Category Archives: Admin Entries

Birth: An Emerging Butterfly

Birth is like an emergence from the life of a caterpillar and into a butterfly. Life as we once knew it changes forever. A new part of ourselves is awakened, wings emerge, and we fly into this world as a changed being. This happens for all who give birth, whether their baby is injured, healthy, or lost. Each birthing person’s experiences impacts their life as the ‘butterfly’ and as such, it’s essential that it’s handled as intricately as an emerging butterfly should be.

Birth in and of itself being treated like a medical event and/or an emergency is a major problem in our over-medicalized/hospitalist culture. Way too many people have been told that their lives, or the lives of their babies, were saved, when in reality the issues were iatrogenic (induced unintentionally by a medical provider).

The reality is that many of these issues where birthing people and their babies are allegedly in danger, it’s due to medical error or unnecessary/routine intervention. Medical error in general, is the third leading cause of death in the US, yet birthing people look to medical providers as the ones to make their health choices for them and this should not be so. We should only seek out medical assistance when we need more information in which to make the decision for ourselves; being willing to seek out second and third opinions. The medical provider would then perform what we decide should be done and we pay them for that service. Many of the issues faced in assisted birth, would not be faced if bodies were allowed to do what they were created to do – both by the birthing person and their medical provider.

There are situations when the need for assistance may arise. In these situations, it is a great that we have the option for those educated in saving lives. In these events where doctors indeed need to save lives, the technology, education, and skills are a great asset to our modern world. It’s a travesty that it’s being used in the way that it is – as a crutch to avoid pain or to feel better in the midst of fear despite the risks. Even worse, it’s often used by medical providers as a form of asserting power and control (which is absolutely abusive and should be criminal in the medical world). Our culture as a whole doesn’t generally support anyone asserting their power and control over another against their will, except for those in the position of medical need many immediately will embrace the concept and even stand by or participate in the abuse. This needs to change.

I don’t know who needs to hear this, but medical providers are NOT, nor have they ever been, in any position of authority over our bodies or our health care. WE are. You have the authority over your body. Period.

Allowing unnecessary, routine, and precautionary interventions in the midst of birth serves one purpose and ONLY one purpose: to create a sense of security. Many have accepted these interventions, allowing and embracing them, as It gives people a sense of control where in nature, we can’t control everything. When we try to control the outcome, instead of addressing what comes, this – this is where danger occurs.

In the case of the emergence of a butterfly, if one breaks open the cocoon to assist the butterfly, this can actually be to the detriment of the butterfly. The butterfly needs to break through the cocoon on its own in order to establish the strength it needs to be able to fly. Without flight, the butterfly will surely not be able to live its life to its fullest. It might be alive, but what is its quality of life? Have we actually done it a favor? The butterfly may never know anything other than its experience and believe their life was saved due to the interventions, and accept that it can’t fly, but that absolutely could have been avoided.

Of course, if a butterfly could communicate and knew something wasn’t right, they could say they needed help. In this case, the risks would then be worth it. Save the life, even if one can’t fly… but don’t steal flight from someone who would otherwise have soared beautifully.

The Birth Set Free Project

Hello freebirthers and those learning more about it! Sorry this is long (hence the blog entry), but I think you’re gonna want to read it! I’ve got something for you, and I would SO love your participation!

As some of you may have seen me or Desirae post on Facebook, we have been working on a freebirth project and we just released the e-magazine today, and the podcast is in the works as editing is being done! We can’t keep providing these resources without freebirth experiences! Would you be willing to get involved so someone else can learn, be inspired, and be awed from your experience?

You can email us your freebirth story for the magazine (500-2000 words and a few pictures if you like), or send your recorded birth story on in to be included on the podcast (contact info down below). ALSO we have had the honor of having our magazine translated to Spanish, which will be released very soon as well! A huge thanks to Selma for her hard work in making that an option for the Spanish speaking folks!

The first edition of the e-magazine has 90 pages of stories and articles, as well as freebirther business ads/promotion, and freebirth supportive birthkeepers and midwives! Lots of freebirth goodness! A new issue will be offered every couple of months! We’ve priced it affordably at $5, so we hope you’ll grab one and enjoy!

