Monday, December 30, 2013

And To All A Goodnight

I've fretted over this post. Not sure why.
      Last post of the year? I thought, "maybe I should write about semantics again because it's a topic I find extremely important and powerful." - I worried it wouldn't be good enough.
      Trying to keep a good rhythm of four posts each month? Eh, it's not a like I have a google followers; "a google" as my son would say. You know I've actually heard a number of young children lately refer to google as if it were a number, presumably a large number.
      I thought about picking a few of my favorites from this year and then highlighting them. - In the flurry of Christmas and getting ready to open the boutique, I just haven't had the time for that. On a more positive note, I have had time to clear my house of Christmas decorations! I know, that should sadden me but I really felt the weight of Christmas chaos in terms of decorations this year. I also had one of the best Christmas holidays I can remember this year! I got to see all of the family I wanted, I didn't have to miss any celebrations I desired to attend, the children were absolutely marvelous to watch opening gifts and such, the food was awesome, my eldest still believes in Santa and we all enjoyed celebrating the birth of our Savior! But... the decorations... they were just too much for me this year. I took to throwing out all of my glass ornaments because with a 15 month old and tile floors, why bother trying? I only got about half way through putting up the rest of the ornaments and didn't even touch the box of handmade's and the kids' first Christmas ones because with an almost toddler,
that looks something like this:
christmas decorating, decorating with toddlers
Next year, I'll just do this :)

Pull ornament out of box
Admire it
Put ornament on tree
Pull ornament out of box
Admire it
Put ornament on tree
Pick up ornament from the ground
Replace it on the tree
Pull ornament out of box
Admire it
Put ornament on tree
Pick up ornament from the ground
Replace it on the tree
Pick up other ornament from the ground
Replace in on the tree
Scavenge to pick up all of the ornaments suddenly dumped on the floor while the dog thinks it's play time!

Well, folks - I think I'll call this my final blog post for the year! Thanks for reading and I'll see ya next year!

Saturday, December 21, 2013

Meet the Photog {A Birth Circle Event}

This December YC Birth Circle featured local photographers - just in time for Christmas, they had gift certificates available. This event allowed moms to see the work of our local talent, get to know the photographers a bit more, to fall in love with birth photography, nursing sessions, maternity and more, and find a photographer whom they could trust to capture that moment. Verde Valley featured Chance Pedersen of Perfect Chance Photography and Crystal Billington of Aniron Photography. Enjoy a glimpse into what they shared...

Meet Perfect Chance Photography! Chance specializes in birth photography but also has a passion for capturing the beautiful moments between a nursing baby and mother! With beautiful packaging and creativity, she is a gem true gem. 



Meet Aniron Photography!  Crystal has a magical way of capturing stunning and unique maternity photos. She is also quite talented in creating wonderful family photos and who can resist the adorable newborn moments that she'll freeze in time for you, forever. 

Other Birth Circle Topics:

Thursday, December 12, 2013

Slow Down and Breathe In The Moment

Seize the moment, don’t let the moment seize you
10 minutes could have been spent dancing around my living room with my children instead of rushing them about the house. 10 minutes I could have taken the time for a morning devotional or a simple prayer to start the day instead of complaining about the dishes that didn't get done.

childhood, parenting
Image Courtesy of 

The next time you feel like you got absolutely nothing done, the next time the pile of laundry is bringing you down, or the dishes are shouting out 'failure' -- look at your day through colored lenses. Count the smiles you beheld instead of the tasks you forgot, the laughs you shared instead of the chores you didn't get to. 

Allow yourself to be blessed by the blessing of being a mother and give yourself due creditBlog link By Samantha Vickery © 2013 What's your perspective? Parenting is filled with moments of extreme happiness interspersed with moments of sheer frustration.....

parenting, attachment parenting, gentle parenting, counting your blessings

Seize the moment and view it from your child's perspective because the Journey of Life is awe inspiring. Take time to smell the flowers. Really. Pause and take the time.

Wednesday, December 4, 2013

More Than A Scar

       Crisis [krahy-sis]
1.       A stage in a sequence of events at which the trend of all future events, especially for better or for worse, is determined; turning point.
2.       A condition of instability or danger, as in social, economic, political, or international affairs, leading to a decisive change.
3.       A dramatic emotional or circumstantial upheaval in a person’s life.

