11/22/09

Adamina's Birth



These are birth notes from the last birth I attended from my perspective. The official birth story belongs to this family. I'm sure I left something out, as birth brings so many magical moments.

It was Thursday, November 19th and you called me at 2:00am to tell me you were in labor. Your contractions were 3 minutes apart and you'd been having contractions since 7:00pm. I get to your house shortly after and you are handling contractions beautifully. You are walking through them, leaning on me, swaying, and breathing softly. After timing your contractions at 2-3 minutes apart, the midwives suggest you come into the hospital. We arrive at the hospital at 4:00am. As we enter the elevator to go to L&D floor you are trembling a bit, which I remind you is a sign of transition! When you are admitted to triage you are already 7cm/100%. As we wait in triage you wanted to stand and walk, following your bodies urges to stay mobile. You brace yourself on me in a slow dancing position to stay loose during contractions. Once admitted into the birthing suite you mention back pain between contractions, both the midwife and I suspect that baby is Malpositioned. To encourage baby is move into a better position for birth, you lean over onto the bed while I apply counter pressure to your lower back to relieve the pain. You go from this position to a supported squat, allowing your pelvis to widen. During the contractions I notice that you start tapping one of your feet in the rhythm of your body, a sign of your inward focus that allowed you to distract your body from the contractions.

You only hesitate once when you say "I'm so tired..." and I remind you "You are so close to meeting your baby girl. This is like a marathon, and your in the last leg."

At 6:50am you are 8cm and you get into the tub while I use the shower head to alternate a warm stream of water from your belly to your lower back. The hydrotherapy worked wonders to calm and relax you during contractions. You stay in the tub until 8:3oam when you move to the bed. You are 9-10cm and the midwife asks you if you would like her to break your bag of waters, you agree and shortly after have the urge to push. You start pushing in a hands and knees position on the bed. After a few contractions, you try pushing in a sitting position on bed while doing a "Tug of War" with a towel supported by the nurse. This helps the perineum stay relaxed while your body is in an ideal alignment for maximum pushing effect.

At 10:46am baby Adamina is born and placed on your chest. She was 8lbs and 20 1/2 inches long and stayed skin to skin with you following the birth.

Congratulations Mama! You were so trusting of birth as you followed your body's innate urges to stay mobile, breathe deeply, and find a rhythm during labor.


Why Mothers Kiss Their Babies



Check out this revealing essay on the elegant partnership between human physiology and emotion.

After a baby is born, it is a natural thing to see the mother kissing the baby. One would think that this is simply because of the emotional bond that has formed between mother and child. While this is the case, there are also some other very compelling biochemical reasons as to why this occurs. These reasons reinforce the understanding that our bodies have inner wisdom which we seldom recognize or trust. Just as our bodies know how to give birth even if we don't have intellectual knowledge of the process, our bodies' biological systems also have reasons for the complex social interplay between mother and baby. It just goes to show that, more than ever, we should trust our mothering instincts.

When an animal gives birth to its young, you will notice that the mother spends a lot of time licking it's child. It exposes the five senses to the young, so that the mother knows the taste, smell, feel, sound, and sight of her new baby. In this way, the mother claims the child as her own. When a human mother gives birth to a baby, and does so in an environment which allows her immediate and free access to her child, you will notice that over a period of time the mother performs certain behaviors which we call claiming behaviors. She will caress the child, exploring the softness of the baby's skin and probably counting and fondling the unique little fingers and toes. She probably marvels visually over how much the baby looks like her or her husband or another family member, the color of the hair and eyes, and other physical features. She hears the baby's cries and learns to distinguish her baby's cry from all others. As she leans down to kiss the child, she undoubtedly smells the scent of her new baby, and through the actual act of kissing the baby, she actually learns to know the taste of him/her. She has also exposed her five senses to the baby so that she attaches to the baby, feeling that the baby is now her own. It is not unusual to note that women who are deprived of the privacy and opportunity for bonding immediately after birth often state that there is an emotional distance between them and their babies, that they are never really sure that the baby is theirs.

Claiming behaviors such as kissing the baby provide not only emotional but biological attachment. There is also a very real health benefit for the baby in terms of kissing. "When a mother kisses her baby, she 'samples' those pathogens that are on the baby's face - the very ones that the baby is about to ingest. These samples are taken up by the mother's secondary lympoid organs like the tonsils, and memory B cells specific for those pathogens are re-stimulated. These B cells then migrate to the mother's breasts where they produce just those antibodies that the baby needs!" (1)

We talk a lot about breastmilk, and about how it conveys antibodies to the infant and helps to prevent illness. However, the antibodies that the mother has made to the germs around her while pregnant convey little help to the infant. It is the germs in the infant's environment at present, the ones he is in contact with right now which he needs protection from. Kissing the baby is a very important activity beyond it's obvious pleasurable and attachment-promoting value.

So mothers, kiss away on those babies!

(1) Sompayrac, Lauren. (1999). How the Immune System Works. Malden, MA:
Blackwell Science, Inc. p. 71.

This is from The Online Childbirth Class Center For Unhindered Living

11/15/09

Formula Fed America

The United States has one of the worst breastfeeding records out of all the countries and formula is a 4 billion a year industry. This and more are discussed in the new film: Formula Fed America. See the trailer below. I emailed them requesting information about hosting a screening in our area.

Get more information here.

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