If you’d like to get involved in any of the ways shared above, reach out! We’d love to feature you in the magazine and you will get a free copy of the issue your story is in!

To reach us:

Our Email: birthsetfreeproject@mail.com
Our Facebook Page: www.facebook.com/birthsetfreeproject
Our Instagram Account: @birthsetfreeproject
To Purchase the E-Magazine: payhip.com/birthsetfreeproject
To Record for and/or Listen to Podcast: anchor.fm/birthsetfreeproject

We’d like to feature all sorts of freebirthing experiences so we can all share our stories as well as learn from each other. So if you’ve had any of the following, please consider sharing your story. Anonymity is always an option as well, if you prefer!

  • First Freebirths
  • Spiritual
  • Various Religions (or a specific religion depending on how many entries)
  • Multiples
  • Single mom by choice
  • Necessary/unnecessary transfer
  • Non-textbook
  • Breech
  • Late term
  • Early term
  • Large babies
  • Small babies
  • UBAC
  • LGBTQ+
  • Premature birth
  • Partner perspectives
  • Asynclitic/dystocia
  • Planned freebirth
  • Unplanned freebirth
  • Car birth
  • Outdoor birth
  • Freebirth loss/stillbirth
  • Birth elsewhere other than home
  • Waterbirth
  • Lots of Prodromal Labor
  • Prolonged Labor
  • Precipitous Births
  • Geriatric (“advanced” maternal age)
  • Grand Multi Para
  • Postpartum Transfer after a Freebirth
  • Siblings Present
  • Non-Textbook
  • Emergency Situations Addressed in-home

Had one that’s not on the list?
We want to hear it!

Virtual & Local Support & Services Available!

Services Description:

Updated: 09/2020

LOCAL CHILDBIRTH SUPPORT SERVICES IN CENTRAL MAINE INCLUDE:
👉 Free Consultation & Interview 🤝
An opportunity to get to know each other and discuss general birth plans, estimated due date availability, share experience, etc., and ultimately determine if you’d like to hire me as your birth support.

👉 Pregnancy Support🤰
Local pregnancy support services includes four prenatal visits up to two hours each, with discussion on expectations of birth, as well as creation of the of birth plan, discussion of fears and anxieties, cover ways of addressing challenges, etc.
Includes unlimited texts/messages, as well as ministerial support
at no additional cost if interested.
Payment due prior to pregnancy support.

👉 Labor & Postpartum Support🤱
The labor & postpartum support services include 24/7 availability after 36wks, information for risk/benefit analysis, pain management, emergency transfer support, postpartum concerns, etc.
Includes unlimited texts/messages, as well as ministerial support
at no additional cost if interested.
Payment due by 36wks.

👉 Trauma Informed Ministerial Spiritual Support 🙏
(Included with Pregnancy/Birth Services at No Additional Cost)
Where I’m a Birthkeeper as well as a Licensed Independent Minister with independent study and experience on trauma such as domestic violence, childhood sexual abuse, emotional neglect and misattunement, PTSD, etc., I’m also able to offer clients spiritual support through scriptural understanding, prophetic prayer, Biblical counsel on a multitude of topics, as well as Christian Ministerial Counseling Services for those who have an interest towards working through specific barriers in preparation for their birthing and postpartum experience. Additionally, as an artist, I offer trauma work through art, rewriting the narrative of traumatic experiences through pieces that take one’s power back from which it was taken; up to five pieces included.
Available for anyone, not just pregnant/birthing clients.
Payment due upon receipt.

👉Trauma Work Via Art 🎨
(Five Pieces Included with Pregnancy/Birth Services
and/or Ministerial Counseling at No Additional Cost)
Rewrite the narrative of traumatic experiences through pieces that take one’s power back from which it was taken. For example, this can be by drawing a family photo with an abuser removed, drawing an experience and adding a family member who passed away, or drawing the birth as you envisioned, etc. These help to bring closure and healing in various ways.
Payment due within 14 days of request.

👉 À La Carte Services Available 👏
(Pick and Choose Which Services You Prefer)
This is a great option for those who are only interested in one aspect of support.

👉 Choose All Services – Discount Offered 🙌
Selecting this package includes the virtual and/or local services of pregnancy, labor, & postpartum support, art counseling, and ministerial support all at a discounted rate. If you aren’t sure and start with á la carte services, the cost will be adjusted accordingly and will be issued after postpartum visits are completed.


