National Birth Stats Compared To My Stats

I have gathered the national statistics on common interventions in childbirth and then compared them to the statistics of the interventions that my clients receive.

I believe that unnecessary routine medical interventions in pregnancy and birth can put babies and mothers at risk.

It is pretty powerful to note the difference that a doula makes!

Cesarean Surgey
30.2% National rate
13% My rate

VBAC Success
50-70% National rate
100% My rate

41% National rate
38% My rate (Not a big difference, but I'm hoping this rate will continue to drop!)

76% National rate
38% My rate

25% National rate
13% My rate

***National figures are from The Childbirth Connections' Listening to Mothers Survey II conducted in collaboration with the Harris Group and the Center for Disease Controls 2005 preliminary data.


Happy Birth Day Viktor!

Birth Notes from the Doula’s Perspective
The official birth story belongs to the couple.

It was March 7th, 2010 and you called at around midnight to tell me that your water had broken. You were exactly 39 weeks pregnant. You decide to try and rest awhile before going into the hospital because your contractions were mild and irregular. At about 4:00am you decide to go into the hospital to get antibiotics started because of your Group B Strep status. You were 1cm dilated. At 7:30 you are admitted to the Labor & Delivery floor where you try to encourage labor to pick up on its own. Around 11:00pm you decide to have some Pitocin to help things along. You are 2-3cm at this point and 60% effaced.

I arrive to meet you at the hospital at 11:15am and greet you with a foot massage while Dad pumped up the birth ball. We plug your iPod in and play the playlists you’ve created for this special day. I set up my flameless candle and we dim the lights to let you rest while in early labor.

You were encouraged to stay in the bed my the midwife until baby’s head was engaged and applied to the cervix so we alternated positions in the bed from side-laying, semi-sitting, and hands and knees leaning over the bed. At about 2:40pm you decide you’d like to try and nap so Dad goes to the cafeteria to get some lunch, As contractions pick up you awake and get back into a hands and knees position on the bed where you mention that contractions seem to feel most effective. Dad gives you a back massage while I apply counter pressure during contractions.

At 5:30 spirits are high as you are singing songs to your Pink Martini album. At 6:45 you slow dance with Dad, rocking through contractions. At 7:00pm you are 4cm and 100% effaced, you seem discouraged at first but I remind you how perfect you are doing…

“Your body is making perfect progress, in its own perfect timing.”

We also acknowledge that your cervix is fully effaced now which makes dilation easier!

"You are so close to meeting your little boy.”

You embrace your labor’s timing and ask to get in the tub. Dad uses the shower head to spray warm water on your belly…

As things pick up you decide you’d like to move back to the bed and lay on your side where Dad stays by you every step of the way and reminds you how great you are doing. You breathe deeply through your contractions, closing your eyes to focus while I stroke your hair and remind you to “Stay loose and limp".

At 9:15pm you are 6cm, and by 10:36pm you are 7cm. You mention back pain so we try alternating between the hands and knees position and standing lunges to open the pelvis. You ask to be taken off the Pitocin and they wean you off of it gradually. You start to feel much better during contractions and you don’t ask for any pain medicine like you thought you might. You stay loose through the contractions by vocalizing softly during them. You start to get nauseous and shaky, I know this means you are near transition and you are getting closer!

At 1:30am you are fully dilated. The midwife arrives to the room shortly after and you start pushing with contractions. Your pushing phase was demanding… but you conquered it like a Goddess. Dad appropriately called you a “labor ninja”. During this phase, I prayed that the strength of a thousand birthing goddesses be with you...

You alternated between pushing lying down, squatting and in a hands and knees position until finally on March 9th at 5:12am your beautiful baby boy Viktor was born and placed onto your chest. He was 9lbs 2oz and 22 ½ inches long. After some suctioning due to some meconium in his lungs he nursed for the first time shortly after birth.

Congratulations L&T! You did amazing!

Edited to add that the midwife told the mom (after the birth) that because of her pushing stages long and demanding nature there would have been no way that she could have pushed that baby out if she had an epidural! Essentially natural birth protected this mom and baby from a c-section!