I was 37 weeks pregnant, sitting on the white, crunchy paper of a doctor’s office table, when my obstetrician informed me that I was very tiny and the fetus I was carrying was measuring large; “we should just schedule a c-section” he said. Something in me knew that was not the appropriate response and I declined, requesting I be allowed to try and birth my child naturally. Reluctantly, this man I entrusted with my care agreed as long as I “progressed fast enough.”

I was 40 weeks pregnant, sitting on the white, crunchy paper of a doctor’s office table, when my obstetrician reminded me that I was very tiny and the fetus I was carrying was measuring large. At this point, I scheduled my induction. Little did I know, ACOG does not support induction or routine cesarean section for a suspected big baby.

I was 40+3 weeks pregnant in a hospital bed, receiving Cervadil. A few hours later it was apparent that either my child was ready for his birthday or the Cervadil was all I was going to need. It was around 2am, Feb 6, 2007 and my labor had begun. I slept through most of early labor and a nurse came in at 7am because “it was time” for the Pitocin drip to begin. I didn’t want it, I was beginning labor on my own but “I had to” have it. It was started and then quickly stopped due to decels in fetal heart tones. I labored naturally on my own, frequently interrupted by “required” vaginal exams to ensure I was “progressing fast enough.”

It was Feb 6, 2007 at 2 o’clock in the afternoon, I was 7 centimeters dilated, my water had spontaneously ruptured about an hour ago, fetal heart tones were reading great, maternal blood pressure was spot on but twelve hours was long enough according to the obstetrician I had entrusted with my care. A cesarean section was ordered for “failure to progress” and approximately 1.5 hours later, my child was cut out of my body. I gave my child a kiss and we were separated, the rest of the operation details don’t matter much. He was 7lbs, 2oz, 20 in long and his head was 14 ¾ in diameter.  At my late ultrasounds, the doctor had estimated my baby to be around ten pounds but “Wow, what a big head. He wouldn’t have fit anyway,” was the explanation without apology from my obstetrician.

A mother seeking a TOLAC, (trial of labor after cesarean), in a rural town is very limited. At the hhosptal in my town an RCS, or routine cesarean section, is scheduled for mothers with prior cesareans. For my second birth I sought care from a group of midwives in the city and planned my birth place to be a hospital; not my first choice but one of the few options I had because of my prior cesarean. I was 37 weeks pregnant, moderately dissatisfied with my choice of care providers, sitting on the white, crunchy paper of a doctor’s office table. My midwife informed me my fetus was breech, I would “have to” have a cesarean. I found a new care provider. My crisis taught me that this is my body, my baby and my birth.

My crisis taught me that I shouldn’t trust another with my care; I had to be responsible for the decisions made. My crisis taught me to follow my heart. My crisis taught me that what one person says is not always correct. Little did I know how profound that statement was to become.

I was 41+6 weeks pregnant, it was a little after midnight and fear overwhelmed me; fear that if I didn’t “push fast enough” this opportunity, this right, and this birth, would be taken away from me. Three pushes later, my son was born, measuring in at 8lbs, 6oz, 19 in long with a head that was 14 ¾ in diameter. My prenatal challenges shaped who I was becoming as a mother but these numbers impacted the realization of my crisis on a deeply emotional level; realizing how much I had been lied to during my first pregnancy. The cut of my first birth may have been the actual event of a crisis but it was at this moment that it became such.  It was at this moment my life changed.

As the weeks unfolded I bonded with my VBAC baby like I have never done with my first child. It was during these moments I began to feel the emotional impact and realize my first birth experience was a crisis. It had always angered me, it had been a frustration during my second pregnancy but now, it hurt me. The cut of my cesarean cut more than just my body, it cut my soul.
-- Anonymous  

The cesarean rate in America is 32%. The World Health Organization recommends less than 15% to be appropriate.  With these numbers in mind, it's no surprise that so many mothers have suffered from birth trauma from a cesarean. If this is you, I encourage you to process your past birth experience(s). Find a local ICAN Chapter, take a birth after cesarean workshop, attend a group counseling session where you can share your experience(s), hopes and fears, and be showered with love, compassion and support. Some mothers may benefit from seeking a therapist trained in EMDR, (eye movement desensitization and reprocessing). All mothers will likely benefit from a doula.
Not all mothers feel traumatized by their cesarean but most view it as a crisis that challenges them to this day. Use this challenge to support those around you; use it to improve birth. Because when you know better, you do better. Find evidence based information; know and understand your options and make informed decisions, encouraging those around you to do the same. 
If a mother feels empowered in her birth experience, no matter the type of birth it is, she is less likely to suffer emotionally. Birth shapes the type of mothers we become, the relationships we have with our partners, our children and those around us.  A cesarean affects a mother emotionally, physically and medically for the rest of her life.