Interested in Virtual or Local Services? Fill out the form below for more information and to schedule a FREE consultation & interview!


What is a Birthkeeper & Doula?

If you’re interested in becoming a certified Birthkeeper/Doula through Holistically Empowered Rebel Birthkeeper Academy of Learning (H.E.R.B.A.L) use this affiliate link!

What is a Birthkeeper/Doula?

A Doula is a female servant to the pregnant, birthing, and postpartum person. Providing emotional, physical, and spiritual support, Doulas are a resource for educating birthing people and their support team, as well as holding space as they encounter their own power.

A Birthkeeper is a Doula who also keeps the space surrounding each woman sacred, safe, and undisturbed. She’s a bodyguard of sorts, taking a stand to protect bodily autonomy and the primal process of growing, nurturing, and bringing forth life.

As a Birthkeeper & Doula, I’m now available to support people virtually, at the hospital or in the home, unassisted or with a medical attendant; I support the first time parent or the parent of many; I will stand with the one in need of a cesarean and the one planning a vaginal birth after a cesarean; and while I’m still learning ways to better support others from varying cultures and life experiences, my desire is provide support for all birthing people regardless of race, religion, gender identity, or sexual orientation. Everyone deserves respect, support, and to be treated with dignity.

Inspiration

I have seven children. Carrying them in my womb, birthing them, and guiding them through each milestone has been the sweetest and most challenging gift. Being this role in their lives is the greatest contribution to my drive to become a Doula and Birthkeeper. I’ve experienced the sacrifice firsthand. The beauty in sacrifices is that they transform. Sacrifice transforms into treasure.

Strategy

I became a certified Doula & Birthkeeper because I love supporting families on their journey of bringing their babies from the womb to loving arms. It is an honor to provide emotional, physical, and informational support throughout pregnancy, through labor & birth, and into the postpartum and transitional period. Every family deserves a safe, sacred space to bring their babies armside. It’s my desire to provide such support, keeping the birth space a place of peace, calm, and empowerment.

Focus

When I began birthing unassisted, my greatest support has always been my husband. Even with my assisted births, I only wanted my husband near me. He reminds me what I’m made of, he encourages me in my power, he holds me up, he holds my hand, he listens, and he pays attention; he’s present. I love how intently he looks at me as I work through challenges I face. This type of support is what everyone deserves. This is my drive for supporting women in birth – standing in where there is no support or fostering a space that allows partners to be the support that is needed.

Interested in getting your Birthkeeper & Doula Certification? Check out H.E.R.B.A.L. (Holistically Empowered Rebel Birthkeepers Academy of Learning)!


My First Unassisted Birth… 11 Years Later

First UP/UC, First Son (Third Child) born on 8/6/2008

At the time, we thought our due date was the 23rd of July, but when I was measuring 40wks for 3 weeks I decided to check my dates again just to be sure. Sure enough, I had miscalculated and my EDD was actually the 30th.

Contractions began on July 13th (at 37½ (ish) weeks, but I thought I was almost 39(ish) weeks). They came and went several days and would be between 3-11 minutes apart but would cease after a few hours.  I declared and trusted that they were all prep for the delivery that would come in God’s perfect time.

With lots of prodromal labor, the 26th came with more prep, the 29th brought “bloody show,” our EDD of July 30th came and went, and August 2 brought more progress that left me at 2-3 cm dilated.

As August 5th came and went, even more prep occurred: a quick progression from 3cm to 5cm and a smaller gap between contractions but all this ceased to continue by evening. This left me joking on August 6 that I’d never have this baby and the Lord put Isaiah 66:9 on my heart to which it reads: “‘Do I bring to the moment of birth and not give delivery?’ says the LORD. “Do I close up the womb when I bring to delivery?’ says your God.” I chuckled at myself and again trusted in His perfect timing.

As I labored all day on the 6th, contractions varying between 4 and 20 minutes apart, I talked with my sister all throughout it to keep myself distracted. We laughed and she kept me accountable to continue to trust in God’s plan.

