Home Birth Advocacy, Pregnancy

A Better Birth Starts With Your Care Provider

2 Comments 03 September 2012

The best birth starts with knowing what your ideal birth looks like. Your next step is finding a care provider. This post will help you find the right doctor or midwife. 

Today on Labor Day, hundreds of thousands of families are taking to the streets in the United States to rally in support of evidence-based maternity care.

Sitting in my nightgown sipping coffee while my eldest plays make-believe in her fort, my youngest is sleeping peacefully. I can’t help but think about how blessed I am to have given birth to both of them in the comfort and safety of home.

But what I believe was more important than where I gave birth, is who I gave birth with – my midwife.

The best advice can I offer women and families from home today is to doctors and/or midwives until you find the perfect person for the job. Your care provider will make all the difference in your birth.

You MUST know, like and trust the person who will help you have a healthy pregnancy and safe, fulfilling birth experience.

Who is your care provider? Do you know their first and last name? Do they know your name? I sure hope so!

Position yourself as a leader: Be the one in charge

If you want to give birth in a hospital and hire an OB/GYN, schedule a meeting with several doctors for a consultation - in their personal office. If you are interviewing a home birth midwife, you can have this meeting at your home, her home or a public meeting place like a coffee shop.

Make sure that you’re sitting in their personal office, seated in the chair before their desk, and bring a list of questions to ask them.

Ask for references and testimonials from former clients. Ask to speak with those who work with that doctor most frequently and fact check his or her answers to your questions. Make sure everything ads up. If something feels off, walk away.

Just a thought – could you bring along a pocket sized recording devise? Is that legal? Wouldn’t that be the ultimate shocker if you set the tape recorder on his/her desktop?! I guarantee that would be a game changer!

By approaching this process in this way, you are positioning yourself as the boss, interviewing and eventually hiring the perfect person for the job.

You just put the power in your hands.

Remember, there is absolutely no need to feel less than or “beneath” your doctor. He or she is your client, not the other way around!

For more information about how to find the right provider for you, continue reading here: Peaceful Birth – Choosing a Care Provider

Find a local Certified Professional Midwife or Certified Nurse Midwife through these useful links

Birth Boot Camp, Home Birth Advocacy

Pleasant Surprises (aka: Why I’ve Been Re-Inspired to Pursue Birth Work)

3 Comments 23 August 2012

In June I wrote a post about reconnecting to past dreams and my slow release of birth advocacy to take up other passions. Many of you wrote me to wish me luck on new endeavors and thanked me for the work I’ve put in over the past two and a half years.

I got busy taking photos, started a personal blog and got off the computer during the day once and for all.

Then, something rather interesting happened.

Two emails came into my inbox that absolutely floored me. In an instant, I knew my time in birth work was far from over. I accepted the cosmic message with all my heart and started brainstorming fresh ideas about how I can make a difference during pregnancy, labor and birth for families worldwide, as well as on a local level.

Game-changing communications:

One email was an invitation to be a panelist after an upcoming presentation of Freedom for Birth, The Mother’s Revolution by One World Birth. Me? With all the natural childbirth experts in my area to choose from? I was surprised and honored to be asked. It made me realize how I am seen in my community, and proud of the work I’ve done to get here.

Email number two was a great offer to partner with Donna Ryan and her incredible board of directors of Birth Boot Camp, Training Couples in Natural Childbirth.

I was granted back office access and an exclusive interview with Donna. Without giving anything away about the course, let me just saw this: I am “wow” impressed with Birth Boot Camp and may become more involved in the future. Stay tuned for a full week of information about Birth Boot Camp next week – August 27th through the 31st.

And there’s more. Steve from YourBabyBooty emailed me the other day. I’m currently working on answering a preliminary questions for my first ever Skype interview.

Receiving these emails has been a pleasant surprise…and it all really feels right. I clearly see opportunity to continue my advocacy work in a way that doesn’t require that I have another baby. I can be inspired to action through helping other families considering home birth through childbirth education, interviews, reviews, etc.  (duh!) The moment when I slowed down, enlisted more contributors to Bring Birth Home and spent more time offline with my family, it all came together. Interesting.