Sunday, November 24, 2013

Smash Cake

Joshua's Smash Cake Session!! 

Totally overdue, I know. Like 2 months late!

Of course, this stunning masterpiece was not the cake he smashed!
For his birthday party, Maia Rose made his splashy cake! 

Check out our group board as we chose the theme on Pinterest!

We had a super cute, Finding Nemo themed party!

All of her cake's were custom made for us with natural colors!

This super cute cupcake got smashed!

And now....
the smashing you've been waiting for!

 Talent by Crystal Billington

Can't forget the clean-up!

That was just a glimpse into our smash cake session. For more great photos, check out Aniron Photography.
Crystal Billington captures memories in the beautiful Verde Valley. She specializes in maternity, newborn  and family on location photography but her talent does not stop there!  

Monday, November 11, 2013

Birth Story {The Freebirth of True}

This November, we are sharing birth stories at the YC Birth Circle meet ups! I just couldn't wait to share this beautiful story with you, so here it is. And be sure to check out the birth video of 

The Freebirth of True.

He was “due” only the day before, but since all the others were a bit early, it was the longest I have waited! Typical 6th baby; nights of contractions leading up, but they’d quit by morning and I’d wake up pregnant. I got the feeling time and time again that it would be a slow build up to labor, and even though I “wanted” a super, quick and easy birth, I wasn’t so sure I would get it.
Went to bed on May 18th with the typical run of contractions, although more pressure than normal. Stopped somewhere through the night, and started up again at 5:30 am on May 19th. Somewhere in me I knew this was the beginning of “it”-but I had no idea how long it would last and if this babe would come today or even tomorrow. It just had that “different” feeling, even though the contractions were totally irregular and would even stop for 15-20 minutes at a time. Kind of how my fifth labor started out, but even less predictable. Still no mucous or blood or anything to reassure me, so I just went about my day as best as I could.
At about 2 pm, I laid down in bed with Belgium to see if I could rest. It was difficult to remain still during contractions, and I thought, “Really? Already?” True always liked to hang out on my right side but at this precise moment I felt him move forcefully to my left side. Literally minutes later the contractions got more regular.
By 4 pm, I knew this was “it” but still not predictable. However, the pressure was increasing. I knew I didn’t want a midwife there, but I did want my friends in addition to my husband. I called my friend Margo to come and also my friend Jenni who is a pro photographer. I hadn’t totally decided if I was comfortable with pictures but I thought she could come for now at least…with both of them I hated having to make the “phone calls” (even though I love them both!) just from that element of feeling like people would be here “waiting” for me. (And not that they felt that way at all, that’s my own baggage!)
They arrived shortly and left me to my business of laboring. I labored outside on at least 3 of our decks, downstairs, upstairs and was very pace-y. I used the large tub in our bathroom, listened to music, listened to hypnosis. A lot like how I live, actually. Always busy, never resting, always on the move.
I wasn’t uncomfortable. In fact, several times, I thought it really wasn’t painful or awful or unbearable at all. I just kept needing to change my coping tactics, and even so, that was working fine. My midwife brain would look down on myself, as much as I was trying to stay out of that analytical brain-I couldn’t help it! The paranoid side of me felt like WHY was this taking so long (even though it really wasn’t) even though I knew deep down everything was normal and fine. There was nothing wrong at all, my baby and I both were doing perfectly. The only problem was my expectation or hope that the labor would be shorter, or needed to be for a 6th baby. My midwife brain assessed the situation as normal too; I watched myself deal with longer and stronger contractions, I never listened to baby but I felt him move and knew he was doing fine.
By 6 pm, I knew there was no going back. I labored in the bathroom (my sanctuary) quite a bit. Even brought my computer in so that I could put on music. Lit a candle and filled up the jacuzzi tub to see if that would help. It was getting a lot harder, but I remember thinking I wasn’t as physically close as I would like; mostly because I wasn’t minding hearing the music and I was still able to text on my phone! However it was getting rough and I was still wrestling with this idea that things should be moving so much more quickly than they were. My expectations were causing me undue fear. At one point, I even asked my friend Jenni (the photographer, although she has birthed 2 babes) if this would be over soon. All I wanted to do was get this baby out and hold him. It just felt like the longest time to wait and it wasn’t getting anymore comfortable.
I was starting to feel a little grunty around 7 pm…but definitely not full on pushy, in fact it came and went. My midwife brain just told me it wasn’t time yet, no worries. I got this feeling of surrender and just told the baby I was giving up all control; he could do what he needed to do with no fight from me. I was laboring in my room alone, when at 7:30pm I gave a tiny push and my water BROKE all over the wood floor. In all the births I’ve attended, I have never seen that much water. It was clear, and it gave me the courage to go on, knowing that it couldn’t be too long now. (I’ve never had a labor where my waters opened this early. With all the others it has been as I was pushing, and so this was new. I realized later that it definitely added to the physical intensity that was to come. When it happened, all I could think was, “Good! It shouldn’t be too long now!”) I was also able to see outside myself a bit and recognize what’s “normal” for me at this point- I was feeling shaky, and looking for reassurance that I could indeed do this. I’ve done this with every baby I’ve had, and I saw the humor in it this time.
