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50 Shades of...Birth??

Posted on November 5, 2012 at 8:05 PM Comments comments (0)

50 Shades of ...Birth?? How Having A Baby Is A Lot Like Making A Baby

If you think about it, and I mean really think, having great sex is just like having a baby; at least it has been in my experience. Here are a few of my many observations on the similarities between the two.

HORMONES

The hormones necessary for great sex and orgasm are oxytocin, cortisol, pheromones, and prolactin; in birth these same four hormones play leading roles. Oxytocin stimulates contractions in the uterus. Cortisol aids in conversion of progesterone to estrogen. This elevated level of estrogen stimulates prostaglandin secretion and oxytocin receptor development, the hormones needed for labour! Pheromones help us feel at ease, and feel good about ourselves; a woman that feels safe and confident will labour and birth smoother. Prolactin, the mothering hormone! It is interesting to note that estrogen has little to do with sexual desire, and it is also lowest levels during pregnancy.

TIMING

Do we plan, or place time limits (ok, nooner’s aside) on the act of sex? Do we expect ‘The Deed’ to progress in a linear fashion? Or do we allow the event to unfold and simply enjoy the moment. Birth is the same. How would your partner feel if every two minutes you asked (or checked) him how far he was? If you ask me, that kind of takes all the fun out of it. Do you think that you would be able to sexually ‘perform’ under these conditions? Mothers in labour often crack under this pressure and get labeled ‘failure to progress/perform’.

SEX-ED VS. BABY SCHOOL

Remember those awkward classes where you were taught Sex-Ed? I don’t know about your classes, but nothing in those classes had anything to do with sex or taught me how to be a good lover. They kind of took all the fun out of it. I feel the same way about most Childbirth Education Classes. Watching my 9th Grade teacher put a condom on a dildo was about as much fun as watching my CBE teacher run a baby through a pelvis. Neither one of these classes gave the good lessons. For sex, experiment until you find what works for you or watch porn where people are actually doing it. For birth, experiment and watch videos that show birth! Or do it with someone (hey, everyone wants a 3-some) more experienced; a midwife, doula, or friend.

AUDIENCE

I don’t know about you, but I have never had sex with my mom or dad in the room. My first birth, I made the mistake of allowing my sister and mother-in-law to attend. What was I thinking! I just could not find my groove with an audience during the birth. My ‘ideal birth’ was derailed, augmented, and drugged.

AMBIANCE

So, ladies, when you are fanaticizing and ‘going solo’, do you dream of spot lights on your crotch, smells of antiseptic, strangers all around coaching you on how to do it, and alarms incessantly beeping? Or do you envision a dark, candle lit room with rose petals strewn on the bed, romantic music, and soft, sexy voices? Your cat knows the atmosphere needed for birth; she grabs your favourite sweater, runs to the shoe closet, and makes a perfect nest to birth her babies in. We need to give more consideration to what a labouring mother requires in her birth to create the correct ambiance for birth.

NOISES

It is interesting that how a woman sounds during great sex is very close to a woman having an amazing birth. These sounds are low, visceral, and sexy even! In supporting your partner in a great birth, encourage them to make these low, sexy sounds.

SENSATIONS

Imagine if we tried to de-sensitise ourselves during sex. Would we make condoms thicker, would we add numbing agents to lubricants, or would we inject ourselves with drugs that knocked us out completely? What do you think that it would do to our sexual performance or pleasure? This is exactly what we do to women in labour, yet we expect them to birth their baby. We give nitrous gas, analgesics, and even epidurals that numb everything from the rib cage down. Sure, they take away the pain, or make it so that you don’t care, but when push comes to shove, they need ‘purple pushing’, vacuum extractions, and forceps. Those nerves that have just been numbed play an important role in biofeedback; we need them to work.

IT IS PAINFUL! AND OTHER LIES

Oh the lies we were told to keep us away from enjoying sex; it hurts, if you masturbate you will grow hair on your palms, only bad girls enjoy it. But we have come to know the truth, haven’t we? Childbirth is not exactly an organism for most of us, but it can be enjoyed.

