Tuesday, December 23, 2014

Eshakti Dress Review: Grace Dress

I don't wear dresses all the time, but when I do I like to wear ones that make me feel like a princess.  There is where Eshakti.com comes in. They are an online clothing company that specializes in making custom dresses and they have thousands of styles and colors to choose from.  The quality is amazing.  I love that you can put in your custom measurements.  You also have the option of simply selecting your dress size.  Whether you are big and small you will find something that is just right for you.  And I'll just say it.  Having something tailored just for me had me feeling a little like royalty.

I bought a few retro style dresses from them first that were not custom made.  I looked at their size chart and thought I would need a 4.  The size 4's came (I loved them) but they were too big.  The return process was simple and the company not only refunded me but gave me an extra gift card to use next time!  They have great customer service and always make sure you are happy.

Illusion Cotton Poplin Dresses, Polka Dot Embellished Dresses , below knee length dreseses, black dresses, cap sleeves dresses, day-to-evening dresses, Dressed Up dresses, Essentials dresses, Fit and flare dresses, Little Black Dresses, machine wash dresses, midweight dresses, pre-shrunk dresses, retro chic dresses, Solid Dresses, spring Dresses, Styled For Work dresses, Uniquely classic  dresses, woven poplin dresses

So let's talk about this little black dress.  The photo I am wearing above is the Grace dress.  It's the perfect little black dress for any occasional and for any season.  I wore this dress for the first time to my anniversary dinner.  I got so many compliments!  I love the big twirly skirt, which would be great for dancing.  I guess we'll have to try that next time.

Eshakti's dresses are a little pricey at regular price.  But Eshakti keeps drawing me back because they run so many sales and discounts, such as  "Buy 1, get 1 free" or even sending you random $20 off gift vouchers.

So how can you get one of these dresses?  I have great news!  By using my referral link you can get $30 off your first order.  Be careful, they are addicting.  I warned you.

Happy shopping!

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Bridget Ervasti thinks you should join eShakti

You asked where I buy my clothes - I buy them at eShakti.com! They offer sizes 0-36W & custom. FREE customization on ALL first time orders. Use my reference and get a $30 coupon for use in your first order! Enjoy!

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Thursday, August 28, 2014

The Secret

"We have a secret in our culture and it's not that birth is painful, it's that women are strong." 
-Laura Stavoe Harm

It's no secret that birth is uncomfortable, to say the least.  For some women, it's the worst pain they've ever experienced.  For others, the contractions feel no different than menstrual cramps.  The media and our culture likes to play on the fact that birth is all pain and sorrow.  But what they and so many people seem loose during the birth process, is the woman herself.  

As a labor and delivery nurse, I've had the honor of looking at her.  Of watching her at her weakest and most vulnerable moments.  And what I've learned, is that she is strong.  And that strength, if you choose to open your eyes and see it, is the most incredibly beautiful and awe-inspiring thing ever.   

I see in the young woman whose labor happened so fast she didn't have time for any pain medication.  She looks up at me with tears in her eyes and asks, "Can't I have an epidural?"  I tell her, "No, sweet one, your baby is right there, one push and your pain will be over."  And just like that she chooses to push through her pain and her baby is born.  That is strength.  

I see it the mom who wanted with everything in her to have a natural birth, but her baby's heart rate is crashing and she is rushed to the operating room for an emergency cesarean.  Through the tears in her eyes, both of joy and a dream lost, I see her beauty and strength.

I see it in the frightened mother who is all alone.  Who wanted to abort her baby, but at the last minute chose to change her mind.  I see the darkness turn into light as mother and baby share their first hug, with baby skin to skin on mom's chest.  Baby's wide eyes look up at the one who said yes, and the new mother has a smile that refuses to be wiped off her face.  That is strength.

I see beauty in the woman who tried for years to get pregnant and then after baby showers, a nursery complete and car seat ready in the car, walks into labor and delivery only to find her baby has no heartbeat.  The pain of labor is nothing compared to the bitter ache of a weeping and broken heart.  A woman walking through the valley of stillbirth feels anything but strong, but I can tell you, there is no greater strength I have seen.  

