Wednesday, January 30, 2008

ICAN and VBAC Ban Project - Get Involved Today

This is taken from written by a fellow ICAN Board member and all around amazing woman, Gretchen H.

Please read, think and get involved.

The VBAC ban project is finally up and running! What is this you ask? Well, simply put, we are going to call every hospital in the U.S. and find out what their policy is on VBAC. The International Cesarean Awareness Network did this a few years back and found out that over 300 hospitals officially "ban" VBAC (even though this is patently illegal). Needless to say, we are sure the situation is much worse now. But, the cool thing is that ICAN is about to launch a fantastic new website and included on that website is a map of the U.S. upon which every one of the hospitals we call will appear....with information about that hospital and its policies on VBAC. AND, there will be a way for anyone to leave feedback about that hospital, so you can see what other women experienced there. But, in order for this to happen, we need people to call! So if you are interested in helping out, please email me at and I'll get you set up and going.Help ICAN shine the light into the oppression that so many hospitals are inflicting on women.

The International Cesarean Awareness Network, Inc. (ICAN) is a nonprofit organization whose mission is to improve maternal-child health by preventing unnecessary cesareans through education, providing support for cesarean recovery, and promoting Vaginal Birth After Cesarean (VBAC).


2VBA2C - If I would have only known more and had information like ICAN provides, I might not be a part of the sisterhood of the scar

Thursday, January 17, 2008

If Grandma can do it, so can you. Birth that is.

So the idea that women just aren't the same these days and no longer able to spontaneously go into labor or birth in our society has been bounding around in my head for weeks spurned by re-reading an inspiring story written by a local doula. I have read this story many times and each time I am struck by the power in it. As I initially sat down to write this blog a week or so ago, I thought I really need to include this writing so I spoke with the author Gina P. She graciously gave me permission to use the story knowing it would be forever in cyber space. I have chosen to edit down the story a bit to retain more privacy and am abbreviating the name as requested. Please enjoy.

Grandma C

"... She was born in 1911, and contracted polio as a child, leaving her with a hunched back and a contracted pelvis. ...Her first son was born in 1931. He was a large baby, but she welcomed that in a time when babies often died. Large meant healthy. Her second son was born in 1939, another large boy, and again healthy. In 1945, she was going through menopause and found a mass in her abdomen. She had exploratory surgery to find the mass and remove it, but when my mom was found in her uterus, she was stitched back up and pleased to carry a baby to full term. My mom was born vaginally after this surgery, a footling breech. Again, her contracted pelvis, small stature, and psychological barriers were no problem, and she had an otherwise uncomplicated birth with this baby! She lived to be 92.

When I see or hear about the inherent disbelief that babies can be born for whatever reason, I tend to think about my Grandma C. She really had the odds stacked against her in many ways throughout her life, but having babies was never a problem for her. She didn't know any better than to just give birth. It makes me cry to see how some (most?) women feel about their uterus, pelvis, cervix, and vagina. And how this is perpetuated. Grandma C. was shamed by society to keep even the normal processes like menstruation a secret from anyone (unfortunately, even my mom), but she gave birth because it was her job as a wife and mother. And if it wasn't a problem for her, I wonder how many of the problems that are discussed with other women nowadays are true. I wonder how much of her hard work keeping house and tending older children helped her to give birth. At the end of her life, Grandma C. was ridden with dementia, and she would tell a few stories over and over again. I listened each time as she would tell of life on the farm as a young girl and how much of a burden she had to carry. But giving birth was something she felt she did pretty well.

About the author: Gina is a birth doula and childbirth educator in Colorado who strives to help prevent primary cesareans and to support all women who want a VBAC. Viva la revolucion!

By today's standards would this strong, capable and physically imperfect woman be "allowed" to just birth? The disturbing truth is NO she likely wouldn't. She would almost assuredly be told she couldn't ever birth children, that she is far too physically broken, and if she did carry a pregnancy to term that she must have a cesarean to safely deliver a healthy baby and mother.

By no one telling her she couldn't do it, she just did it. She knew it was one of her jobs in life. A usual expectation. I would venture to guess it wasn't easy, but nothing worthwhile is ever easy.

I will echo Gina and question, how much of what women are led to believe today is not based in truth? How many women are led down the path of fear to induction, medication, instrumental delivery or cesarean because they are being told over and over they cannot or should not labor and birth normally? Too small, too skinny, too fat, too young, too old, too scarred, too imperfect, too overdue.....This is not true. We need to stop believing that we inherently cannot.

Plain and simple fear instilling care, induction, augmentation, continuous monitoring, epidurals, cesareans and everything that goes with them - places low risk women and babies into a category of high risk, lessening the ability to JUST DO IT. Even truly high risk moms and babies are being hindered, but that is a note for another day.

Labor can be tough, it can be blissful, painful, orgasmic, you name it. It is anything and everything. My hope is that women will stop believing these lies and again start believing that it is something women are meant for, a normal expectation.

Be encouraged by Grandma C and all those like her. My heartfelt thank you to Gina for allowing me to inspire others with her writing.


Desirre Andrews CCCE, LCCE, CLD, CLE

Friday, January 11, 2008

Finding The Right Midwife For Your Home Birth


· What is your birth philosophy?
· What is your training? Are you certified? If yes, with whom and why? If no, why not?
· Are you licensed in the state of _____?
· What is your scope of practice?
· When would you find it necessary to go outside your scope of practice?
· Are there any circumstances (physical, emotional, and/or spiritual) would you not take a woman as a patient?
· When would you risk out a patient?
· What is your style of practice (laid back, hands on, managing)?
· How much time will be spent with me during each appointment? Do you come to my home or do I come to your office?
· At what intervals will you see me during pregnancy?
· What can I expect at a prenatal visit?
· What routine tests are utilized during pregnancy? What if I decline these tests?
· What routine herbs or supplements do you like your patients taking during pregnancy?
· At what point in labor do you normally arrive?
· What positions are you comfortable catching in? Birth stool? Hand/Knees? Squatting? Standing? Water?
· What do you do in the event a complication arises during labor or birth? When would you transfer a patient?
· Do you ever do episiotomies? If yes, when, why and how often?
· How are post-dates (post-42 weeks) handled in your practice?
· Do you ever encourage induction by pharmaceutical, herbal, AROM or other natural means? If yes, please describe.
· Do you have a partner or an assistant?
· Who would attend me if you are ill, had an emergency or are at another birth?
· Briefly please describe the types of births you are most and least experienced with.
· What if I hire a doula? Are there restrictions on the doula I may hire? If yes, why? What is your perception of the role of a doula at a homebirth?

Points to ponder afterward:

· Did you feel immediately comfortable and heard at the interview?
· Was MW willing to answer questions in detail without being annoyed?
· Are you comfortable with her scope of practice?
· Are her expectations of you reasonable?
· Are your expectations of her reasonable?
· Are you able to take full responsibility for your decisions with this midwife?

All Rights Reserved Desirre Andrews Birthing Touch 2008