Spending time and energy toward something so righteously important as birth has paid off in so many ways. I’m glad to be right here, right now, and looking forward to the future.

Home Birth Advocacy

The Birth Movement

1 Comment 29 July 2012

It has been four years now since I began planning my first home birth.

And I can still clearly recall the first night when I learned giving birth at home was an option. A magical evening, and one that really changed my life.

Four years in – with the blog and Facebook page running for nearly three – I consider myself a part of the fabric of the natural birth movement, local community and overall presence online and off. Which is to say, it’s part of who I am. One large puzzle piece in my makeup.

I go to birth throughout the day, briefly letting stories consume me as I stare off across the lake, deep in thought. I’m thinking about a friend whose birth did not go as planned. Of the woman who is pregnant with her first, trying to be calm through the stress tests and ultrasounds.

Why does birth cross my mind like this? Why does it appear so often in my stream of consciousness?

Why, when I am no longer pregnant or planning to become in the future, am I still interested in birth? In answering emails, taking on writing assignments?

I keep coming back to the same answer:

Because birth matters.

Whether or not it pertains to me in the moment, millions of women are giving birth every minute of every day, day after day.

There are movements surrounding birth. How we give birth safely and where. The rights of families to make choices and the rights of midwives and doulas.

Birth is a big deal.

It is such a fragile, exalting thing, for a woman to give birth.

I know how much one transforms through the experience of giving birth to our children. It changes us, leaving an imprint so strong, we feel it with each heartbeat. It’s Life. That’s very powerful.

Sometimes this “cause” feels to heavy a weight to carry. I don’t feel strong enough to hear the stories of brokenhearted women, taken advantage of. Or I become to busy with housework and details of raising a family well.

So I have to set it down and step back for a while. Consider my options, the amount of time I can dedicate, and ultimately, figure out how I can make a difference while keeping in balance with the rest of all this life that doesn’t pause along with me.

Quiet mornings such as this, (a light breeze coming off the lake through the open dining room windows; sporadic distant chirping) remind me there is a place for everything; that everything belongs and I need not carry a thing but my babe.

To simply be here is enough. As a listener, a teacher, or liaison between parties. It is enough that birth moves me – I can be a part of this movement by caring enough to take action when I can. I’ve been consumed in the past.  This site is my example. I spent many a late night on the computer after Ella went to sleep and continued through writing blog posts through the weeks of my pregnancy with Lucan.

To the others – the groups of people on Facebook, the bloggers and activists we see telling their stories on Facebook and Twitter – you are IT.  We are the group of people of our time – the generation – making difference in birth today. We are part of this movement together. Although the problems we face aren’t small, I see the work you do to encourage other women and families through their work.

Thank you. I’m glad to be a part of this movement with you.

Peace.

Home Birth Advocacy

Go On, Jump!

No Comments 18 July 2012

by Misha Safranski

I’ve been there. I know that place. You stand on the ledge, staring down into the tempting clear blue waters, knowing in your heart they are refreshing, pure, freeing…your heart pounds wildly as you try to sort out the risks and benefits of jumping from those of staying up on the ledge. Some try to urge you forward, many attempt to hold you back.

If you jump, you face the possibility of criticism, logistical challenges, and potential hostility if something should go wrong. If you remain on your perch, you may be caught up in a chain of events that could quickly spiral out of control.

It is the divide between home birth and hospital birth, and while the choice seems to be automatic for some, for others the leap is not that simple.

It’s highly likely that you already know the profound physical and emotional effects birth has on the mother/baby couple.

You probably also know how favorable the data is on home birth outcomes. The vast majority of mothers-to-be considering home birth do a mind boggling amount of research into the pros and cons – particularly regarding safety. Indecision is seldom due to lack of information, rather, it is the result of something deeper.

We all come to the home birth table with our own preconceived notions, baggage, fears, not to mention our own tribe – the baby’s father, grandparents, friends, relatives, all of those well meaning loved ones who may or may not understand, much less respect, our autonomy and inherent human right to choose our own birthing environment.

In spite of (some) appearances, we do not all come to the home birth table 110% ready to take the leap off that culturally accepted ledge into the wonderful, terrifying, freeing, comforting, liberating, incomprehensibly amazing world of birthing at home.