And then, there is the woman who refuses to believe the lie that birth has to be painful and scary.  She has trained herself like a marathon runner, to view birth as a natural, normal, beautiful event.  Her labor and birth can be described as nothing less than graceful.  She sits with her eyes closed, sighing peacefully as she prepares to deliver her baby into the world.  Inwardly, she may be screaming but on the outside she looks like a woman practicing yoga and everyone around her watches in awe.  She gently brings her baby down inch by inch and her baby enters the world.  That is strength.  

I have seen so many different types of births.  And what it all comes down to is every single woman who has said yes to motherhood, displays a type of strength.  Sometimes it can't be described, sometimes you don't see it until after the fact.  But many times the woman doesn't know her strength.  She needs someone to see it in her, and show her.  And that is what we are here for.

In birth, there is no turning back.  There is no choice but to be brave and to dive into uncharted waters.  It's like choosing to go down a slide.  Yes, it's scary at first.  But the first thing you have to do is let go.  And every woman giving birth deserves a loving, compassionate hand to guide her through it.  Someone who will remind her that it is in our weakest, most vulnerable moments that strength is made known.  

I hope we, whose "work" is the miracle of birth, never forget to truly see the woman.  What an honor it is to see a woman transform into a mother.  It is so easy to get caught up in the paperwork, running back and forth to rooms and following doctors orders, that we loose track of what really counts and what those ladies and their babies will always remember. 

Let us be the ones who unveil a well-kept secret.  Women are strong.    

Wednesday, September 25, 2013

"Baby Catcher" Book Review

Baby Catcher:  Chronicles of modern midwife
by Peggy Vincent
A few short months ago, I landed my dream job in labor and delivery.  It's a long story as to why I was forced to leave my old hospital/postpartum job.  But three weeks after I delivered my baby girl at home, I was on a new job search.  I applied to one of the biggest baby hospitals in New Orleans for an L&D position and had an interview within a few days.  My interview went more like a "welcome-to-the-unit" party as my soon-to-be manager paraded me around to meet everyone.  It was my very first time leaving my new 6 week baby girl and, by God's grace, I got the job one the spot.  This new hospital was actually my backup delivery plan if I were to risk out of a home birth.  This hospital is natural childbirth friendly, employs both midwives and OBs and does water births.  I couldn't have asked for a better place to work.

So after being a nurse for almost 4 years now, I've officially been working L&D for 3 months.  It's amazing.  I love it more every day.  They gave me a great orientation and I'm on my own now, but still learning an incredible amount every shift.  A few of my coworkers are actually in midwifery school and one in particular told me about this book.  She said she read it when she was in nursing school and it changed her life.  It's called, "Baby Catcher," by Peggy Vincent.  So what did I do?  I went out and bought it.

"Baby Catcher" is one of those books you just can't put down.  It's the book I would find myself reading at 3 am as I nurse my own new baby.  Talk about hormone overload!  The book is written by an L&D nurse turned midwife who ended up delivering over 3,000 babies over the course of her career, both in home and hospital.  It's story after story, of the births she attended, of families being made.  The amount of detail she recalls is beautiful and amazing.  As I attend births at the hospital I feel like I've been reawakened to the beauty of laboring women and the profound beauty of the birth process.  

I'm reminded that labor is not something to rescue a woman from.  Pregnancy is not a disease.  Delivering a child is only something the woman can do.  Doctors don't deliver babies, women do.  That's why a lot of midwives call themselves baby catchers.  When I see a woman tremble in pain or fear, it's my job to comfort her and reassure her of her strength.  I can't take the pain away.  I might give her the prescribed pain medications.  But the best thing I can do for a woman walking that bridge into motherhood is to assure her that when she climbs over this mountain, it will be worth it.  Women often get to a point in labor (usually at the end near transition) where they just want the baby to be taken from them.  I probably said it myself a few times while I labored.  "Can't you just pull the baby out?!"  But the answer is, "No, honey.  The only one who can push that baby out is you."  The sooner you accept that, the faster it's over.

And the actual delivery of the baby, which Peggy recalls countless times, may seem graphic to some; but she portrays birth as the natural process it truly is.  Beautiful.  A baby's first few breaths of life are so sacred.  It is such a privilege to watch such things day after day.

