Moving right along….

WOW!!! This week has been exciting!

Monday, I drove to Atlanta for my weekly prenatal visit, where it has always been great to see them–although I am HATING the drive now. Maybe this one will be last seeing as my “home visit” takes place next week and just maybe Baby Jett could come before I have to drive back again?

Tuesday in Montgomery I witnessed, with gladness, a midwifery decriminalization bill passing through the House for the first time in history. I then rushed home to have a meeting with my doula to make plans for Jett’s birth.

Wednesday, I saw my chiropractor again, which is always a good thing. Seeing that today is Thursday and needless to say though, I am worn out right now and want to nap; but there is more to do, and this week is not over yet.

38 weeks now and I have a camper, not a hospital bag, to pack. HA!

Now to go deeper into why I am so excited about this week:

I have been mostly excited to see HB315 hit the floor of the house; the fact that it took 84

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I call this a landslide!

YEAs was icing on the cake. I was most proud that Representatives Warren Pebblin, Joe Lovvorn, and Isaac Whorton were among the YEAs. After all, it was time that Alabama gained some common sense and decriminalized CPMs. Sadly, we are one of 6 states that criminalize them, 44 states allow them to work. That fact alone just says it all when you compare us to the rest of the country, or even the rest of the world for that matter.

 

This morning, HB315 was placed into the Judiciary committee which is awesome news

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Friends from Alabama Birth Coalition!

because that is where this bill should belong. This bill will make our state similar to Georgia, where CPMs can not be charged with a crime for assisting mothers in this state. Even though I will be 39 weeks pregnant, I plan on going back next week to talk with senators to garner more support. Hopefully, we will not have to end up demonstrating how midwives work while I am down there. Although, such demonstration may be what they need. At least I know a couple good midwives that will probably be around! Additionally, we may also line up a Rules committee member to be ready to put the bill on the Senate floor once it passes through the Judiciary committee, because it just has to, right? It is getting more exciting to see this happening right now! I know it more than likely will not take into law before baby Jett gets here, but perhaps by the time we have another baby after Jett!

 

Apart from these politics, the best part of the week was sitting in my camper with my doula and talking about our birth plans–it is getting so close! I think my doula definitely has her work cut out for her when it comes to me. Doulas give emotional support, and she has been with me since I lost Eliza. Therefore, this has been an extremely long road, with ups and downs the whole way; but we are closer to the good parts now. At this point, she has become more of a best friend. With her guidance and presence, I am excited for the most part about this birth. I cannot wait to experience it with people who make me feel I am being listened and take cues from me instead of the care I have experienced before.
While I am not scared, there are things I acknowledge with anxiety that simply cannot be controlled. However, such concerns are normal for any parent who has lost a child. These concerns are a fear that will always take your breath away, no matter how much you have planned and prepared and changed things. I know that I am different from most parents because of the fact that my daughter should not have died that day. And to prevent a repeat for the upcoming birth of her brother Jett, I have done everything in my power to change the things in the situation that caused her death. I have put together a team of people I trust, and I know that this birth will be much different than what I have been put through before.

Back about the meeting with my doula, it was exciting sitting there and talking about all the little details and whatnot for the big day–or night. We went over lots of little
preferences and even set up the birth pool that we may IMG_4913use. Earlier, we had worried about what would fit in the camper, and the one she brought in fits perfectly. We established this plan for retrieving and maintaining the water within the birth pool warm. We needed to think creatively, because campers typically contain hot water heater that only holds about 6 gallons. Only six gallons of water.  We planned to have lots of big pots and utilize the stove, outdoor grill, fire pit, and a burner, if need be, to get the tub filled. My doula helped me think of things I had not even remembered, which I have found beyond helpful such as groceries!

There are some things though that you cannot plan, which is to plan exactly where or when I will give birth and how that will turn out. I plan to simply listen to my body and do what it tells me to do this time. For this, I am beyond being excited. I dream about it often, although I admit that I probably cannot even comprehend what this birth will be like. Yet I know that I cannot wait to experience giving birth the natural way. I know that I am strong and I trust my body more than ever. I will be listening to my body first and foremost this time.

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38 WEEKS

Anyone care to guess when Baby Jett will make his appearance? My guess dates are 5/8(by LMP) and 5/11(by ovulation). The full moon will be May 10th, and I am gonna go with that day for now. We have to wait and see if that full moon stuff has any weight. Both my girls were pretty much right on time, which also makes May 10th feel solid to me too.