50 SHADES, AND OTHER GREAT STORIES

Oh, erotica. We love to read you, but are ashamed to share you in public. My friends are all over The Outlander series, ‘Who is your Jamie?’. Well, mine is my big, redheaded husband. That book series is so long and hot, I got pregnant reading the first, and the last 18 months later reading nothing in between. But when we do come across a great erotic book, it spreads like wild fire…you may have heard of a wee book similar to the title of this article. Why is it that we feel comfortable sharing those great sex moments, but shamed about great birth stories?

RESPECTING A WOMAN’S RIGHT TO BE READY

If a woman is not ready to have sex, and she is forced, we call this rape. If a woman is not ready to birth her baby, we call her ‘post date’ or ‘failure to progress’. Scare tactics of fear such as ‘you baby is too big’, ‘your pelvis is too small’ or ‘the longer we wait, the risks of a dead baby increase’ are employed. We make her feel like it is her fault that she is not ready. Thankfully we do not have this same opinion with sex.

THE FINAL TRUTH

What is birth other than the final act of sex? Most babies are still conceived in the bedroom (or bathroom, kitchen, backseat of a car, what have you). The man gives a woman a gift of sperm and all the other yummy fluids that go with it. The woman takes that sperm, nourishes it, nurtures it, grows it, and 40’ish weeks later she gives it back to him in the form of a beautiful baby, a placenta, and a bag full of water.

 

Lindsay Matthews © 2012. All Rights Reserved.

 

Delayed Cord Clamping As Explained by Penny Simpkin

Posted on December 1, 2011 at 3:30 PM Comments comments (0)

Check out this video on YouTube and decide for yourself. I wonder why would you not wait?

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=W3RywNup2CM&feature

According to Penny Simkin, studies done by Hutton (http://www.medscape.com/viewarticle/708616_4) prove that the bilirubin levels in babies who have received the additional one third of their blood volume from the placenta -through delayed cord clamping- have not been high enough to cause clinical jaundice. Why would you keep this part of the baby’s blood from him/her? This blood is oxygenated when it reaches the baby. Essentially, when you cut the cord immediately after birth and do not allow the placenta to give this blood back to baby you are preventing one third of your child’s blood from reaching him/her. Who would like for one third of their own blood to be removed? Would we ever deprive our newborns of oxygen? When you clamp and cut the cord just minutes after birth, this is what happens. One third of the oxygenated blood does not reach your babe, so his/her oxygen levels could be deficient by one third at birth as well. Your baby could be breathing much harder than a baby with all of its oxygen in order to catch up, right?

This truly puts into perspective the gravity of my own decisions. I recall that my full term, uncomplicated twins (surgically born with immediate cord clamping) both needed some help breathing randomly within the first 48hrs and my youngest son (born vaginally with delayed cord clamping) was discharged 8 hours after being born with no trouble breathing at all. It makes me think that there maybe something to this.

I also consider the thousands of dollars spent by parents to preserve this same cord blood through cord banking. They cord bank so that if your child or relative requires stem cells as part of a treatment process, they will be there. Kind of like an insurance policy. I would prefer to give my child(ren) the best start by giving them the gift of cord blood and all of its benefits, instead of holding it in trust. Why would you not want as much of this ‘gold’ to be collected by your babe….and give him/her the best chance that you can.

For great information on the benefits of delayed cord clamping check out http://midwifeinfo.com/articles/cord-clamping--please-wait or google “benefits of delayed cord clamping”. This is a practice that can be brought to the attention of all health care providers (midwife or OB) and is available by maternal request. Please talk to your caregiver about this before you go into labour to get more details and their take on this practice.

Have a great week!!!

Erika

The Right to Choose Our Transportation on Our Birth Journey

Posted on November 3, 2011 at 10:35 AM Comments comments (0)

I knew I wanted to discuss vaginal birth after cesarean (VBAC) this week, but when I came across the following article: http://enjoybirth.com/blog/2010/03/05/birth-is-a-journey-shouldnt-we-be-able-to-choose-our-transportation/ I was reminded of how important our transportation truly is in the days/months and years after our births. One of the women –Callie- in the article still has nightmares from her experience and Evelyn feels that she was lied to.

