Archive for January, 2011

Gentle Birth, Gentle Mothering by Sarah Buckley is a significant book. It’s worth reading just for the explanation of how the pregnant and birthing woman’s hormones so perfectly orchestrate birth. Reading this book took my level of trust in the normalcy of the birth process to a much deeper level.

She also presents a lot of evidence for breastfeeding, responding to babies’ cries, and sleep sharing. Also, her explanation of cord blood banking is excellent.

It’s a book that ideally combines evidence with instinct. A great read.


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One of the graduation requirements for my midwifery studies is that I specialize in two areas (three if I want a masters certificate, which I do).

One specialization had to be directly related to midwifery,  and the other a peripheral issue. I’ve been keeping lists of ideas for each. But this last week, perhaps my two specialties clarified.

First, directly related to the practice of midwifery, I’d like to become a neonatal resuscitation instructor, with an emphasis in home birth.

Second, my peripheral issue, I’d like to learn to do birth trauma counseling. I have experienced so much of this “trauma” just as a doula and friend, well, the sleepless nights, crying, etc., I think I should find Biblical ways to deal with this for myself and for the couples I talk with after their births. My friend who recently  birthed was telling me of the emotional heaviness or difficultuy she’s having. And adjusting to life with a newborn along with trying to process your negative birth experiences can be a lot.

So those are my ideas at this  point.

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midwifery history

You can watch “All My Babies” online, free. 

(1952) 53 min

Both educational tool and poetic portrait of a black midwife and childbirth in the Deep South.

“This beautiful film is the story of “”Miss Mary”” Coley an African-American midwife more than half a century ago in rural Georgia. Conceived as a demonstration film for “”granny”” midwives its production sponsored by the Georgia Department of Public Health All My Babies quickly transcended its initial purpose. It was used around the world by UNESCO and has become an enduring classic of non-fiction film.

All My Babies was written produced and directed by George C. Stoney in close collaboration with Mrs. Coley as well as with local public health doctors and nurses and shows the preparation for and home delivery of healthy babies in both relatively good and bad rural conditions among black families at that time.

The film is in addition both a deeply respectful portrait of “”Miss Mary”” who is revealed as an inspiring human being and a record of the actual living conditions of her patients.

Selected in 2002 by the Librarian of Congress as a “”culturally historically and artistically significant work”” for permanent preservation in the National Film Registry.”

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My midwifery school director once commented that midwifery is a lot about focusing parents on parenting (or something like that), so I signed up for a membership to The Attached Family, a group that promotes attachment parenting at various levels. They have personal and more scientific articles about childrearing. It was only $35 for the year and included a digital subscription to Mothering magazine.

Great investment! I don’t get as much out of it as I could yet, just being busy with other things, but it’s a great resource to have.

Skyla a few months old with Vitaliy. She is such a happy girl still today!

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I recently read this on Gloria Lemay’s blog! I have been praying for her release and that birthing moms would be honored, and look what God is doing!

Dec 21, 2010 update

Agnes has been released home on “house arrest”. This was on Facebook from Ina May Gaskin:

Here’s what Ina May has on her FB page: On December 20th, Agnes’ birthday, the Ministry of Natural Resources and its Department of Health held a press conference and publicly announced the birth of the new regulations regarding out of hosp…ital deliveries. There are some severe r…estrictions, like no previous C-sections, but we are hoping that this is just a start. The government promised to build birth centers in the countryside so that women can benefit from midwife assisted out of hospital births there
as well until many more home birth midwives will be trained.

Now we’d like to see all charges dropped against her and the other 4 midwives who have been charged with “reckless endangerment.” International pressure clearly helped.

For those of you who did something and/or prayed, thank you!

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I started thinking about midwifery and home birth when I was about 15 years old. I read books by Sheila Kitzinger. The desire to be a midwife came and went throughout the next, nearly 20 years. I’m still not sure entirely why God, in His manifold wisdom, has waited until now to bring this to fruition, but I have faith that He has the perfect timing. Midwifery is all about who I am as a person, my maturity and people skills, for example, not just a certain level of technical knowledge.  So my all-around development over the past 20 years is serving me now, too. It certainly was not wasted time.