I wrote this entry to express my personal feelings about my birth experience with my son. I believe that It is through sharing my story that I have been able to heal from Jude's traumatizing birth. Although I regret certain decisions about my birth (such as not getting a second opinion on the necessity of the induction, not hiring a doula, and not listening to my inner wisdom that told me I could have had a homebirth.) However, I find comfort and healing in knowing that my experience led me to become a doula and birth advocate.

Jude (seconds from being pulled from my belly)

40 weeks 4 days
My midwife suggested Induction
for borderline high blood pressure
So tired and selfishly wanting my son to be in my arms
I didn't question it,
I just agreed.

4cm before my Induction
Thursday April 3rd, 2008
Blood pressure is normal upon admission
Pitocin rolls through my veins and I coast through early active labor
In the tub, on the birth ball, John supporting my every move.

Transition hits me
11 hrs in...
12 hrs in...
13 hrs in...
14 hrs in...
15 hrs in...
I am checked to be the same as hours earlier.
8/9 cm

Discouraged, defeated and swollen with their fluids...

I cry
I fight
I whimper
I beg for that needle in my back
My midwife holds me in a hug tighter than anyone has ever held me before
I didn't want her to let me go
But she had other patients to see
I am told to lay down and then I'm ignored and left to "rest".

2:00 am
20 hours in...
In walks the midwife to check me
9 maybe even 10cm - 0 Station
Same as hours earlier
They say my baby isn't descending and sometimes that "happens"
I can feel the doubt now, I am broken. I must be. Why haven't I had my baby already?
My midwife had mentioned c-section as an option earlier

But I wanted to wait.

I wait. Waiting.
Waiting only for the permission to give up or the courage to go on.

After hours of no change
I ask my midwife if she had a daughter with my labor would she still tell her to get a c-section?
She said yes.
I decide to get the c-section

and am surely labeled FAILURE to progress.


Is all I hear.

Rolling into the OR
John can't come in yet
Strapped to the table
John peeks above the curtain
I scream out in pain and vomit everywhere
Dr. tries to calm me down
I say this pain is more than pressure
It can't be normal, It feels like someone is pulling me apart
Anesthesiologist tries to argue with me
Suddenly...liquid quiet in my IV
Sleepy now, must stay awake to see my son
Pulled from my belly he is poked and prodded, weighed and measured, and handed off like it didn't matter
I hear them say "Ah, no wonder! He is "sunny side up!" (Meaning that his posterior position is what likely caused a longer second stage - despite no one suspecting this while I was in labor or helping me get him into a better position)
Held by at least 8 people before me
Alone in the OR
Layers of sutures left
Where is my baby? My husband?

I get you
I nurse you
I hold you
I smell you
I cry the most grateful tears for you.

To this day, I still cry those grateful tears for you...

However I can't help but
touch my scar to check if it is still numb.
You see, some days I envy it's numbness...

My scar where sensation used to live reminds me
of the surgery that forever changed me.


Birth is about facing our fears.

Here are some affirmations and quotes for overcoming fear:

I must not fear. Fear is the mind-killer. Fear is the little-death that brings total obliteration. I will face my fear. I will permit it to pass over me and through me. And when it has gone past I will turn the inner eye to see its path. Where the fear has gone there will be nothing. Only I will remain.
-Frank Herbert

There is nothing to fear except the persistent refusal to find out the truth, the persistent refusal to analyze the causes of happenings.
-Dorothy Thompson

You gain strength, courage, and confidence by every experience in which you really stop to look fear in the face. You must do the thing which you think you cannot do.
-Eleanor Roosevelt

Don't be afraid to go out on a limb. That's where the fruit is.
-H. Jackson Brown, Jr.

If you are distressed by anything external, the pain is not due to the thing itself, but to your estimate of it; and this you have the power to revoke at any moment.
-Marcus Aurelius

Our deepest fear is not that we are inadequate. Our deepest fear is that we are powerful beyond measure.
-Marianne Williamson

And as we let our own light shine, we unconsciously give other people permission to do the same. As we are liberated from our fear, our presence automatically liberates others.
-Marianne Williamson

...without darkness
Nothing comes to birth,
As without light
Nothing flowers.
-May Sarton

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