This article’s metaphor got me thinking about my two birth journeys. I have 3 boys – twins born by surgical birth and a singleton who arrived 2 years later by VBAC. My first birth left me feeling like Evelyn, I was never told about the surgical risks or – more importantly- the long term effects that having a c-section has on future births. Although I do not have nightmares from the surgery - as I did not have any complications and found it to be less of an ordeal than I had built up in my mind - I was not prepared for the uphill battle I would have to fight during my second pregnancy in order to achieve a VBAC.

I have been told that I was lucky to have had a choice -which is true because a generation ago choices were not given- but I was not given a choice for my first birth and had to fight for a ‘choice’ the second time. Today there is a huge discrepancy in the type of birth attendants we may choose as well as a discrepancy within those categories. You may choose a midwife because they are rumored to be less invasive and find yourself fighting interventions the whole way through or you may go with an OB and find yourself having a VBAC breech delivery (as experienced by one of my doula clients). Due to this discrepancy it is imperative that we, as expectant parents, thoroughly explore all of the options that are available.

Many of us have heard about the ‘intervention slide’ that often occurs to get labor going. It starts with the artificial rupture of membranes or a drip of pitocin to get things started, which may lead to the use of some type of pain medication to offer some relief from the induced contractions and can end up with a surgical birth after hours of labor that a woman’s body was just not ready for. If these interventions were not enough -after nine months of waiting to meet your new babe- we also need to plow through a plethora of risks quoted to us by our care providers. The part that is left out is that these ‘risks’ are not accurately communicated. Bruce Flamm, MD states in Birth After Cesarean: The Medical Facts , that VBAC parents “have been erroneously told that they are in a very high-risk group” as well as “the chance that a VBAC candidate will require emergency surgery is, for all practical purposes, no higher than that of any other pregnant woman” and “the risk of VBAC is not substantially greater than the risk of any type of childbirth.” He also states, “Midwives generally give care to low-risk or ‘normal’ pregnant women. However, VBAC mothers are not excluded. Numerous medical reports have revealed that VBAC is not associated with substantially more risk than any other childbirth.” All of these results have been quoted from a handful of medical studies. I suggest exploring the following studies: Rageth (1999), Mankuta (2003), Landon (2004), Fang (2006), Silver (2006), Mercer (2008) all of which have been quoted on http://vbacfacts.com/vbac/. Check out this VBAC facts site for all of the real risks of VBAC!

Enjoy choosing your transportation! We support all of your birth choices ~ Bellies2Babies

Top 10 Books to Read Before You Become A Parent

Posted on February 2, 2011 at 7:24 PM Comments comments (0)

I am frequently asked “What books do you feel are good ones to read?” To be honest, there are many, many great ones out there and it would be quicker for me to say which ones I would NOT read (such as the whole ‘What to Expect...’ line)So here is my short list of favourites.

Books About Birth:

1. Birthing The Easy Way by Sheila Stubbs. Available through www.birthingtheeasyway.com  This book tells it like it is. No fluff, no BS, just like your BFF or Mom would love to tell you about birth.

2. The Birth Partner by Penny Simkin. This is almost like a “Doula in a Book”. It is great because is has darkened pages to allow you to review the Coles Notes version.

3. The Dr Sears Library by Dr William Sears. Ok, I know this isn’t a single book, but anything by him is great stuff! He is a supporter of homebirth, delayed vaccinations, attachment parenting, and co-sleeping. I wish I had him on speed dial for every pregnancy/birth/parenting question.

4. Birthing From Within by Pam England. I love this Earthy-Birthy book. Most of the information is relevant to any woman achieving her desired birth experience, but for me, it’s the Blessingways and other extra that draws me in.

5. Spiritual Midwifery by Ina May Gaskin. I don’t know a Doula or Midwife out there that doesn’t love this book. I love it because it shows women the huge range of ‘normal’ for labours, from mere minutes to days and how the trust that women have in their caregivers can affect their labours.

6. The Business of Being Born by Ricki Lake & Abby Epstein. Although it is an American movie do not fool yourself into thinking that in Canada birth isn’t a business, too!