I labeled this post “trauma” because that is actually one main factor that has led me to this current study. Certainly not only trauma because I have the long-lasting interest and desire of the last 20 years behind me, too. But the trauma of actually observing births here in Ukraine has moved me so greatly. And sadly, what I have actually seen is not even a drop in the bucket compared to what has and probably still is going on in some places. I watched my friend’s birth in a birth house about two years ago. I cried several times a day and had insomnia for some period after. The more I study the perfect orchestration of birth and the exquisite sensitivity of the bourning and newborn baby, the more it troubles and grieves me what is happening. Another friend recently gave birth. “Aggressive,” was the main descriptive. I am still disturbed about it, just imagining what I know and have seen happen. “Only at home,” she tells me, for the next birth. Really? Will she be able to make the enormous leap of fearing the 100% chance of birth interference more than fearing the minor-% chance that something split-second will go wrong at home? It’s such a hard chasm for most people to cross over.

It was exactly this type of situation that brought me to the “triumph” part, if you want to call it that. This summer, after deciding that I should just shelve midwifery for a few years while my kids grow up, I drove a sweet couple to their birth hospital when she was in the throes of labor–she called me at 6am saying she was having contractions. I said call me back in 30 min and tell me what the change is–I hardly knew them, but I’m the one they call. Then I put in my contacts and sat at the computer, and I just had “this feeling” that I needed to hurry. I called back at 6:15am, said I was bringing the van and would drive them wherever. I dressed and loaded up the sleeping girls (Vitaliy was out of town), and went a few streets over to their tiny apartment. She was in the bathtub, and boy, was that uterus working so beautifully. 

I helped get their stuff in the car. And her and him and a pillow. We started driving to birth hospital . . . 1? was it? (they number them). Do I drive fast to get there? Slow so not to bother her? She was pushing by the time we pulled in. I left them there. She had her baby out about 20 minutes later. A few hours after that she called and I asked how it was. They weren’t really nice to her . . .  and all the memories of that first birth I’d seen started flooding back. I cried (by myself), I cry now after hearing about my friends’ birth hospital births. It’s crazy; I need a therapist. Fortunately, I have God and His Word, the ability to forgive, grace to go on in a healthy way.

And that was the turning point. I wanted to study. I couldn’t wait. They were birthing, my dear, sweet Ukrainian ladies who shouldn’t be yelled at, shamed, subjected to needless and dangerous birthing practices. . . .

I woke up one morning soon after and said to Vitaliy, “I really want to study midwifery.” . . . . “OK,” he said.” . . . “OK?” . . .  I read this advice once in a marriage book–just state simply what you want; don’t hint, nag, suggest. (You get the idea.) We decided to empty out the $4k in our ROTH IRA to pay for it–Ancient Art Midwifery Institute–the hardest midwifery school known to man (er, woman). Then a  girl I’ve never even met, a friend through my brother, on FB–I asked her what she thought of the course–and she mentioned to me that the director had a 1/2-price deal going on. And that, in short, is how it started. We had some money left over from purchasing our house (the house was $9k and we had $11k in hand), and then, a few weeks later, an acqaintance couple from a not-on-any-map town in WV gave us $1k just for my midwifery studies–I have to order books and stuff like that every month.

So that’s the triumph part. I just am living in this “drive” mode that I MUST study. Paul said that he labored more than all the other apostles, but it wasn’t him but the grace of God in him. And that’s what I feel like right now. I have put on my blinders and am focusing on studying midwifery (and a few select other things, like my family and ladies’ ministries). People are already asking me if I will be able to help with their births in a few years, so it helps having real faces in my head as I do my work.

I wil post more about my studies soon, but that’s my full and overflowing heart right now. As Skyla and Vika say so often, “Thank You, God!”

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Great job, mom.

I’ve been posting about Agnes Gereb’s arrest in Hungary (in Sept?)–she helped women birth at home.

This mom sued the country of Hungary because she couldn’t find a miwife or doctor to assist her birth at home because they were scared of the legal repercussions (like arrest, as in Gereb’s case). Reading the summary below is fascinating. I don’t know if it will lead to any positive changes, or if others will follow suit, but it was a brave thing to do, I think. I would be mad, too, in a good way.