I was lucky, in a way. I knew I wanted several children, and if that hadn’t been the case I might never have gotten to experience the joy of coming around to home birth. After my first, born by cesarean due to my own typical first baby ignorance, I was not open to home birth right away. I had joined ICAN (International Cesarean Awareness Network) and had no shortage of support and information pouring over me in the form of the incredible women on the email group.

It’s not just about information. One can plug all the data in the world into the human brain and if that individual is not open to receive it at that time in their life, in their current space, the capacity to influence their choices will be minimal. As for me, I heard the information, I just wasn’t ready to let facts override fear quite yet. Over time my eyes did open and I had two beautiful HBACs.

As you stand on the ledge peering curiously into those unfamiliar waters, allow yourself to feel whatever you feel. Fear is normal. Fear signals danger and allows survival of our species. Take some quiet time to identify the root of it. Is it fear of pain? Fear of something happening to you or the baby? Intimidation of family and friends who can’t understand why you’d even consider having the baby at home?

All of these things are normal; while home birthers are typically pretty confident and self-assured on the outside, the truth is we’ve all felt fear in one form or another on this exhilarating journey. We honor those feelings, we prepare, and sometimes we just do it afraid.

Nearly 30,000 women give birth at home each year in the United States (and that number is growing). Each one must deal with fears and obstacles in order to leap off the ledge and buck the institutional system of birth. You can too.

Misha Safranski is mother to five beautiful children, birth mother to a sixth, VBAC mom, unschooling parent, intactivist, lactivist, and freelance writer. In addition to working full time for a major online media company, Ms. Safranski publishes an advocacy blog on birth and intuitive parenting issues called Creating Dissonance. She resides in Michigan with her children and furbabies.

Home Birth Advocacy

Home Birth Takes Courage!

1 Comment 14 July 2012

I think it takes a lot of guts to choose home birth.

Not only guts, but self confidence. And confidence in midwives, as well as your partner.

Families who choose to give birth at home are less than 1% of the population in the United States. That is very revealing of our current culture, don’t you think?

To me, it says most people are very afraid of birth. The most common question home birthers get asked is, “what if something goes wrong?”

This implies that you’ve got to be brave to give birth at home. Although this phrase or opinion has had a negative connotation with a lot of women who have given birth at home, I’d like to spin it in a positive light.

To better understand what I mean, watch the short video below.

Home Birth Advocacy

Home Birth, the Teacher

No Comments 09 July 2012

It was four years ago when I became pregnant, stopped smoking, quit the bar and found myself.

I started taking care of myself. It was the beginning of my “grown up” transformation. Before then, I was just a kid.

Just about midway through that first pregnancy, I discovered home birth. And that was the real game changer.

See, I never really knew what I wanted to do or who I wanted to be. I was a jack of all trades. Good at a lot of things but not really GREAT at one thing in particular. I couldn’t choose. I didn’t go to college and had no idea where my life would lead. Heck, I was so scared by not knowing the answer that I actually started talking myself into thinking working in a smokey bar was good enough for me.

Of course it wasn’t good enough for me at all.

When I got pregnant, and then when I discovered home birth, I knew that my life was changing for the better. I had found a cause to stand behind. Birth  concerned me, (because I was pregnant) but the more I learned about birth and the lack of women’s knowledge about their bodies and the process, the more emboldened I became.

Suddenly the pregnancy and the home birth I was planning became my mission.

While preparing for that home birth, I planned. I read and watched movies and talked to other women who had birthed at home (my piano teacher had two unassisted home births!). I interview our midwife, took a childbirth class and endured duel-care at the local hospital.

It was the first time in my life that I eagerly threw myself into learning everything I could about a subject. I became a student of birth and home birth.

Safe to say I learned a LOT! Enough to build this site, write an ungodly amount of blog posts, give birth at home twice and create an ebook.

Now my first home birth babe is 3 1/2 years old, and my second, (also born at home) just turned one. I’ve continued my commitment to learning by taking on new ventures with much more confidence than ever before. And I have home birth to thank for that.

What has home birth done for you? Has it taught you something in particular? Share your thoughts below!

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