Books About Breastfeeding:

7. Dr Jack Newman’s Guide To Breastfeeding by Dr Jack Newman & Theresa Pitman. What can I say; this man (yes MAN!) is the Guru of breastfeeding. Best thing, he’s Canadian!

8. The Womanly Art of Breastfeeding by La Leche League International. This organization has done more for breastfeeding knowledge and advocacy then anyone else I can think of. I love the newest edition; it has been totally overhauled, updated and re-organized.

9. Ina May’s Guide to Breastfeeding by Ina May Gaskin. Another instant classic. It’s a book about breastfeeding by Ina May, how can you go wrong!

10. If These Boobs Could Talk: A Little Humor to Pump Up the Breastfeeding Mom by Adrienne Hedger & Shannon Payette Seip. Ok, so this book isn’t full of enlightening information; but when you have that moment when you have 2 huge wet spots on the front of your t-shirt, you small like cheese, and your baby just tested you nipples for armour with their new tooth, you need a little humour. This book made me pee (just a little!) in my panties from laughter.

I could easily list 20 more, but you asked for the short list. If you have a great birth/breastfeeding book to add, please leave it in the comments! I am always up for a good read.

Happy Birthing!

Lindsay

Informed Choice

Posted on September 23, 2010 at 3:45 PM Comments comments (0)

In labour we are often told “do not think about labour, just do what your body tells you to do”. This can be hard to do when you have decisions to be made in the middle of a concentrating on your labour. What might seem like a small ‘yes’ can quickly cascade into something else. It is very important to educate yourself, your partner and the rest of your birth support team, before labour on all of the potential outcomes of you decisions. This is where a Doula can come in handy. They can offer impartial information at a critical time in your labour to help you in your decision making.

 

 

When I was training to become a Doula we were taught the BRAIN thought process for decision making, and I will share it with you. It is a great tool to fully explore any option, dealing with childbirth or anything else you may encounter in your life.

Benefits  What are the benefits of us doing this? Will this solve a problem, or cascade to

others?

Risks  Are there any risks associated with this? Do the benefits really outweigh the risks? What would the next step be if we follow this route?

Alternatives  Are there any? What are they? What are their benefits and risks?

Intuition  I am a huge believer that parents know best. They are also the ones that have to deal with any of the following emotions with making any decision.

Nothing  What will happen if I/we do nothing? What will happen? This can be the most important part and is often overlooked. You always have the option of doing nothing.

 

How many women that have given birth can actually say that all of these categories were covered when and intervention, test or procedure was done to them? Or was a lot of what happened done out of ‘routine’. Something as simple and routine as getting an IV. It is just part of the hospital routine. Not many Moms-to-be know that they have the option to not have one, or that they have an alternative known as a Hep-lock. Sure, it might be needed, and it seems like a good idea. No one told me of the risks, or that I have an option. So sure, let’s get one, just in case. But few realize that now they have this uncooperative pole to drag around and a hand that can’t be moved freely. But I wanted to get in the tub!! Can’t, I have to keep the IV dry, and I might get it infected. “Well, no one told me that!” Were you really given ‘informed consent’?

 

This is how any information should be presented to a mother in pregnancy, labour and the postpartum period. Why should we expect the Mom in LDR #1 to progress at the same rate as Mom in LDR #3? They won’t. And until Moms are given real information and allowed to make the choices best for them, not the doctor, midwife or nurse. Not the latest study, recommendation, or style. We will not be given true informed consent. In the next several articles, I will provide an in depth, unbiased information on common interventions encountered during pregnancy and birth. Please keep in mind that this information is not to replace medical advice, but as a platform for you to become informed, and to open discussion between yourself and your care providers.

Welcome To My Blog!

Posted on August 15, 2010 at 10:13 PM Comments comments (0)

I am so new to this whole 'website' and 'Blog' thing. It has been, and continues to be, a huge period of growth.

My intent is to create dialogue about how Canadian's (especially Londoners) birth; by informing women and partners through the B.R.A.I.N process of their birth Benefits, Risks, Alternatives, Intuition and Do Nothing about everything Birth, Babies, and Breastfeeding. I encourage comments, positive or negative, from everyone.

Enjoy!

Lindsay