At around 5pm the contractions were getting quite uncomfortable and achy and I wanted to be alone so I left my husband in the living room with the kids and laid down, still chatting with my sister on the phone. I was still able to talk through the second half of it after the peak past and we’d enjoy conversing and preparing for delivery until sometime after 6. We talked about videotaping it, perhaps using the tub, things to keep in mind after baby came, considering emergency situations and the like.

Following 6pm, the contractions went from lasting a minute or so to lasting closer to a minute and a half and I could no longer talk through any of it but they were still varying between 4 and 20 minutes apart and I decided that when they were more regular (around 4 and 5) that I would fill the tub. Nearly 7pm came and I had a couple of “great” contractions that left me wondering if I should try to go to the bathroom but still 7 minutes apart. Then another came that left me claiming the promises of God for a pain-free birth.

I then let my sister go and went to the bathroom to have a bowel movement. While I sat there, I noticed trickling warmth and thought, “is that my water?” I had the urge to push and have another bowel and so I went with it (because it hurt when I held back) and more fluid pushed its way through. I hollered for dh down the hallway to tell him that my water had broke and he said “Wow, that’s convenient!” It was now 7:30 and I had him call my sister back to let her know that my water broke and I wouldn’t be calling her back right away. He also got our two and four year old daughters into their beds.

I continued to feel the urge to push and as long as I was, I felt no pain. I figured it would be in the next day or two that this baby would be joining us and began to get very excited! And then I realized my urges to push were not to have a bowel movement!!

I hollered dh back in to let him know that I was feeling pushy and asked him to get the shower curtains that were earlier prepared, onto the floor so I could transition from the toilet to the daybed. I checked my cervix and while doing so, I dilated from 5 cm to 10 and began effacing. I again hollered for him to come back in.

I told him “I’m pushing and I think I’m just going to stay here.” He laughed and joked how his baby’s first experience would be a swirly. I laughed and shook my head at his silliness. “On the floor goober!” So we laughed and he came to help me to the daybed but the contractions were on top of each other and moving my legs were out of the question (as long as they were propped up on stools in a squatted position and pushing, I felt no pain). I explained to him that I was waiting for the contraction to end but it wasn’t happening. He exclaimed how fast that was as he rushed to keep our two and four year old daughters in their room (I’m sure they were antsy and wondering what the commotion was).

Suddenly my water burst and baby’s head was fully engaged and crowning – it was time for babe to come OUT! I hollered for dh to come back, that the head was right there. I got up to sit on the floor, and dh came running in and helped me and asked if I wanted a pillow. He ran back out to get a pillow, only for me to holler that the baby’s head was coming out – there is NO TIME!!! He ran back in and threw the pillow behind me. Propped up on one hand I was in tears and laughter at all of this coming together. I felt the baby’s head bulging through and I was tense against it in a moment of fear and then reminded myself to relax. As I did, without even a push, the head started coming out and before my husband could finish telling me how great I was doing, my body gently eased the baby out and the head came through. Dh was in utter shock at how easy that was for me! I propped myself up with both hands and I again relaxed and felt the rest of the baby slide out like jiggly jello into Daddy’s hands. I heard my dh exclaim how much faster that was than our previous births.

Our sweet baby’s soft cry permeated the air around us.

We rested the baby’s bottom on the floor (that was covered in a sheet and a puppy pad) as I held the upper body in my hand and we looked at each other at the craziness of what just happened. It was all in a matter of 30 minutes (but felt like 5), and we were holding our baby in just 5-10 minutes after we “knew” it was time. I realized I didn’t know the gender and reached down. I looked up and said “It’s a boy!” and we both cried and laughed at the amazement and awe of all of what just happened. I held him close as my husband got the girls up to meet their brother. We were all so excited and laughing and celebrating. I wiped him down and rubbed his back as his color got brighter and then massaged the vernix into his skin.

Dh then helped me to the daybed and we loved on our newest addition to the family. I then nursed him as dh called to let all the Grandparents know as well as my sister, his brother, our cousin, and his aunt, that we just delivered our SON.

About an hour later I delivered the placenta into a bowl and I got into bed and nursed him again still in utter awe that God had blessed us with a son. When he was 2 hours old and the cord was no longer pulsating, we cut it and got him all snuggled up and cozy. “I can no longer say ‘the girls’ when referring to my children!” I whispered. We were nestled together for another hour before I laid him in his bed and he drifted into a quiet sleep. I couldn’t sleep… I was so in awe and so I got up and called my sister. We were both amazed at how fast it all happened.