About 15 later, I started to push involuntarily, but again not with every contraction. It would either feel really good or really not good. I had “planned” (along with my hope for a quiet, fast and peaceful birth!) that I would not push this time, but rather hope and pray for the fetal ejection reflex. I had experienced that with my 4th and 5th births, and although it was a scary sensation, it was so much less effort and trauma than my previous births where I really, athletically pushed. But this baby was asking me to push. I listened to this voice, and followed it. Lesson learned (again); being stuck on a vision of exactly how you think your birth should go generally isn’t helpful.
At first it felt really good to push-but after 20 minutes or so I began to feel frustrated, like nothing was happening. My brain went into fear mode again, and I panicked. I feared this baby wouldn’t come out-that everything I believed about birth maybe WASN’T true and that I would need help I couldn’t get. I was pushing and pushing, attempting to focus but feeling utterly defeated. I had never, ever, in 5 births felt this way before. Sure, pushing hadn’t always been pleasant (my second came out with his hand next to his face-that makes for some painful pushing!) but this was downright frustrating. My brain kept saying maybe this is not normal for a 6th baby- and I was caught in the crux of my own issue. Because if I HAD had a midwife there, it’s likely I would have felt from her that maybe this WASN’T normal. Then where would I be? Instead, I cried and asked my husband to encourage me. I knew at that moment that it was up to me. I wanted this baby out. But the only way was for me to get him out. I felt my fear, very real. I am sure I looked it, too, for at least a second. I took some deep breaths, some Rescue Remedy and knew I must move on. This baby was coming out hell or high water.
After pushing in the tub, I hopped out quickly and I grabbed my bed and went into a deep squat, pushing sort of wildly. Jason supported me so wonderfully, just quietly whispering that I could do it, that I was almost there. But still, no head. Not even a sliver.
The deep squat was killing my legs. I am not a squatter and so I laughed later ay my choice of position. However, I made it into the squat quite well at the moment and remembered instinctively that I must have needed whatever extra space that afforded me. It was both terrifying and relieving-my body felt out of control with these pushes, yet I was SO determined to hold him. I don’t remember in previous births caring that much about the baby at this point in labor, but in this one, it was what kept me going. With every push I visualized his head moving down and I kept seeing and feeling what it was going to feel like when he was out. It was either that intense visualization or giving into my fear that I was not going to be able to do this.
Still not feeling like I was making progress, the baby passed my rectum (we all know what THAT means!) and I took it to be a good sign. Then the slight burning up inside, good. With the next push I felt that inexplicable feeling as the head starts to fill up that space, and then grows. I felt the wrinkled part of his scalp as it rolled forward and was amazed. It was happening. I pushed with the next push for a lot more of his head, and then used all the patience I had left to just leave the rest to my body, all the while standing and supporting my body and his head with my hands. I was almost there, deep breath, I could taste it.
With the next contraction the rest of his head slipped out. I asked for a mirror to check his color but mostly I wanted to see his precious little face!! I leaned forward onto the bed, his head out, just waiting. I remember Jason telling me something-I realized later he was just encouraging me but at the time I thought he was wondering where the rest of the baby was. I muttered something about needing to rest, and I felt the baby rest too as he shifted and negotiated his next and final move out.
home birth, unassisted birth, birth circle
As I felt the next and last contraction surge, he rotated, some fluid spurted out and I reached down to catch him even though I couldn’t actually see what I was doing! As soon as he was out I bent with him to the floor; placed him down for just a second before I picked him back up again and smothered him with kisses. THE moment I live for and the reason I’ve birthed 5 times and love to watch other women experience the same! The smell and taste and goo of vernix and fluid were everywhere-on my lips and nose and I kissed him and talked to him. He had pooped on the way out, so I was covered with that too, but he was alert and coming around really fast. It’s amazing how the instinctual things a mother will do with her baby at birth are also exactly what the baby needs!
I was so relieved.  And so proud and happy. And now so sure that following my heart was what I needed to do-even though it was a challenge. I delivered my placenta within 5 minutes or so, hardly bled at all, and was just generally in shock with the enormity of the whole experience.
I see True’s birth as perfect-not because I didn’t have anything to deal with, but because I did. Conquering my fears, my demons from the whole entire last year was the theme of my life-of this birth. There was no was of escaping it, or knowing how it would play out, exactly. But it was there, and I am that much braver and more confident and trusting on the other side. That I am truly powerful; that I can do anything. That I know what I believe about birth.
True’s birth has given me a whole new confidence; after 5 kids I didn’t think myself unconfident, but I’ve been shown how much farther there is to go. I am complete trust, in complete trust of this tiny person that has shown me. Experiencing True’s labor and birth has been a profound teaching gift for me. We needed to do it the way we did; and not a smidge different or a moment sooner or later. It was the most PERFECT birth; in so many ways, much more sophisticated with it’s teachings than anything else I have experienced. With it came peace about the rest of my life right now; that I know who I am, what I want and where I am going. I know what I believe and birth and the women I serve. I know where I belong and where I do not belong. And for this, I thank this babe.