I'd recommend this book not just to labor and delivery nurses or aspiring midwives, but to all women who are pregnant or who wish to bear children one day.  The only way we can start to view birth as normal and not scary, is to stop listening to the drama filled stories on television who only depict the scary side of birth, and listen to the many stories that uplift the idea women are perfectly capable of having their babies.  I like what midwife Ina May says when she says that when God made the female body, he did not make a lemon.  Your body works!  Not only will your body expand to epic proportions to grow this little human, your body will also push him out, and usually whether you like it or not.  

This book was such a great read.  I'm sure you ladies will love it!  And if you do read it or have in the past, let me know what you think.

The Birth Story of Grace Caroline

Our third little bundle of joy was born in May 2013!  After much research and prayer we decided to have a home birth with a midwife, whom I saw for all of my prenatal care.  I had been working as a post-partum and OB nurse for about 2 years and unfortunately during that time I saw many things that made me to feel more safe delivering at home.  I praise the Lord we had a wonderful experience and my 10 pound baby girl's entrance into this world was as gentle as can be!  Here is the story.    


Grace’s story begins on her due date, May 10th.  My husband had just finished his first semester of nursing school the day before, and all throughout the pregnancy I had told people my goal was to keep this baby in until he was out of school.  Toward the end of the pregnancy as my belly and discomforts grew, I changed my mind and wanted her to come just a little early, but baby Grace didn’t get that memo.  She wanted daddy to do good on his finals.  He passed his exams and Grace was now welcome to come.

On May 10th I had strong Braxton hicks contractions all throughout the day.  They were no more painful than what I felt the last few months of pregnancy, only I could feel these lower in my abdomen and cervix and I started having a bloody show.  I was hopeful it was a sign I was dilating and prepping for labor; but my midwife had just checked the day before at my 40 week appointment and I wondered if it was just a side effect of that.  

So on that day, we did many of the tricks that people say start labor.  I started the day with worship and praise and prayed that baby would come soon, bounced on the birth ball, went for a long walk, spent quality time with my husband.  At the end of the day, my mom watched our two little ones and Aaron and I went on one last date.  We ate at Chili’s and then went to walk the mall.  All day I had been having “strong braxton hicks” but didn’t see a point to timing them because they weren’t really uncomfortable.  I was a little confused and cautiously excited.  Even though this is my 3rd baby, I was worried I wouldn’t know when I was truly in labor.  My 1st labor was induced and my 2nd started with my water breaking.  So what would I do if this one was different?  At 9pm as we were settling into bed I noticed they were coming 8 minutes apart.  An hour later, just as I was drifting off to sleep, I had the biggest contraction yet.  It felt as if Grace kicked me, and at that moment my water broke with an explosion all over me and the bed.  It was almost as if she broke the water bag herself.  I was drenched from the waist down but, oh, so excited!  This was really it!

Since we were planning a homebirth I called my midwife to let her know tonight would be the night.  She asked if I wanted her to come now and I said no because I was completely comfortable.  I told her I’d call her when contractions were closer together.  Over the next 4 hours I labored and laughed and smiled.  I listened to my hypnobabies and my birth affirmation CD’s.  Contractions were lasting a minute and coming 4-7 minutes apart.  I was drinking tons of water and eating peanut M&M’s.  Life and laboring at home was, simply put, grand!  Around 2am my wonderful husband and birth partner fell asleep just as contractions start coming more frequently.  They were a little shorter now, but only 2-5 minutes apart.  I decided I wanted my midwife to come because everyone else was sleeping.  I wasn’t sure how fast this labor would progress because my last was less than 6 hours.  I woke Aaron and we called the midwife.

Sally arrived at our house at 3 am.  I felt a little silly having her get here when I was still so comfortable, but we both suspected this labor might go by quickly.  Her presence made me feel calm and safe.  She set up her supplies, checked my vitals and monitored baby’s heart rate.  She started an IV so that I could get a planned dose of antibiotics.  I had tested GBS+ which is something that hospitals treat very seriously.  IV antibiotics was not something Sally required, but I knew that the hospital would make a really big deal about it if we needed to transfer, so I chose to get them.  The IV was done in about 15 minutes and I continued to labor, merrily.  My favorite spot was in my rocking chair, covered in a warm, fuzzy blanket.  I rocked and visualized Grace’s head dilating my cervix with each contraction.  Laying down was not an option for me because every time I did amniotic fluid soaked the bed and I felt bad for making Aaron continuously wash and change the sheets.  My midwife just watched, waited and let me do my own thing.  She would monitor that baby periodically and every time she checked it, the heart rate was perfect.  

