How to pursue a homebirth

So you want to have a homebirth but dont know where to start? Here a guideline to push you in the right direction.

  1. Find a midwife (or three) to talk to. Ask all your questions of what it will be like and make sure you voice any big fears you have. Your midwife will be used to talking through these with clients and may have a perspective that you haven’t even considered yet.

  2. Reserve your spot! Pay your deposit for the midwife you want to work with so your spot is held. Midwives have a small number of clients they can take each month and they usually book up far in advance. If you want in, then it makes sense to work fast.

  3. Read through all your paperwork, make sure you understand the expectations your midwife has of you and what you can expect from her. Write down important dates in your calendar.

  4. Stay invested in your care. Continue to eat and drink according to your midwives guidelines. Work to be informed about your care and ask all your questions as they come up.

I hope this is helpful for all you soon-to-be-pursuing-homebirth clients out there!

Creating your birth space

You probably know that you want to have a calming and relaxed environment for your birth. This is because your cervix is really quite demanding with it’s very own timetable of how quickly it wants to dilate. So bossy! But it only want to dilate in a space that feels safe and for your cervix, you’ll do anything so let’s get started.

You can create this space in lots of different ways and simply being in your own home is an excellent place to start! Bring enough of your own things and you can set up a hospital room to be very cozy too.

I like to think though all five of the senses when preparing a birth space. Let’s start with what you will see. Here is where birth affirmations come in, the low lighting (think lamps and candles),and a clean environment. During a natural birth, your eyes will be closed at least half the time, when they are open they won’t always be focused but every once in awhile, when you are focused, it would be great if see something encouraging and beautiful before you sink in again.

Next let’s do what you smell. Here is the essential oil diffuser, attendants who don’t smell like anything (no BO people!) and bland food. Fresh fruit, cheese and nuts work well. Fresh ice water is a must (okay, well I guess this covers what you will taste too).

How about what you hear. Heres your birth playlists which could be songs or the sound of waves. Voices around you should be soft, calm and encouraging. You could have a carpet on the floor too so the sound of steps is muffled.

Finally is what you will touch. This is where water shines! In the shower, bath or a birth tub all forms of water is soothing and when immersed, the weight of your own body is lighter so you can change positions without the groans.

So when your preparing your birth space, grab an aspect for each of your five senses, make it your own and give your cervix a place to do its thang.

I Barter

If you’re a client who is looking at my fees and saying… woah! Then I’ve got an option for you. I don’t believe that I always have to be paid in money, sometimes clients have something even better to offer, a skill or product that I find just as valuable as you do. It’s just the best when I barter and both the client and myself feel like we’re getting the better end of the deal. Let’s see if we can work something out together.

Traditional Chinese or Raw Method for Placenta Encapsulation… You choose

I’ve began offering placenta encapsulation to clients in the greater Cincinnati area 8 years ago, when I was trained by a local home birth midwife. Since then I have undergone a more traditional weekend workshop on placenta encapsulation and I’ve learned tons through my personal experience.

I began by offering the raw method of placenta encapsulation because there’s a belief that none of the potential benefits of the placenta are cooked out. I am now also offering the Chinese traditional method.

I know that there are many reasons that clients might prefer this. Some of which may be because of their religious beliefs, that they want to share their placenta capsules with someone else, or they simply feel safer consuming a placenta that has been steamed. Either way feel free to tell me your preference when you book me. I’m happy to answer any questions you might have!

Here’s to a happier and more whole postpartum season!

How to Prevent Tearing During Birth: A Midwives Method

Almost every client is worried about tearing during the birth of her baby. Tearing is a real and legitimate fear women have and I am glad that I have the experience to address it! When I read blog posts I want writers to GET TO THE POINT so, I’ll go ahead and bullet out a midwives approach to preventing tears during birth now.

1. Slow down drastically at the birth of your babies head.

2. Support your tissues externally as they stretch during birth.

3. Get body work at term to keep you and your baby in an ideal position for birth.

For those of you who want more information about those bullets above I will go into detail now.