I hope you enjoyed this beautiful birth story just as much as I did. Read the intro to the story and watch the video on the birth stories page of Indie Birth.

childbirth education, podcasts
Click here for more information!
Maryn Leister is the founder of Indie Birth Association, dedicated to serving mothers and babies and supporting empowering birth experiences.  She is a Pastoral Medical Provider and author of Taking Back Birth, podcasts. 

Monday, November 4, 2013

Birth In Crisis

Why is this statement so profound, so true? 

Does birth really matter? 

Does it have a lasting effect on a mother? 

Even on their relationship? 

Yes, the answer to all of those questions is a resounding yes.

PTSD is a relatively new diagnosis; criteria for diagnosis include death or threatened death, actual or threatened serious injury, actually or threatened sexual assault. Birth trauma occurs when the event can be defined as sudden, dangerous, or overwhelming; frequently birth can become all of these things. This trauma affects her day to day life, including but not limited to how she feels about herself, bonding with her baby, arousal and reactive behavior and her interactions with others, including baby. One mother has said,
The first 5 months of my baby’s life (before I got help) are virtually blank. I dutifully nursed him every 2-3 hours on demand, but I rarely made eye contact with him and dumped him in his crib as soon as I was done. I thought that if it were not for breastfeeding, I could go the whole day without interacting with him at all.
 Some offsetting factors for birth trauma include but are not limited to, perceived level of care and the amount of power and control one feels.  In our culture it is not uncommon extensive amounts of intervention to be pressed upon women while they labor. One earlier criterion of PTSD is that the event in question must be outside of the normal realm of life events; the routine care implemented and interventions in place to supersede the natural birth process, it may not be an excessive reach to deem birth outside the normal realm of life events.  With all of this in mind, today’s birth looks far more at risk than empowering.  Care providers are the ones too often taking  control of the birth process, opening up the possibility for traumatic experiences where women report feeling “dehumanized” and “disrespected” as well as sexually assaulted in some cases.

Sexual trauma in birth is usually perceived as rape. There are cases reported in which women have declined a vaginal exam, or internal fetal monitor and were not respected; an exam was forced leaving a woman feeling not only sexually violated but powerless over her situation. Another form of birth rape happens when health care providers perform rough and painful vaginal exams, often for the purpose of stripping a woman’s membranes, stretching her cervix or even breaking her waters, most all without consent.  Women who felt sexually traumatized during birth often elicit hypervigilance and report difficulty in arousal within their relationships.  At a time when women are most vulnerable, they are being taken advantage of and the effects are lasting.

Doulas provide continuous, compassionate care for women and can aid in giving a woman her voice in the birthing room, empowering her in her birth resulting in a safer and more satisfying birth experience. A midwifery model of care is usually less medically oriented with a health care provider “walking beside” a woman rather than in front of her. With both of these birth options, families have a better understanding birth and are included in the choices being made. Currently, in the United States, midwives are attending a mere 8% of births and doulas only 3% of births, 45.5% of women are reporting a traumatic birth. 9% of those mothers in the United States meet the diagnosis for PTSD and 18% score above the cutoff for PTS according to Listening to Mothers II.  