Eventually, I started feeling more pressure and wanting to get in the water.  My goal was to get in for transition and birth in my large garden tub.  I had visualized and dreamed of my baby gently, easily sliding out and I couldn’t wait for that moment.  I got in the tub at 5:30am still fairly comfortable and wondering if I was still early in labor.  My contractions were more intense now, but they were shorter, maybe 30-60 seconds.  The water felt amazing.  There were many things that I loved about it:  how easily I could change positions,  how I had my own little cocoon of space,  how I had my husband, mother and midwife there; but I still felt in control of the entire process.  My midwife had called her partner, Alina, to my house about this time, to assist with the birth if needed.  Within that first hour of being in the tub something shifted and I knew I was in transition.  Thankfully, I didn’t get the nausea I had last time, but I needed help.  I need Aaron’s hand on my forehead.  I needed someone to fan me.  I needed to know I was almost done.  

Around 7am I felt like my body was starting to push but I wanted to “breath my baby out” like hypnobabies teaches so with every contraction I let go and relaxed.  I didn’t have an unbearable urge to push, so I didn’t.  Around this time the kids were waking up and started wandering into the bathroom.  I was disappointed because I’d hoped to have the baby before they woke.  They weren’t really phased by mommy having the baby in the bathtub.  My 3 and 5 year old had seen many home water births thanks to you tube.  That’s what happens when your mama is a birth junkie. 

At 7:45am I asked Sally to check me because I was feeling frustrated, tired of working through these painful contractions and feeling like I wasn’t making progress.  This was my first and only cervical check during labor.  She confirmed that I was completely dilated with a slight lip of cervix left and +2 station.  She said the baby just had to get past the pubic bone.  I questioned why it was taking so long when my last labor was so much faster.  I had only pushed 30 minutes with my 11 pound son.  Now, I was going on round 3 of listening to my Hypnobabies (30 minute long) “Pushing baby out” track.  It was at this point that I dreamt of the hospital, an epidural and knew that if there was any way to be transported in time to an OR I would have asked happily asked for a c-section to get this baby out.  And that is a lot coming from me.  You know how every mom has the moment in transition where they get unrealistic, crazy thoughts like that?  Well, that was mine.  

Sally suggested after the check that I try pushing with the contractions.  Breathing the baby out, just didn’t seem to be working for me; and she was right.  I took her suggestion and started to push with the contractions.  At that point I called every natural mom who says pushing feels good, a liar!  “Pushing is not fun!”  I said.  It hurt if I pushed, and it hurt if I didn’t.  I just wanted it to be over so I kept going at it.  

I think it was about 8:30am when the baby finally slipped below my pubic bone and I could feel the baby descending.  My once futile pushes were finally making progress and we were nearing the end.  What was crazy about this time was the fact that I could feel baby Grace literally trying to push and maneuver her way out of me!  It was the oddest sensation ever.  About 20 minutes of working the baby down the birth canal (Grace and I working together) her head finally crowned.  Once again, I did not feel the burning “ring of fire” and I thank hypnobabies for that.  I felt stretching and pressure, but no burning.  As a matter of fact, I was on my hands and knees and didn’t even know her head was out.  

My midwife was calmly guiding me through the process of birth and telling me exactly what was happening.  She told me her head was rotating and I would push her body out with the next contraction.  When the next contraction came, I pushed and Grace didn’t budge.  Though I had envisioned and dreamed about this baby girl just sliding right out into the water, that‘s not what happened.  We were both well prepared for this as my last baby was a shoulder dystocia.  My midwife hopped in the tub with me and told my husband and mom to help me to a standing position with one leg propped on the side of the tub.  I stood up amazingly fast, continued pushing, while my midwife worked her shoulders out.  Not only did she have to work out her shoulders out, but her body too.  She was a 10 pound baby coming out of a petite 5’2’’ mama.  It was such a tight fit no wonder it took so long for her to descend.  It was a little over 2 minutes from her head crowning to body being born.  Sally placed her directly in my arms I sat back in the water.  Grace was blue, a little limp, but her eyes were blinking and I could see her beginning to take her first breaths.  I knew she would be just fine.  My mom held a little oxygen to her face to help her pink up as she began to cry and kick away at my belly.  How strong she was!  

