileged and humbled to be there for you and your family during the birthing process. 

My ongoing academic and professional experiences includes being a student at Birthingway College of Midwifery, a Postpartum Doula at an established birthing center, and a student Labor Doula. Throughout my work and academic responsibilities, I maintain an extremely flexible schedule to ensure you will never be without Doula support. 

My expertise includes pregnancy and postpartum diet and fitness designed to ease labor and recovery, Reiki healing, meditation, creative expression and relationship coaching (aka baby-proofing your life). If time allows, you will receive two-to-three prenatal visits where we will get to know each other. We can incorporate modalities that you and your family need, such as help with birth plans, birth art and pain coping techniques (massage and touch, positioning, breathing, meditation and visualization, vocalization, aromatherapy, energy techniques).

Postpartum, you will receive one visit, during which we will share your birth story and discuss all the challenges and joys that lay ahead. You will also receive any needed breastfeeding support during this time. 

Additional postpartum support can include meal planning and cooking, gentle yoga and exercise options, infant care techniques, natural healing, integrative life coaching, light housekeeping, dog walking and nanny care.


Unassisted Birth Interview

By accident, my husband ran into an old acquaintance we hadn’t seen in years. I’ll call her Tina (all names have been changed). I used to work with her husband Mike at a joke of a software company many years ago and we bonded over our collective work misery.

Much has changed between the four of us in those years, including the fact that Tina recently delivered her second baby unassisted at home, while her husband was on the highway and her 3 year old was watching TV. All this was according to plan, with the exception of Mike not being there.

With her first baby Aura, Tina chose a hospital birth with an OB/GYN. After 3 hours of painful contractions they went to the hospital only to be told she wasn’t really in labor and it would be another few weeks before delivery.

Tina labored by herself believing what the hospital said and wondering how she was ever going to live through the next few weeks with these “fake contractions”. Tina said, “I threw up. I cleaned it up. I went to the kitchen to drink water. Then back to the bathroom.” This happened all night.

The next morning Tina phoned the on-call OB to ask for pain medication to take over the next weeks and was told that she actually was in labor and to come to the hospital right away.

She was wheeled to the exact same room where she was the night before when the doctore told her to go home. The nurse asked her to spread her legs after forcing her to lie on her back. When she was able to take a closer look at Tine, the nurse hit the emergency button saying that she could see the baby's head.

Tina tells the rest of the story like this: “I said "Can I push?" She said "No. The doc isn't here yet." Well.. that meant to me that I could push. Thank God! Nothing felt better. The doctor got there in a skirt suit and a nurse threw a gown on her. Three pushes later and Aura was out. All 6 pounds 6 ounces of her with Apgars of 9, then 9. We were in tears of joy.”

A few years later and Tina knew she did not want the hospital experience again.  She also did not want to share her birth experience with a stranger. Tina, being practical and absolutely competent, did her research and decided to work with the same OB/GYN she did the first time but secretly plan to have an unassisted birth at home.

When she went past 41 weeks, her doctor gave her a speech about being induction and they decided that they just had different opinions about birth. Tina filled out her registration papers for the hospital "just in case" and so her OB didn't suspect anything was up.

At 42 weeks, Tina went into labor while driving from the suburbs in traffic to her Portland home. Her 3 year old was in the car and her husband was at work. She called Mike and insisted he leave work. She knew this was the real thing.

At home she took Aura to the potty, pulled the plastic sheet over the couch and squatted over it while Aura watched the “forbidden TV”. She called Mike again, almost 2 hours later and told him she was close to having the baby. She pushed twice and Rose was born 2 hours and 20 minutes after contractions began, 11 minutes before Mike got home.

Tina didn't tear and she gave Rose Apgars of 8 & 9. She left the cord attached as she birthed the placenta, 3 minutes before Mike arrived at home. Everything was perfect.

Below are some questions and answers between Tina and myself.

1.  What preparations did you make to ensure a safe delivery?

First and foremost I had prenatal care to ensure I was having a healthy pregnancy and (probably) a healthy baby. I had a Level III US at 20 weeks to look for any potential problems. Even though these things aren't always detected, I knew the likelihood of having a baby with a major defect was low.

For Baby: A Doppler to monitor heart rate during contractions intermittently. Her HR held steady with accelerations during contractions. She had some late decels during the pushing stage, but since they didn't dip below 120s and it recovered well, I wasn't worried. I had a neonatal resuscitation kit that included an intubation tube, bag/valve mask, oxygen tank with tubing, and a suction kit (beyond the usual squeeze bulb). 4 sets of cord clamps, surgical scissors, and of course the usual stuff like a thermal cap.