1. Slow down drastically at the birth of your babies head:

The whole purpose of this is to allow the vaginal tissues to stretch instead of popping open. (I know some of you just did a involuntary kegel with that word pop! Lol.) When a client reaches term, we discuss that when she feels a burning or stinging sensation during pushing (otherwise known as ‘the ring of fire’), she should communicate that to me. This is the point where the head is crowning, or where the largest portion of the head is at the vaginal opening. Its interesting to me that slowing down at crowning isn’t something that women naturally do. Its much more common for women to feel the intensity of crowning, think to themselves that they can finish the birth real quick and just blast the baby out. This is the point when your support people come in. When I see and hear that a woman is crowning I say a couple things. First, I ask her to take a breath, then open her eyes and tell her it’s time to slow down. Then we lock eyes and take a couple big breaths together. If she can just breathe through a couple contractions, allowing her uterus to push but not putting force behind it, that is usually all the stretching that the tissues need to be tear free!

2. Support your tissues externally as they stretch during birth:

Otherwise known as perineal support. See image below.

When I’m at a birth as a midwife, I use a folded washcloth to support the anus and perinuem as much a possible during every contraction once there is active head movement with pushing. This extra exterior support not only reminds mom to slow down but also holds the skin together to keep tearing from happening. Perineal Support is even more beneficial if the mom is providing it for herself because she can feel exactly where the support is needed, but alas, it’s difficult for her to reach! Providing perineal support can be discussed with your care provider to see what their practice is.

3. Get body work at term to keep you and your baby in an ideal position for birth:

An ideal baby position at birth will keep the diameter of the head the smallest it can be to lessen the likelihood or tearing. This means your babies chin will be well tucked and the babies back is towards your belly, on the left hand side. Body work can align YOU, so the baby is free to move to the best position. I always recommend a deep tissue massage therapist who is comfortable working on pregnant moms for body work.

Notes to know:

There are degrees of tear depth, that go anywhere from just a scratch all the way to through the anus. See the image below:

Questions? Feel free to contact me or comment below.

The hardest part of birth

There is no doubt that you will work hard during a natural birth. We all know it! Any of us who have done it have heard comments like, “I could never do that” and “You are way stronger than I am”. The thing is that those comments aren’t true and I think it gives the wrong idea to New Moms who are considering a natural birth. What really is the hardest part? It’s not that contractions are so incredibly painful, it’s that you have to LET GO. Some of you reading this will know exactly what I mean immediately but I’ll explain for the rest of you.

Letting go is a process that ideally you will begin at the beginning of your pregnancy and continue working on until your birth. It means letting go of expectations of exactly how your birth will go, letting go of fear, and allowing your body, heart, and mind to do exactly what millions of women’s before you have done. Allowing a baby to pass through you and out into the world. That’s the hardest part! Letting go and allowing trust of the process in.

Is homebirth messy? 

That homebirth is messy is a common thought for individuals who haven’t seen birth or a brand new to it. There’s an idea that fluids shoot out of the mother’s body followed quickly by fluids from the newborn’s, and soon enough there is blood dripping from the ceiling! Or wait… Maybe that was my idea when I first started going to births. I think that partly had to do with my fear that went hand-in-hand with thoughts of birth. The fear that mother’s bleed too much, there’s a whole lot of screaming and that women couldn’t do it without their doctors, preferably male at that. Oh how I’ve changed!

My fear has been replaced with reverence. My work at Birth is done with compassion and in awe of the power that we as women hold to produce and sustain life straight out of our bodies! It is fantastical! Okay I might have just made that word up but it fits perfectly. Can you imagine that one body produces another. So have I seen a mother Hemorrhage and bleed too much… Yes of course. Have I seen her leave little puddles behind her as she walks across the floor, yes of course. Have I seen her water burst, spraying the area around her, yes of course! And guess what? It’s all quickly wiped up. At most we have to use hydrogen peroxide to Bubble it out of the carpets, but I’m telling you it’s like the baby came from a stork by the time we leave. It’s that clean! Except for the fact that Mom is sore and exhausted from some of the hardest work she will ever do.

Free Postpartum Depression plan 

I recently realized that I have something that others may not have when it comes to postpartum depression. I not only have personal experience and really understand it, I have tools that can help. I’m so passionate about this issue because I know how debilitating it can be not only for the mother but for her whole family. Psychologist agree that the mother and her child set the tone for their relationship within the first couple years of life and if that first year is wrought with postpartum depression it can be challenging to come back from. I’m offering my community a free document which I have titled, ‘Get out of my life: postpartum depression plan’. It’s a plan to create with your partner and I will be happy to pass it on to anyone who requests it! Placenta encapsulation can also really help, so feel free to ask me about that as well. Here’s to beautiful postpartum periods!