Why such a high rate in trauma? It is interesting to note that the United States has the highest maternal health care costs in the world and ranks 40th in maternal mortality. When compared to the United Kingdom, where a midwife model of care is practiced and birth is more commonly happing in the home, PTSD is cited in 1.2% of births and 9% of mothers consider their birth traumatic. Is birth itself traumatic? It can be; things happen that are outside of our control, sometimes disastrous things. In these circumstances a mother’s perceived level of care and amount of power or control she has will play into her perception of the experience. Doula support of the midwifery model of care, implying a woman being cared for by someone she trusts, whom she has built a relationship with, being nurtured and treated with dignity and respect can lesson her risk for a traumatic birth. A doula brings an exceptional role of balance to help prevent birth trauma by helping a woman to understand what choices she has, find information to make decisions and be empowered in her birth experience no matter what arises. A doula provides a safety net of sorts to soften the medical model of care we have grown accustomed to in the United States. Currently, women are saying
I had little control over the course of my labor since my water broke before it began. The worse thing is that I feel that the induction and subsequent drugs and cesarean were a greater risk to the health of my baby than the risk of infection from a broken amniotic sac.  I think they use Pitocin to hurry up your labor so the doctor/staff can get done.
Both of these statements reflect of lack of perceived care and control over one’s situation.

By allowing a woman power over a situation and continuous, more compassionate care, preferably with less unnecessary medical interventions, we could lessen birth trauma. Would crises still arise on occasion? Yes. But they could be handled while maintaining a woman’s autonomy.

Tuesday, October 29, 2013

Postpartum Health: Benefits of the Placenta {A Birth Circle Topic}

Historically, midwives knew the placenta could be used to stop a postpartum hemorrhage when a small piece was cut off and placed in the mother's cheek, but the benefits of placentophagia, or consuming your placenta, extend far beyond that!

Encapsulation is on the rise with the placenta capsules giving you a consistent flow of oxytocin, making you feel good and encouraging your uterus to return to its normal size. Many studies have been published but for North America this is still a fairly new concept; that being said, with the many potential benefits and no negative side affects, why not?

Many mothers report a shorter period of lochia as well as increased energy. The placenta is rich in iron, which replenishes your blood, may regulate your hormones and along with B vitamins found in the placenta, boosts your energy, all of this preventing or lessening the risk of postpartum depression or 'baby blues'. Also found in the placenta are hormones made by you, for you, including cortisone, interferon, prostaglandins, hemoglobin, prolactin, Urokinate inhibiting factor and factor XIII, and of course, oxytocin.

As mentioned, oxytocin is a 'feel good' hormone- creating feelings of bonding, happiness and pain relief- but what are all of those other hormones?!

Cotrisone combats stress and unlocks energy stores in the body.
Interferon stimulates the immune system to fight off infections!
Prostaglandins act as an anti-inflammatory. Hemoglobin replenishes iron.
Urokinase inhibiting factor and factor XIII lessen bleeding and promote faster healing!
Proclactin stimulates milk production. The placenta also provides the mother with hPL hormone, Human Placental Lactogen, which helps establish early and healthy milk supply.

And for more about the placenta encapsulation and lactation, click below:
Image courtesy of MotherChi.
Click to read 'The Complementary Relationship Between Placentophagia and Lactation'
The placenta can be prepared via the raw method- meaning it is prepped and dehydrated to preserve the enzymes, it is then ground up and placed in capsules.

The Traditional Chinese Method- the placenta is steamed, often with complementing herbs, and then dehydrated, ground and encapsulated.

You can also make a piece of your placenta into a smoothie for immediate benefit or into a tincture for very long lasting benefits.

Interested in placenta preparation for yourself? Click on the link and contact me for more info!

And share your experiences with placentophagia here!

Other Birth Circle Topics:

Tuesday, October 15, 2013

Still A Birthday

October 15th is baby loss remembrance. Take time to not only say 'goodbye' but also say 'hello' and make those precious memories. I encourage you to participate in the Wave of Light at 7pm, in loving memory. Each beautiful baby is loved and remembered and mourned. If you are mourning a baby, find comfort from those who understand a pregnancy loss is still a loss. 