I was crying and laughing all at the same time.  That joy, relief and rush of hormones is like no other.  I was finally holding my wet, slimy, sweet smelling newborn.  The one I grew for 10 months, finally outside my body.  As a nurse, I work with newborns all the time and I was overjoyed the mine looked so healthy, she was so perfect!  I couldn’t stay in the tub long though because Sally noticed I was started to bleed.  Within probably 5 minutes of the birth, Grace’s cord was clamped and cut by daddy.  I got up and my placenta delivered itself as I exited the tub.  It was huge!  That as well as her umbilical cord.  The midwives wanted me on the bed so they could monitor my blood loss.  As soon as I laid there, I felt the gushing begin.  When uterine massage didn’t stop it, they busted out the pitocin.  I got one shot in the right thigh and a few minutes later, still bleeding; another shot in the left.  That did the trick but there was blood everywhere.  I had baby Grace on my chest the entire time.  I loved no one coming in to whisk away my baby.  The assistant midwife went work cleaning up the mess as Sally continued attending to me, checking my blood pressure, bleeding… oh and changing out of her soaking wet clothes as well.  

The midwives checked my perineum for tears and to all of our amazement, all I had was one or two “skid marks” or scrapes that would easily heal on their own.  Not even a 1st degree tear and no stitches required!  I was amazed but it was truly an answer to prayer.  I had 2nd degree tears with my previous two, so I’m not sure if it was the water birth or slow descent/stretching that did it, but on day #2 I don’t even feel like I pushed out a baby!

My immediate postpartum period was quite an adventure as my first two attempts at getting up to pee left me passing out on the way to the toilet.  After being carried back to the bed twice, my midwife said I earned myself another IV and gave me 2 liters of fluids while I rested in bed.  After staying up with me all night in labor, my midwife stayed 5 hours after birth to make sure I would be ok.  By the time I got that 2nd bag of fluids I felt great and was able to get up without passing out.  

By the time the midwives left for the day, the bathroom was spotless, all the sheets were washed and about 95% of the evidence we’d had a baby at home had been completely cleaned up.  These midwives have this home birth thing down to an art!  And even though I made them work for their money, it was amazing experience being able to birth in the comfort and safety of my own home, surrounded by love and competent caretakers.  

What else astounds me is the way my complications were managed.  I’ve now had two shoulder dystocias (where baby’s shoulders get stuck), one in hospital with an OB and one at home with a midwife and they was a huge difference in how they were treated.  In the hospital, everyone went into panic mode, my OB laid me flat on my back legs spread and practically ripped me to get the baby out.  Then my baby was taken away for 6 hours for observation.  At home, my midwife stayed completely calm and confident, somehow managed to maneuver my baby out without injuring me, and gently let my chunky baby girl transition in my arms.  There was no sticking tubes down her throat and nose, no blood sugar checks just because she is big, no jabbing the baby with needles or putting gunk in her eyes, and no rough scrubbing the baby down as soon as she comes out.  Her welcome to this world was so gentle and she was surrounded by so many people that loved her. 

I’m so blessed to have this experience.  So is my husband.  My mom who witnessed it.  My children who grew to love our midwife.  My baby who was delivered gently into this world and birthed in her own home.

Instead of spending my recovery in a hospital I get to spend it in my warm, cozy bed with my sweet smelling newborn at my side.  My husband and mother are serving me so well.  Friends and family are helping with the children.  I am so blessed.  I feel like this just wasn’t my experience.  But one we all had together.  I praise the Lord Jesus for his grace, beauty and provision through it all.  But most of all I thank Him for this precious, healthy, beautiful baby.  

Grace Caroline.    

Scriptures for Birth

Growing up in a christian home, I remember hearing numerous sermons about the curse God put on Adam and Eve in the garden due to their disobedience.  The one that stuck with me most due to my gender, was that God would "greatly increase our pain in childbirth."

As if the message of a painful labor and birth didn't have to be reinforced, the message is everywhere.  Every childbirth scene on television is extraordinary, and not in a pleasant way.  I grew up in a houseful of nurses and I remember looking at my parents' anatomy and physiology books trying to figure out how something as big as a newborns' head can come out of something so small.  Needless to say, I was slightly terrified of the day I would give birth.