 

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What is CPM care like exactly? Part 1

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It is quite clear that there is a birth monopoly in Alabama!
I think a lot of people do not actually understand what all a midwife does or is capable of for that matter, especially CPMs. I really want to explain how things differ from the medical model of care thus far in my journey. With both my girls, a prenatal appointment with an OB would go something like this: I would arrive and sign in and let them know that none of my information and insurance had changed since the last appointment and then I would sit and wait to be called back. A nurse would take my vitals and then ask a few routine questions. I generally thought the doctor would see these answers and go over what was important, but that never really seemed to happen. I would pee in a cup and they would stick a dip stick in and read the results, but never mentioned the reading to me or what it meant for that matter. They would measure my belly, listen to the heartbeat, and do the few tests that you get along the way, but still they never explained results or anything. I would see the doctor for maybe 5 minutes tops and this meant you had to be fast asking questions which I usually forgot in the moment. I would always forget to write them down. The doctors were always in a hurry given their high patient loads. With AdaRee I was anemic and my iron levels got really low which got even worse while taking iron pills which was their only known way of fixing anemia. The pills made me even more sick so they just told me that I needed to stop taking the iron pills. I was told that I would just have to be admitted to the hospital once it got extremely bad. I was horrified at the thought and googled how to fix my iron issue. I started eating lots of spinach, red meat, broccoli, and started cooking in cast iron more which was my first experience in the power of diet changes. My iron issues were never even really bought up again except to say that I wasn’t as exhausted anymore nor was I tested again until after she was born. My diet changes alone had brought my iron back up to above normal and I will never forget the look on my doctors face when he saw that. He could have very well told me to change my diet had he known anything about that aspect of life in general, but doctors have minimal requirements when it comes to studying diet and how foods can be medicinal. It is clear to me that OBs are generally trained to fix issues, not prevent them. This is why midwives can prevent issues because they learn these tricks instead of learning how to medically treat the issue after it is a problem. OBs are in and out and on to the next patient and are not focused on prevention, just fixing the problems after they have become a problem.

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I call this the starter kit – a pregnancy book, pregnancy tea, and my personal notebook filled with great info and a place where I can keep all of my questions and plans!
Now, my appointments with my midwife are the same as in I pee in the cup, they measure, and listen to the baby’s heartbeat, and they have run the normal tests along the way as usual like glucose and GBS testing……BUT they also spend about an hour talking to me about my diet, everyday routines, how my daughter and husband are with the pregnancy, and how I am doing most importantly. In my case it has been much longer sometimes because I talk a lot given the birth trauma I have been through. It was really important for me to find the right midwife who listened to me because that was the biggest problem with my care providers to begin with, none of them listened to me at all. Through these conversations, they are listening to pick up on things that are often missed with OB care because you are just the next patient. Diet is a big part of it and how I am feeling is key to preventing many issues in pregnancy. I kept a food diary so they could really see what choices I have been making along the way. With all of this information they can suggest diet changes, bed rest, exercises, things to prepare mentally for birth, etc. to help the pregnancy go smoother and prevent issues like preterm labor, anemia, probably even blood pressure issues, mental blocks, and much more I am sure. The part I look forward to most is when they focus on my baby.  They palpate my belly each time and talk to him and Jett definitely responds to them! It is really as if they are getting to know him too and it means the world to me. We talk about what position he is in and how much of a stinker he is being because he reacts so strongly. He has definitely been a really active boy. They talk to him as he kicks back and it truly shows how much they care about him too! We go over birth plans and options after birth. Informed consent every step of the way! I am the one making the decisions and it feels amazing – it is not someone walking in the room and telling me what I need and rolling their eyes when I want to do something different or question something. We build a relationship

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My birth kit containing the basic supplies for Jett’s birth.
which is crucial for me because I need to know the person who is going to be there when I go into labor and not feel like I am playing Russian roulette with whomever happens to be on call that day. Both my babies were delivered by doctors I had never met before and that is completely unacceptable to me on every single level. This is far too great of an event for it to be left up to some random person that happens to be on the schedule. I was also given a notebook with all kinds of information on all the hot topics within it and it is just a nice place for me to keep my plans and additional information I find. I also keep my questions in there too which I have found to be super helpful, because I am talking about everything this time. My midwives are also okay with whatever I choose to do and support me even if it might not be something they would choose and that is invaluable in my opinion. They go over the results of each test and explain what it means without me even asking a question. It is apparent that they are very used to moms taking an active role in their pregnancies and births.

I have said it before and I will say it again and again…having a CPM is like having a gourmet chef versus my Ob experience being more like the likes of going through a McDonald’s drive thru. And by the way, I refuse to eat at McDonald’s ever again, so that should tell you something! There are some amazing ones out there like my personal hero, Dr. Bootstaylor, but they are few and far between. That being said, there really is not a price too steep that I would not pay to have CPM care at this point. It is worth every single penny!

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About one month till we get to meet our rainbow!

Can you see the forest or the trees??

