Wednesday, January 28, 2009

The Big Push

The Big Push is a national campaign to license midwives in all 50 states. Here is an AP article about them.

Home-birth advocates press pro-midwife campaign

Sunday, January 25, 2009

Joyful's Journey

Faith not Fear by Jennifer Miller

I knitted a soul in my womb for 9 months and delivered my bundle of Joy in a way that I believe God intended. It's funny how I say "I", when I hardly feel like I had anything to do with the process. Yes. I felt my body do it's job…grow, expand, stretch and I felt life on the inside of me. It was my God given body that knew what to do when creating a soul, not my mind…or even my heart. My mind and heart knew how to make wise decisions on how to treat my body during this unique time in my life. It was able to decipher the most genuine way to bring a little heart into this world. But even then, my wise decisions came from God who in the end…rules my mind, heart and soul.

Throughout this process, I knew what was right for "me" and that is what is most important. Figure out what weighs heavy on your heart and run with it…no matter what, in all aspects of life. That weight is there for a reason. In this situation, I had trust and faith in God that I was made to bare fruit. I built stepping-stones of faith that were padded with trust, which allowed me to swallow up all the fear that the world had previously taught me about childbirth. I trusted that my body was prepared and made perfect to bare a child.

Trying desperately to comprehending that my baby is a gift, a piece of heaven, a miracle…how could I bring her into this world any other way then in a way of purity. To me, she is an angel of grace. No words could ever explain it, or my feelings towards God. For me, with all that's been said, my decision to have my daughter at home was an easy decision to BELIEVE in. It felt right to me even when it felt and seemed wrong to most in my life. I had no doubts or fears. I had questions and I took the time to find answers. I researched about natural childbirth vs. the business of an unnatural delivery. A hospital vs. a home. The facts easily weighed heavier on one side for me and overflowing handfuls of prayers were sent for take off. God answers prayers…always. Try being persistent and let me know if the outcome leaves you empty hearted.

I found a beauty in the core of childbirth. It far surpassed the fright in birth. Birth is something real. There is nothing in this world that is more real. It brings love to its surface. Nothing gets hidden or left behind…cluttered, or neglected. Love comes alive when giving birth. Does that sound scary? It sounds thrilling to me. It is something that all men and women are entitled to. Yes, I say men because I truly believe it not only takes two to make a baby, but to birth a baby as well. Or at least for me it did...

Josh, Joshy, Joshua. Without my husbands strength, it almost feels like I would not have made it through to actual motherhood. Not because of the pain, but rather my lack of endurance. I experienced over 24 hours of labor. No, not hours of the labor you see on T.V. but hours of being awake. I woke up at about 4:00 in the morning of February 18th 2008 with pretty steady contractions. This I had been experiencing for the previous month so I was not going to be so sure that this was actually "time". I was already dilating by this point so my body was definitely doing what it was supposed to. By about 5am I woke Josh up and let him know that this might actually be it. Of course we were excited so instead of doing the wise thing and getting more rest, we decided to organize last minute stuff around the house to help us prepare for the delivery of our little love. We were hoping that it happened quick before all of our visitors welcomed in the day. Yes, my husbands parents, my Mom, both my sisters, my brother along with his friend were all staying at our house. Yes, our little girl decided to come so everyone could party alongside her arrival.

Everyone awoke to me officially being in labor…so my Mom had to do the appropriate thing. She made a wonderful breakfast for everyone and we feasted. We ended up hanging with everyone all afternoon until about 4pm. We kicked everyone out, Josh and I took a walk to this sundial that is in our neighborhood. It was great to be with just him and get some fresh air. By this time my contractions were almost 4 minutes apart fighting to be consistent. By 5pm they were extremely consistent, so our wonderful midwife Maria came over to check my progress. By this time I was only dilated to 3cm and well on my way to birthing land. Maria left and explained to Josh that he should call her when I seemed more introverted and sensed a change in my attitude. We have always been so grateful for Maria due to her calmness and honesty when letting us make our own decisions. She knew her role throughout my pregnancy and birth, and that was to keep me and my baby as safe as possible.

By about midnight, I was definitely in my own birthing world but Josh was right there with me. He was by my side during every contraction and completely in tune with my body. It felt so right. Maria came back after midnight and I was dilated to about 5.5 cm and this is what they call a transition stage. This is when labor truly becomes labor ladies!. Until this point, labor, contractions, is something that you can relax through. Hence, this is when I should have been taking a nap! Little did I know?

You know how you see woman blowing and reacting outrageously during contractions? Trying to do all the things that are taught in childbirth classes or seen on t.v.? I did not take any classes because I believed that my body knew how to give birth, not my mind. I did not want any teacher or class to influence my mind. I had God and that was all I felt I needed. You have to be true to yourself in this vulnerable state. This I know, those classes are lifesavers for many! But for me, in my heart I knew that I needed to trust God that my body already knew what to do. I believe that God can actually heal pain, all silhouettes and configurations, from heartache to a laboring contraction. All it takes is focus and faith; the opposite of fear.

During my labor I was embedded in prayer and never had felt such a need and desire to connect with God. Realizing how divine this whole process is; truly attracts a deeper relationship. The more I relaxed, took in slow breaths and got all lost in love…the less pain I felt. The contractions I experienced felt like a muscle contraction. An expansion really. I did not feel contracted by any means. I could actually feel my bones spreading and making way for my baby to come into this world. It was crazy and surreal. It was incredible and empowering. But I have to say, if I were to move something as little as wiggling my toe…I felt the tightness of a contraction… a lack in faith.

