“Sometimes it takes crisis to initiate growth.” Rachel Naomi Remen

I have had several moms lately who had births with care providers that they needed to fight with in the last weeks in order to even get a semblance of the birth they desired. When they sat down at the postpartum they discussed moving to a different care provider in order to be listened to next time. But sadly it took having a birth they did not love in order to be willing to consider a move to that new provider.

I am often saying, “you don’t go to Kentucky Fried Chicken and ask for sushi.” I explain that if your care provider is not listening to you when you are fully clothed and not in pain, what makes you think they will do so when you are in labor.

This week I had a mom share that when she talked to her care provider about her birth ideals, they said, “I hope you will rely on our medical expertise to make the right decisions when you are in labor.” Which she took to imply that she could not make the right decisions- although she wanted to be fully informed. They were letting her know who would be making the decisions for her labor. But you know what? She continues to seek them for her maternity care. It makes me wonder if she will get the birth she desires. She very well may, but she will need to really fight to get it. I don’t understand this. Fighting in labor should not be a part of a woman’s labor experience. (more…)

I received a call yesterday from a first time mom who had hired a midwifery group for her birth. There had been several changes during her pregnancy in the practice and she had begun to question if she needed to stay or find a new practice. I assured her that it is more than just about the midwife- it is about the location for the birth- the mindset of the staff at the hospital and about her preparation and support. But for some reason she had thought that the midwifery approach meant they would “labor sit” with her – being with her the whole labor.

Ronnie Falco discusses the roles of the support people in your labor on her site http://www.gentlebirth.org/archives/doulacar.html and I think it enlightens a person on the differences of each role. Most nurse midwives in a hospital setting will need to be taking care of several women in labor- some may also be seeing patients in the office- and others may be sleeping or eating as they can be on call for entire weekends. For those who select homebirth as an option, most homebirth midwives will come to your home once labor is established or may send an apprentice midwife to you earlier. But they usually believe that the less interference the better. So they will read a book in another room and wait for the mom to truly need her before entering into her space. But the idea of a midwife being able to labor sit with a mom during her entire active labor is a misnomer for the most part. (more…)


…got an email today from a client saying she would not need the doula she hired after all. Seems her baby is breech and so her doctor has told her she needs to have a cesarean birth. Hmmm… her doctor made this decision when she is only 36 weeks pregnant. I do not know if he talked to her about her options… the various ways to get the baby to turn… the medical ways to get the baby to turn…the option of a vaginal birth with a skilled physician… I do not know if he told her about these things… All I know is as of tonight, she has somehow been convinced that a surgical birth- one which would more than likely determine all of her future births, was her only option… I find this sad. Gentle Birth Archives.

Sad because she put her trust in her doctor to guide her. His or her guidance should be information that then allows her patient to make a decision based on that information. I sent her information tonight in that email in case he or she did not. It makes me sad that she is four weeks from her due date- and actually six weeks from when the baby could come without being officially “late,” and her care provider has already determined that it is hopeless for her to consider a vaginal birth! And sad that the truth may be hard for her since she does not know me or trust me- and her medical care provider is the “good” guy here that she may trust more than the full truth. (more…)