1. Regine Marton on 17 January, 2011

Hungary and Home Birth 14.12.2010 Legal uncertainty prevented mother from giving birth at home In today’s Chamber judgment in the case Ternovszky v. Hungary (application no. 67545/09), which is not final1, the European Court of Human Rights held, by a majority, that there had been: A violation of Article 8 (right to respect for private and family life) of the European Convention on Human Rights

Principal facts: The applicant, Anna Ternovszky, is a Hungarian national who was born in 1979 and lives in Budapest. She was pregnant when she lodged her application with the Court.She intended to give birth at her home, rather than in a hospital or a birth home, but alleged she had not been able to do so because health professionals were effectively dissuaded by law from assisting her as they risked being convicted. It appeared that at least one such prosecution had taken place in recent years.

Complaints, procedure and composition of the Court Relying, in particular, on Article 8 (right to respect for private and family life), the applicant alleged that the fact that she had not been able to benefit from adequate professional assistance for a home birth in view of the relevant Hungarian legislation – and as opposed to those wishing to give birth in a health institution – had amounted to discrimination in the enjoyment of her right to respect for her private life.

The application was lodged with the European Court of Human Rights on 15 December 2009. Judgment was given by a Chamber of seven, composed as follows: Françoise Tulkens (Belgium), President, Danutė Jočienė (Lithuania), Dragoljub Popović (Serbia), András Sajó (Hungary), Nona Tsotsoria (Georgia), Kristina Pardalos (San Marino), Guido Raimondi (Italy), Judges, 1

Under Articles 43 and 44 of the Convention, this Chamber judgment is not final. During the three-month period following its delivery, any party may request that the case be referred to the Grand Chamber of the Court. If such a request is made, a panel of five judges considers whether the case deserves further examination. In that event, the Grand Chamber will hear the case and deliver a final judgment. If the referral request is refused, the Chamber judgment will become final on that day. Once a judgment becomes final, it is transmitted to the Committee of Ministers of the Council of Europe for supervision of its execution. Further information about the execution process can be found

here:www.coe.int/t/dghl/monitoring/execution 2 section 101(2) of Government Decree no. 218/1999 and also Stanley Naismith, Section Registrar. Decision of the Court The Court observed that “private life” incorporated aspects of an individual’s physical and social identity including the right to respect for both the decisions to become and not to become a parent, hence the right of choosing the circumstances of becoming a parent. Although Ms Ternovszky had not been prevented as such from giving birth at home, there had been an interference with the exercise of the right to respect for her private life given that legislation arguably dissuaded health professionals from providing the requisite assistance.

The relevant legislation might reasonably be seen as contradictory. While the Health Care Act 1997 recognised patients’ right to self-determination, including the right to reject certain interventions, a Government decree sanctioned health professionals carrying out activities within their qualifications in a manner incompatible with the law or their licence. The Hungarian Government recognised the necessity of regulating this matter; however no specific decree to that end had been enacted yet. It had moreover not been disputed that, in at least one case, proceedings had been instituted against a health professional for home birth assistance. The Court therefore concluded that the matter of health professionals assisting home births was surrounded by legal uncertainty prone to arbitrariness. Because of the absence of specific and comprehensive legislation and of the permanent threat posed to health professionals inclined to assist them, the applicant was effectively not free to choose to deliver at home. Consequently, there had been a violation of Article 8. Article 41 Under Article 41 (just satisfaction) of the Convention, the Court held that Hungary was to pay the applicant 1,250 euros (EUR) in respect of costs and expenses. The judgment is available only in English. This press release is a document produced by the Registry. It does not bind the Court. Decisions, judgments and further information about the Court can be found on its Internet site.

To receive the Court’s press releases, please subscribe to the Court’s RSS feeds. Press contacts echrpress@echr.coe.int | tel: +33 3 90 21 42 08 Céline Menu-Lange (tel: + 33 3 90 21 58 77) Emma Hellyer (tel: + 33 3 90 21 42 15) Tracey Turner-Tretz (tel: + 33 3 88 41 35 30) Kristina Pencheva-Malinowski (tel: + 33 3 88 41 35 70) Frédéric Dolt (tel: + 33 3 90 21 53 39) Nina Salomon (tel: + 33 3 90 21 49 79) 2 The European Court of Human Rights was set up in Strasbourg by the Council of Europe Member States in 1959 to deal with alleged violations of the 1950 European Convention on Human Rights.

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