Our society changed how birth was done in major ways years ago by moving it from the home to the hospital and replacing midwives with OBs.  This was not for the health of mama and baby though sadly. Most of us low risk moms need a midwife, not the training of an OB which is great for true high risk, but it is just not that common. When you start with the medical model though, you have to end with the medical model which often times ends in sticky situations and side effects. I want to define the medical model really quickly and that does not just apply to labor drugs and epidurals. It starts with the hospital itself. It is all the monitors and especially being made to lie on your back in a hospital bed. It is most definitely being hooked up to an IV which makes it easy for them to give you medicines and drugs without your knowledge. I can not tell you how many moms got their medical records only to find out that they were given something that they were not even aware of such as pitocin or antibiotics. The medical model of care starts as soon as you walk into that hospital and it is perfectly fine if that is what makes you comfortable, but be aware that things can end in unnecessary surgery this way if you are not careful. Statistics prove this seeing as over 32% on average of women in hospitals end up in cesarean sections versus homebirth moms being around 5%. It ends with moms who wanted one thing and ended up with another because it is drilled into us to be prepared to change our plans.

MANA Home Birth Study: “Among 16,924 women who planned home births at the onset of labor, 89.1% gave birth at home. The majority of intrapartum transfers were for failure to progress, and only 4.5% of the total sample required oxytocin augmentation and/or epidural analgesia. The rates of spontaneous vaginal birth, assisted vaginal birth, and cesarean were 93.6%, 1.2%, and 5.2%, respectively. Of the 1054 women who attempted a vaginal birth after cesarean, 87% were successful. Low Apgar scores (< 7) occurred in 1.5% of newborns. Postpartum maternal (1.5%) and neonatal (0.9%) transfers were infrequent. The majority (86%) of newborns were exclusively breastfeeding at 6 weeks of age. Excluding lethal anomalies, the intrapartum, early neonatal, and late neonatal mortality rates were 1.30, 0.41, and 0.35 per 1000, respectively.”

That is a MONUMENTAL difference and demonstrates that your risk of ending in surgery correlates directly with where you give birth. If I had stayed at home, my daughter would be here with us because the medical model literally squeezed her to death. There was no real NICU available on top of that, so the hospital literally failed my family in every single way possible. I am fully aware that on occasion true medical emergencies happen though and that OBs are best when there is a real issue – one that wasn’t caused by labor drugs or their protocols/techniques to begin with. Again, all the things listed above. The IVs and drugs have very real side effects that are not disclosed to you, but it is written on the package inserts. There are also many studies that show that monitors and being on your back delay labor, which is the biggest reason to start augmenting labor instead of actually finding what position works for each individual mother. It is a cycle that most are overlooking sadly because no one ever explains to them that these drugs and IVs can cause your babies’ heart rate to drop which would then need an emergency surgery.

So please, I do not care to hear again that a hospital is where I need to be! I have done my research and made my choice. My midwife though is fully trained and experienced and has also saved babies’ lives as well. She does come prepared with the medical supplies necessary and her experience is priceless. She allows birth to take its course naturally and ensures that it goes well versus intervening in the process like the medical model does. God designed birth and he did it that way for a reason. If for some reason a cord prolapse or uterine rupture happened, it is not gonna matter that much where I am anyway and those are the real dangers.

Also keep in mind that one of the top perinatologist in the country is my back up doctor and Dr. Bootstaylor fully supports my decision, in fact it was his idea! His c-section rate is 5% despite all of the high risk he sees. He delivers multiples, breech, moms who have had previous sections, home birth moms, and all other high risk moms vaginally or does a family centered section if need be while the majority of OBs tell moms that they have to have a section to save their lives and or their babies’ lives. He sets the bar pretty high and you can not really be any more educated either. Moms travel from all over the southeast just for him. If an emergency comes up, we will go to him and that is simply the best and safest plan I can possibly come up with for my family. After what we have been through, I have studied it all and am not just accepting societal norms anymore. Just because everyone else keeps jumping off that bridge, does not mean that I am going to do it again. This is not based on what is truly healthy, but what benefits others wether it is convenience or monetary gains. If it was truly about the health of mama and baby, all moms would have access to a midwife first and then move to an OB as need be instead. Our country has the 3rd highest infant mortality rate in the world despite our ideals that we have the most “advanced medical” system….it may be complicated, but it is obviously not working to put us at the lowest infant mortality rate. Holland has the lowest infant mortality rate in the world and all low risk mothers birth at home. Emergencies and high risk are at the hospitals which just make sense. Our system is the problem that needs to be fixed, but most of us cannot see the forest for the trees…

I have been through the worst nightmare anyone could go through and I wish pieces of it had been recorded because it would make you sick to your stomach to have seen what I was put through while in labor. It was agony and the only thing I can do to honor my daughter is to tell our story in hopes that it can help make a difference in this broken system we have. There is lots of information out there that is not being shared with society. You have to look deeper to see it. Profit lines and jobs are not more important than actual health. God designed us organically and we put far too many man made toxins and chemicals in our bodies and that is the problem with our health overall really. God gave us everything we need, but we all know the nature of man.

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35 weeks with a rainbow!! Nesting has begun!