With my first child I surrendered to the fact that drugs would be my answer to escaping this inevitable trauma.  With my second, I knew there must be a better way than medication.  I didn't want to feel like birth was something that was done to me, but that I experienced myself and really let God walk me through.

I started really digging into scripture and looked past Genesis 3.  I knew that the God I loved must care deeply about this part of my life.  If one of the main callings of a woman is to bear and raise up children, why should it feel like a curse?  And if the same Christ that was beaten for our transgressions, also took up our infirmities and promises us healing; why does this not apply to childbirth?  If Jesus took the pain and the curse that ultimately we deserved; why would he not also grant us a comfortable, easy birth experience?  

"But he was pierced for our transgressions, he was crushed for our iniquities  the punishment that brought us peace was on him, and by his wounds we are healed." Isaiah 53:5

Instead of focusing on the curse of Eve, I started focusing on the heart of my God.  Here is a list of my favorite scriptures to meditate on during pregnancy and birth.

Peace I leave with you; my peace I give you.  I do not give to you as the world gives.  Do not let your hearts be troubled and do not be afraid." John 14:27

Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your request to God.  And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and minds in Christ Jesus." Philippians 4:6-7

"For God has not given us a spirit of fear, but of love, power and a sound mind." 2 Timothy 1:7

In my opinion, giving birth is such a "mind over matter" experience; it is imperative that the laboring mother have peace.  Fear causes tension, which increases pain.  The opposite of fear is peace.  Letting go and relaxing, trusting, surrendering is what made my second birth a much more pleasant experience.

"Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest.  Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart and you will find rest for your souls.  For my yoke is easy and my burden is light."  Matthew 11:28-30

This tells me that it is not God's will for me suffer, I can rest in Him.

"He gives strength to the weary, and to him who lacks might He increases power."  Isaiah 40:29

But he said to me, "My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness."  Therefore I will boast all the more gladly about my weakness, so that Christ's power may rest on me." 2 Corinthians 12:9

"I can do all things throughout Christ who strengthens me."  Philippians 4:13

"The Lord is my strength and my shield; my heart trusts in him and he helps me." Psalm 28:7

"Do not fear for I am with you; do not be dismayed, for I am your God.  I will strengthen you and help you; I will uphold you with my righteous hand.  For I am the Lord, your god, who takes hold of your right and says to you, Do not fear; I will help you."  Isaiah 41:10, 13

For those days you feel like you'll be pregnant forever...

"Shall I bring to the point of birth and not give delivery? says the Lord."  Isaiah 66:9

Saturday, September 8, 2012

No more purple pushing.

Today's labor post is going to be about what I call, "purple pushing."  You know, the nurse tells the laboring woman, "Oh!  What do you know?  You're fully dilated and it's time to push.  Now hold your breath, count to 10 and push as hard as you can!"

This is what we've all seen in movies, right?  And for those of us who is given birth, chances are this is what your nurse or doctor instructed you to do.  However, the evidence now tells us this practice could be detrimental to baby and should be avoided.

According to AWHONN (the association of women's health, obstetrical and neonatal nurses), *"the practice of counting to 10 and encouraging breath-holding while pushing should be abandoned."  This so called "closed-glottis pushing" actually decreases the mother's oxygen saturation and in turn decreases oxygenation to the baby.  The baby's heart rate may start having decelerations due to the lack of oxygen caused by the mother holding her breath.  Looking back to my first delivery, this may have been the reason the nurses kept throwing oxygen on me, turning me on my side and possibly the reason my baby came out quite blue. 

So what can a mother do?  I suggest the method of "breathing baby down."  You can still push, just breath!  Don't cut off oxygen to your baby.  Your body will actually push the baby out regardless of what you decide to do.  Women who labor naturally often experience involuntary pushing where the body bears down on it's own.  For these involuntary pushes the woman may hold her breath naturally for 6 seconds max, bear down, and then breath normally.  This is much better for the baby.  And for moms who get epidurals, the evidence shows (according to AWHONN) that coached pushing doesn't even significantly shorten the 2nd stage (pushing stage) of labor!  Can you believe that?  All that work for nothing?

There is something called "passive fetal descent" which is better for a baby.  The body will push the baby down on it's own, and you won't have to do a thing until the end when you actually feel the urge to bear down. 