For Me: Methergine to be given IM in the case of bleeding.

In addition, I wouldn't have hesitated to dial 911 at any point in my labor or delivery. I'm also trained in neonatal resuscitation and Mike is trained in infant, child, and adult CPR.

2. What were your fears about the unassisted labor and delivery?

My fear was that Mike wouldn't make it in time for the birth (and he didn't). I also had some fears in the back of my mind that maybe I would be in that small % who did not have an uncomplicated delivery and I'd kick myself for something horrible going wrong.

3. How did your family (including husband) react to your decision?

I did not tell my family other than my husband. They all knew I was receiving prenatal care from an OB and assumed I'd be delivering at the hospital. I had also pre-registered with the hospital and had taken a tour just in case. Funny enough, though, they all joked that I wouldn't make it to the hospital in time. My coworkers (nurses and doctors) absolutely had no idea and I would've never heard the end of it had they found out my UC was on purpose.

Mike was receptive to a homebirth, but really had to warm up to the idea of a UC. He was concerned with safety of me and the baby. He also didn't want to clean up the yuck and not have help with it. I had him read some articles on UC and also a lot of birth stories. We also talked with a friend of mine who UP/UC'd all 4 of her children in the 90s and that sealed the deal.

4. What would you have done differently?

Had a place in my house all set-up 24 hours a day and not have ventured so far from home being as post-date as I was. Maybe I might have asked Mike to take time off from work early so he would've been around. I also feel, though, that he would have missed a hospital birth as well.

5. Do you have any advice for mothers considering an unassisted delivery?

Look into all your options and make sure to take responsibility for your birth. UC IS more risky than a hospital birth or even a homebirth. Accepting the risks and owning your decision is so important for going into labor and birth with confidence.

6. Is there anything else you'd like to add?

I'm not opposed to women who UC and UP, but I felt like I did not want to UP for the "just in case" reason. I wanted to have the best possible outcome in my own home with my own body without any other factors.

Aura's first words as she sat on the couch watching me squat, were "Hi Baby!" She didn't seem bothered by it at all and took it in stride with the cartoons on the TV. If I ever have a baby again, I hope to have my family there, without outside distractions such as TV, and involved in the process a little more.

What were the reactions from your doctor and family?

I called her (the doctor) office the Monday after, she said "Well that was one expensive home birth!" She was congratulatory and expressed interest in seeing the baby. She also had me come in the Monday after she was born (born on a Friday) for a check (as if I were discharging from the hospital). 

As for my family... They all said that it was Mike's "fault" that I didn't get to the hospital in time since he didn't get home to take me there. Poor Mike. They all wanted to know details like what I gave birth on and what I used to clamp the cord. That's when I told them the truth that I had been planning on birthing at home alone all along. They were all very surprised and said things like "You're lucky it worked out that way." My mom even said "Wow! You could've had a dead baby." It only reinforced my decision to not tell them in advance. They've also expressed concern for if we have another baby (we're not planning on it) and how I BETTER go to the hospital this time.

Woman Shaman's - Book Review

If you're looking for a solid book on the history of woman shamans who were Midwives and Healers, The Woman in the Shaman's Body is a great start. This book is all about reclaiming the feminine in religion and medicine, as the author Barbara Tedlock puts it.

Barbara makes a case that women, not men, are the oldest shamans and it's incorrect skeletal analysis and a history of archeology being a mostly male vocation that has led to misconceptions of the true history of healing around the world.

The book takes the reader on a journey throughout ancient cultures and modern villages where shamans, like midwifery, is a strongly feminine specialty. She also shares traditional practices of ancient people, like the Huichol tribe's practice of having the husband of a laboring woman's first child squat in the rafters with ropes attached to his testicles. As the woman goes into labor, she tugs on the tethers allowing her husband to share in her painful experience of childbirth. (To quote my husband, "That tribe is probably no longer.")

Below is a song from a shaman chanted while she was in an hallucinogenic trance. The first verse was recited in a feminine voice, the second verse was spoken in a stronger and more powerful masculine-sounding voice:

Woman who waits am I
Woman who divines am I
Woman of justice am I
Woman of law am I
Woman of the Southern Cross am I
Woman of the first star am I.
For I go up into the sky.

Lawyer woman am I.
Woman of transactions am I.
Mexican woman am I.
Woman like a clock am I.
Woman like an eagle am I.
Woman like an opossum am I.
Woman like a hunting dog am I.
Woman like a wolf am I.
I'll show my power!


Happy New Year

I wish all women, moms, health care workers and babies a wonderful and healthy new year.

Happy Birthing!