Baby Loss Remembrance

Tuesday, October 8, 2013

Homeoprophylaxis {A Birth Circle Topic}

Laura Kenndy, NMD is our guest blogger and presenter for YC Birth Circle. 
September's topic was :: Homeoprophylaxis ::

Dr. Kennedy writes,

We are researching Homeoprophylaxis (HP) as an alternative to the current vaccination practice. The goal of HP is to stimulate the immune system is such a way that it knows how to get sick and how to recover. HP does this using nosodes, which are the viruses and only the viruses in a very diluted form which is given as a pellet under the tongue.
The current vaccination schedule introduces 14 diseases in 36 doses in the first year of life and 16 diseases in 69 doses from birth to 18 years of age. MMR and DTaP introduce 3 diseases at one time. 
We know that an infant under the age of 1 year has not developed an immune system capable of producing antibodies. In addition, the vaccines contain additives, adjuvants and use an attenuation process that further exposes this immature immune system to foreign substances and could set the stage for behavioral problems, auto-immune diseases, digestive disorders and chronic illnesses. 
Our research goal is to demonstrate an effective immune response as is evidenced by an improvement in all parameters of health. I encourage every parent to read The Solution, Homeoprophylaxis: The Vaccine Alternative by Kate Birch and Cilla Whatcott. 
The ISBN is 9781480001916 and it is available on

If you are interested in being part of this study or learning more about Homeoprophylaxis,
please contact Dr. Kennedy or another accredited homeopathic supervisor. 

Other Birth Circle Topics:

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Thursday, September 26, 2013


While I feel that the idea behind the Advocated 4 Survivors of Sexual Abuse committee and training session is a wonderful one, attention also needs to be paid to what women are being taught about labor and birth. Read the article below for the details:

In Say What You Mean, I discuss the power of semantics. So where does this paradigm begin? With what women are being taught about childbirth! It begins in pop culture. It begins in the grocery isle line. It begins in the hospital far more than it begins at home.

I'm not sure if these are the author's words or from the hospital/staff, but the article states,
The young mother-to-be screamed and tried to jump off the bed when doctors performed the frequent internal exams required during labor.
 Internal exams are NOT required for labor. It is her body and she doesn't need someone's estimated measurement of her cervix to tell her when to push; she'll know. Furthermore, a cervical exam can only tell a person a small bit about what's going on with a woman's labor; there are many other intricacies at play and she is best left alone.

An article in Midwifery Today states, "What a contraction is doing is always ahead of what a cervix is telling." 

Women are frequently inclined to ask "what am I at?" "How much more to go?" This is a sign of working from the head, when in labor it is best to be within ourselves, allowing our bodies and babies to work together in this intimate dance. 

A good care provider will stand from afar and observe the woman in labor and allow her body, actions, sounds and urges to tell when it is time to push, not the measure of her cervix.

Cervical exams can actually hinder labor, especially in a "patient" who has been sexually abused. In the article this is noted, so why should the chance of labor stalling be increased and the mother feel assaulted? This should not be and that is why any woman can decline cervical exams and probably should do so.

It is also stated in the article
Logically you know it's for the baby, but when you're assaulted and violated so many times, it's not a feeling you want to be feeling,
she said. referring to a survivor. 

Where did this woman learn this concept? Especially being a survivor I would hope that her care provider would provide her with more education to know that there are actually more risks associated with cervical checks, such as maternal infection, and no known benefits to mother or baby, and help her learn to turn inward, trusting her body. More often than not, a survivor will prefer to labor with an epidural because the pains of labor can be overwhelming; even with this intervention, it would most benefit the mother if she gave consent to exams and they were not done so routinely. As you may understand by now, routine exams are not in best interest of the mother according to Western Journal of Medicine.

What is your experience with vaginal exams?

Thursday, September 19, 2013

AKA Transformation

A professor of mine recently asked us to explore transitional states of change~

Why Sal, I'm so glad you asked. A very challenging transitional state of change for many women that classifies them as a "person at risk" would be pregnancy and birth. At risk for what you may ask?  Well, having a baby, of course.

growing their family. hospital policies. the joy of birth. birth trauma. interventions. confusion. trials of patience. a new relationship. a breastfeeding relationship. transformation.
A "person at risk" -in the birth sense- aka a person in need of love, support and empowerment.

Thursday, September 12, 2013

Unplanned Unassisted {via Banned From Babyshowers}

Banned From Baby Showers: Indiana Couple Gives Birth in Their Bathroom -- ON ACCIDENT! (It's a Better News Story When it's Not Planned)

Donna Ryan, author of Banned From Baby Showers presents a great alternative title for "Emergency Childbirth"; as you might remember from another recent post of mine, semantics are incredibly powerful!