The evidence says to wait for that bearing down sensation, regardless of dilation.  So if you're like me and don't like anyone shouting in your face, "PUSH! 1-2-3..." this is great news!  Your body knows what to do.  It's great to have your nurses and support person coach you, but there's no need to turn purple!

*Simpson, Kathleen and Creehan, Patricia: Perinatal Nursing, 3rd Edition.  Philidephia.  AWHONN, 2008


Louisiana has a 40% c-section rate, one of the highest in the country.  The World Health organization recommends a c-section rate of 15%.  Anything above this should be alarm us that something is wrong.  Giving birth, in your average U.S. hospital, sadly has turned into a business.  Inductions and c-sections are scheduled Monday thru Friday.  Sometimes women come in in labor, but even then it is common speed up their labor with pitocin.  Waters are broken.  Mom's cry for epidurals.  And if baby doesn't come by a certain time, it's time for a c-section.  It is safe?  In my opinion, not nearly.  Many times we have a emergency c-section, it was preceded by a hospital intervention.  Here I want to review some of the culptrits.

1) Pitocin.  A synthetic form of oxytocin, the hormone that causes uterine contractions, is the most frequently used drug to induce or speed up labor.  Despite the manufacture stating that is not to be used for "social" reasons to induce labor (no true medical need), it is heavily prescribed.  Nearly every mom that walks in the door gets "pit."  Pitocin has the ability to cause "tetanic" contractions, huge contractions that are spaced too closely and can actually cut off the babies blood supply, causing the baby's heart rate to drop dramatically.  Some babies get to a point where they can't tolerate those unnatural contractions any more, their heart rate drops and an emergency begins.  You do have a choice.  Say no to induction unless medically necessary.   

2) Pain meds.  I will tell you that I have not seen a baby sectioned due to pain medication mom got in her IV, but I will tell you that a nurse can definitely read the signs of it on the monitor.  I remember being told, when I delivered my first baby, the pain medication did not reach the baby and it was perfectly safe.  However, it is well-documented that babies whose mothers receive pain medication are often lethargic and more sleepy than their counterparts.  If you're watching the fetal heart rate on a monitor strip, literally minutes after mom gets a dose of IV Nubain/Phenergan, you will see that babies heart rate stop jumping up and down (we call this "reactivity," a sign of a healthy, alert baby) and it will fade into a straight line.  His heart rate is still within normal limits, but his heart rate looks the same as one who is sleeping.  Basically, he's knocked out.  I personally haven't seen any c-sections from this.  But you have to really consider whether you want your baby to receive the same narcotic (via your bloodstream), so that you can have a few minutes of pain relief.

3) Epidural.  Again, I was never told that the epidural could have such a profound effect on the baby.  To read what the epidural is and how it works click here.  The epidural causes the mother's blood vessels to vasodilate, causing her blood pressure to drop.  This is why before most women can get the epidural they are "pre-loaded" or pumped with 1-2 liters of IV fluid beforehand.  The drop in blood pressure can be dangerous for the baby because it decreases mom's blood flow to him.  If not enough of mom's blood flow reaches the baby, oxygen doesn't either.  Often after a mom gets an epidural the nurse will struggle to keep the mom's blood pressure up.  They will give her IV fluids, lay her on her side, give her oxygen or resort to IV medication to cause a spike in blood pressure.  But sometimes a baby just can't tolerate the lack of blood flow and oxygen, so it needs to be delivered by c-section. 

A secondary way the epidural may lead to a non-vaginal birth, is the absence of optimal positioning.  A mom can't really move her pelvis, rock her hips or use gravity to help baby descend through the birth canal.  She is left laying on her back, with baby pushing his/her way through the pelvic bones all by his self.  This could explain why some moms make it to complete dilation, yet their babies get stuck in the birth canal and have to be delivered by surgery. 

These are all things I have seen and reinforce my thinking that "the less intervention the better," for women who aren't high risk. 

If you have a low-risk pregnancy and you are a healthy, I highly recommend midwifery care or seeking out a physician who will only intervene when necessary.  The midwife model of care views pregnancy as a normal, natural event that only needs to be intervened by surgery, on rare occasions.  Whatever you choose, educate yourself on all of your options.  As a patient you have a right to informed consent by your health care providers.  As long as there is no emergency going on you have the right to being informed about all of your treatments risks and benefits and ultimately you are the decision maker and key component in your own care and that of your sweet baby.