With endurance on my mind, or short of it…I tried almost desperately to relax during and in between each contraction. I fell asleep between contractions so I would say that I was rather relaxed and exhausted! During contractions…it was hit or miss! I quickly realized that it requires more energy to relax and surrender, have faith, than it does to tighten up and go against the natural rhythm of a contraction. That holds symbolism about the way we live our lives.
Pregnant ladies, get rest because labor is like running a marathon. Maybe 2 or 3! It requires such an abundance of energy and strength, but it's those natural hormones…those highs, there is nothing else like it. Just when you think you can't push any longer or harder…breathe any slower…you pull through it and things become easy and divine. It's a crazy thing. You come out a warrior. Again…more symbolism.

Finally, time reached through to the morning of February 19th and I was dilated to 10cm. I had done it. My body had finally spread wide enough to pop a love bug out! The only problem was that my water had not broken yet. Weird, huh? For most this happens more towards the beginning or middle of labor…and then there is me. Holding on until the very end as usual. I realized that this baby was not going to come out until that water sac broke. And here I thought…you just dilate to 10cm and boom, your baby comes gliding out. You actually have to PUSH your baby out and this takes more endurance than you could ever imagine!!! By this point, pushing during contractions takes away any kind of pain and now simply feels awkward.

This is where my husband Josh truly stepped it up and decided to push with me on the side of our bed to break my water. He sat me on his lap in between contractions and spoke calmly to me reminding me to relax and rest up for the next contraction. By the time a contraction came he put his arms under mine, my hands were on top of his and together, we squatted down and pushed as hard as we could. I listened to Josh's voice screaming in my ear, "come on babe, you can do it, you can do it". Moments later I was being picked up and put back in his lap to rest up for the next one.

Okay. It was time. Josh and I knew the next contraction was going to be our last. The sac was bulging out of me like a snow globe. Maria suggested I feel it and when doing so it made me understand the progression we were making. There was an unspoken sync between all of us involved. Me and Josh squatted for the last time and BOOM, my water burst all over our bedroom floor. He went to put me back onto his lap until I informed him that he needed to put me back down. Our little girl’s head was coming out. She started to glide out immediately and two very light and graceful pushes later, Joyful Journey Miller was in my arms. She was 7 pounds and 14 ounces.

Although my birth was not what we had "planned", I would have it no other way. We believed that I would deliver in our birthing pool and have at least a video camera set up. We also assumed that my labor would be much shorter. Funny what happens when you assume. No, Joyful did not arrive in water or stained on any kind of film or pixel, but my experience was divine. More perfect than my dreams ever could have imagined.

Giving birth, being a Mom, and a Wife has come second to nothing in my life aside from God. All three roles exist as one in my mind. All three roles require faith, strength, love and most importantly, sacrifice. These traits have shaped and formed my true ability. They have allowed me the experience to reach out to nothing and gain everything. God has brought the ugly and me in and out of the good. God gives. And gives some more. I deserve nothing. None of us do. But I will say this; I have these gifts on my side that God willing are going nowhere.

Friday, January 23, 2009

Marshmallow White House

Does this really have to do with birth? I told my friends I would put up the White House on my blog. So here it is, the elves left this for us on Christmas Day. Gotta love those elves. But, I can relate it to birth. Just give me a second.
The creation of a new White House has brought a moment of opportunity for all of us who care for moms and babies. I will be working this year (and the next 3) to get our message heard. President Obama encourages participatory government which means that they are listening and want us to join the dialog. Hope and change are in the air.
(How was that?)

Wednesday, January 21, 2009

33 minutes after Christmas

For too many women, Cesarean Section leaves behind an aftermath of self-doubt, confusion and pain. The internal messages of "I can't do this" or "My body doesn't work" linger long after the scar has begun to fade. It is this internal dialog that diminishes a woman's ability to reach her truest level of self-confidence. And this same dialog that makes VBAC so triumphant-- the overcoming of self and doubt and external messages.
Margarita and Kareem welcomed Toshiro, 33 minutes after Christmas, 2008-- a home vaginal birth after a previous cesarean. Margarita, reclaim your power and congratulations!

Tuesday, January 20, 2009

Elegance and Eloquence

Our new president calls on us to be inclusive, respectful and curious about our differences as an American people. I want to extend that vision to the birthing world. What we truly need in regards to Maternity Care Reform is a willingness for all practitioners to be respectful of our differences and curious about our common ground. How can we help each other to fulfill our goals for healthier moms and babies? There are so many women to serve, each with her own priorities and desires. There is room enough for us all to serve them in our own way. But we need to work together. Go to and let your thoughts about including midwifery and homebirth in a new health plan be known.

Sunday, January 18, 2009

Maternity Care Reform in America

Please join the Midwives Alliance in helping to spread the word and join the conversations about Maternity Care Reform in America. Send this link to all that you know, especially educators, law makers, movers and shakers, mamas and papas who are willing to join in our movement.


The final CDC report for 2006 is now available. The CSection rate soared to 31.1% nationally, again another all time high. We have lots of work to do for those of us who believe that midwifery and natural birth can hold the answers to some of our maternity care challenges. Here is the report: 2006 Data from the CDC.

Thursday, January 15, 2009


Suffice to say that they named her Joyful Journey.
Congratulations Jennifer and Josh who will be welcoming their next J baby in 2009.

Saturday, January 3, 2009

Home Birth on 20/20

Orgasmic Birth and Home birth on 20/20. Take a look!
ABC 20/20