My favorite part of her post is her commentary on the response of the OB
that he'd never seen a baby born in "this good of shape born outside of the hospital".  He/she must have some magical powers to make babies be in "good shape" when they are born in the hospital!  Being born in the hospital does not mean that a baby will be in "better shape" than a baby born outside of the hospital. It's not a magical place.
It's a shame the shock value of this story - a shame that "it's a better news story when it's not planned" because every birth is beautiful whether it be at home, at a hospital, unassisted or attended by a professional. I would not consider an EMT one of those professionals and I cringe at the misinformation they are taught in school. My husband is on his way to becoming a firefighter and happens to be in the paramedics course this semester- let's just say that the "emergency" childbirth chapter of his school book is filled with sticky notes from me! Not only are they taught inappropriate ways to attend to an unplanned unassisted birth outside of the hospital but some of what they are taught can be down right harmful, if not at least traumatizing to the mother and un-beneficial for the baby. 

Banned From Baby Showers suggests that this couple, though they esteem this as a positive experience, may venture to opt for an induction for their next baby. I would like to hope they'll opt for a planned home birth.

Where was your baby born? Did you have an unassisted birth? Planned or unplanned?

For more information on [planned] unassisted birth visit Laura Shanley's Page 
or take an "undisturbed birth" class with Indie Birth 

Be Empowered on this Journey of Life!

Tuesday, September 10, 2013

Say What You Mean

You do not have to be induced. No matter what they say. No matter what you say. Even when medically indicated!

*Gasp* Am I proclaiming that you shouldn't get an induction when medically indicated?  No, of course not. But that's you're choice! And that is the point I am making.

I am so tired of hearing women say "I had to get induced because..." You did not HAVE to get induced! You do not HAVE to be induced!

In regards to medically indicated inductions

Please, I implore you, for the sake of birth in our society, consider your words carefully. Because how we speak, how we think, how we view birth matters; it truly, truly makes a difference for women around us and for future generations. What are we teaching our daughters and their future husbands when we say "I had to"? We are teaching them and those around us that it is not their birth, it is that of the institution. Semantics are incredibly powerful. The correct terminology in the case of your suggested medical induction would be, "My care provider recommended induction" And then, do your research or look within or pray, whatever your general go-to method is when between a rock and a hard place. It IS your choice to allow or decline your care provider's suggested induction. Take responsibility for your birth- after all, it's your body, your baby, your birth, your choice.

I urge you, to know and understand what true medical indications for induction are. Take responsibility for your choice.

Did you know: 

According to the NNEPQIN Post maturity (gestational age <41 weeks) is an elective induction.
ACOG, Mayo Clinic and American Family of Family Physicians all discourage the elective induction or scheduled cesarean for reason of a "big baby."
Childbirth Connection and Evidence Based Birth also have a lot to say about inductions.
Lamaze International says
When it comes to choosing a birthday, baby knows best.
UpToDate says
Delivery before the onset of labor is indicated when the maternal/fetal risks associated with continuing the pregnancy are thought to be greater than the maternal/fetal risks associated with early delivery
Your due date is not an expiration date 

In regards to elective inductions

The truth is, well you know what the truth is. 

I'll say it again, semantics are powerful. 

"I had to be induced because I'm overdue" means "I'm sick of being pregnant so I've decided to force my baby out because I went past my guess date"  

As I said before, your due date is not an expiration date. You have options.

Sometimes, women feel - due to family circumstances, such as spouse availability, family being in town to help after baby is born, striving to get all of that maternity leave - that they must induce. In these circumstances, please, please, understand the real hormones involved and the importance of labor. Understand, as said before, you should be choosing the lesser of two evils. It is your choice, I give you that but be responsible for it and responsible for what you say, because semantics are powerful. Did you hear me yet? Semantics are incredibly powerful; we are shaping the way our society views birth, not just now but for future generations. So please, if you've chosen an induction for convenience, stop saying "I need to be induced" because you don't! You are choosing to be induced. Furthermore, you should never feel pressured into an induction. "My care provider says I have to be induced" is not, in and of itself, a valid reason for induction. Your care provider may recommend and induction but in the end it is your choice to accept or decline. You do not have to show up! Make an informed choice that supports your birth, your body, your baby and your desires.

To induce or not to induce. That is the question. And it is just that, a question, a suggestion, an intervention. This is your Journey of Life -own it!

Did you schedule your labor or let nature decide?

Contact info

Jennifer Valencia | Labor & Postpartum Doula | 928.300.1337


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