It was a BEAUTIFUL experience; raw, real, personal, and fun. No poking, no suggestions, no tests, no monitors… We were immediately made comfortable and got plenty of rest that night.

 

Postpartum: New Life; New Baby

So often, when one becomes pregnant, a lot of the focus is on growing a human inside the womb, birthing that human, and then raising that human.  Sometimes we can forget that there is a transition period between birth and the new life with a baby. This period of time is called postpartum and it’s a transition for healing, adapting, and discovering your capabilities; learning to trust oneself in this role of motherhood.  As a Postpartum Doula, my job is to encourage women to do these things – to see their power, to know their body and their baby, and to trust their instincts. It’s an honor to be a part of this support that surrounds women during such a time when we are tired, hurting, and taking the time to take care of ourselves while also caring for a newborn.  Not all women want or need a doula, but for those of you that do, there are wonderful benefits in doing so. Could you share with me what some of the things you wish you had help with from a doula after you gave birth to your baby? What would you have appreciated as you transitioned and adapted to your new life with a new little person to care for? What is something you had that you are grateful for? I’d love to hear your experiences and thoughts as I prepare to begin doula work and find ways that truly benefit women.  Thank you so much for sharing your experiences via email (cornerpillarsofapalace), IG @cornerpillarsofapalace, facebook (https://www.facebook.com/cornerpillarsofapalace/), and here at this blog.

Take Action Accordingly

In a culture where birth has turned into something quite medicalized, every once in a while something will come along in my Facebook Newsfeed or someone will mention something in one of my Facebook groups that really just get me thinking about the information that is out there. During my research journey I learned a lot of things that have opened my eyes to how people tend to slide into tradition rather than really ponder what makes the most sense. That’s how it was for me during my first assisted pregnancy and birth. I did everything that I was told to do because I believed the doctor knew best and therefore I trusted everything they said as fact.

It was after I gave birth to my second child that I began learning things about the estimated due date (how pregnancies can go to 38- 46 weeks along depending and that 41 weeks is the mathematical average of how long a pregnancy is), induction (and how different a medically induced labor with synthetic Pitocin is in comparison to the hormone oxytocin that is released naturally by the body), uterine rupture (which I discovered can happen in a first time mother with no uterine scar from a prior c-section and the risk goes from 0.007% with no prior cesarean to 0.51% with one prior cesarean, but the risk remains the same at 1.85% with each subsequent cesarean), birthing positions (while laying flat on the back or resting on the tailbone while curled in a C shape are the more common birthing positions in hospitals, these positions can reduce the pelvic outlet up to 30% and therefore unless the woman feels led to be in such positions, it’s more ideal to be on all fours, squatting, standing, or in the lunge position which can help decrease risks of shoulder dystocia, as well as prolonged pushing phase, and tearing), and clamping the cord (where delaying the clamping of the cord has showed benefits for the baby to receive all the T-cells in the cord blood as well as oxygen as they transition to taking their first breath).

These are a few of the things I learned in just the first months of researching… so now, being 13 years later, I’ve only discovered so much more. Where is a great place to start? Start with finding answers to your questions… like, what if the baby is born and does not breath right away (because the thought of that can be scary). When you look for the answers, you will discover that knowledge and solutions can equip you to address fears, reduce panic, and create a proactive plan in how to move forward rather than getting paralyzed by the unknown. By the way, many babies take a moment to transition to take their first breath. Keeping the cord pulsing to allow the oxygenated blood to travel to the baby and rubbing their back while they lay on their belly is the first thing to do, clearing the airways by wiping down with a cloth from the nose and mouth, or if necessary using a suction device (an aspirator for instance). If the baby’s color starts to change, calling for help and performing Infant CPR are the next steps. From there, a paramedic can help.

So what is some bits of information you trusted until you learned more about it? What are some of the “what if” questions you have that spark fear in you, or used to until you researched it? Let’s quash the idea that labor and birth is a medical event and inherently dangerous. It’s empowering to have the knowledge of what is a true emergency and what is not so as to be able to take action accordingly.