|October 22, 2014|
Volume 16, Issue 22
|Midwifery Today E-News|
“First Hour after Birth”
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In This Week’s Issue
Join us in Australia
Attend “Promoting Midwifery: Skills from Around the World” in Byron Bay, Australia, this November. You’ll be able to learn from a great line-up of teachers including Robbie Davis-Floyd (pictured), Gail Tully, Sister MorningStar, Sarah Buckley, Carol Gautschi and Gail Tully. Planned sessions include Emergency Management of Breech Birth, Shoulder Dystocia and “Malpresentations” as well as a two-day Midwifery Issues and Skills class.
Join us in Eugene in 2015
Plan now to attend our conference in Eugene, Oregon, next March. You’ll be able to learn from teachers such as Elizabeth Davis, Robbie Davis-Floyd, Gail Hart, Fernando Molina, Sister MorningStar and Michel Odent. Choose from a wide variety of classes including full-day classes on Midwifery Skills, Breech Birth and Essential Oils.
Quote of the Week
Sometimes, the smallest things take up the most room in your heart.
— Winnie the Pooh
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The Art of Midwifery
The fourth stage of labor, the time after the baby has been born (second stage) and after the placenta is safely delivered (third stage) has been defined medically as one to two hours postpartum. Culturally, I define it as the first 42 days following childbirth. I believe the fourth stage never really ends, as a postpartum woman is forever transformed by the significant rite of passage of childbirth.
ALL BIRTH PRACTITIONERS: The techniques you’ve perfected over months and years of practice are valuable lessons for others to learn. Share them with E-News readers by sending them to email@example.com.
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The First Hour after Birth
When you gave birth, what was that first hour with your newborn like? Was the time gentle and undisturbed? Did your baby come right to you, skin-to-skin with delayed cord clamping? Was your baby able to receive the microorganisms that come from your body to give him a solid foundation for a healthy life?
I had my first baby in the hospital and though they had rooming-in, I didn’t see her for hours. I am now left wondering what they did with my baby in that first crucial hour of her life. I wonder if she was as lonely as I was. It may have been the worst hour of my life.
My second baby girl was born at home in our bed and she went skin-to-skin with me right away. I don’t remember if her cord was cut immediately as it was 38 years ago—my doctor only did a few homebirths and this was one of them. I know my baby got to be with me; she didn’t leave my arms and that gave me a birth high that lasted years. This was a great birth and a great first hour after birth!
Baby number three, my son, was born at home before my partner midwives arrived. He came right into my arms with no immediate cord cutting; no one was there except my husband and me and our youngest daughter, who was not quite four years old. Her older sister was at a neighbor’s house and this baby came too fast to get her home. The midwives got there about 10 minutes after he was born and there was way too much talking. They were excited probably because they had missed the birth. It was, however, too much talking in that decisive first hour. I really think we as midwives need to respect that first hour. Carla Hartley says, “No hatting, chatting or patting.” I so agree.
— Jan Tritten, mother of Midwifery Today
Jan Tritten is the founder, editor-in-chief and mother of Midwifery Today magazine. She became a midwife in 1977 after the amazing homebirth of her second daughter. Her mission is to make loving midwifery care the norm for birthing women and their babies throughout the world. Meet Jan at our conferences around the world, or join her online, as she works to transform birth practices around the world.
We are going back to Bad Wildbad, Germany, for a Midwifery Today conference 21–25 October 2015. All of us teachers are excited about this because we have many wonderful plans for this event. It is lovely to go back to this amazing place because we always receive such a hardy welcome from the town. One time we were there, the cake shop even baked a cake with the Midwifery Today logo on it! (See a photo here.) The local spas are such a joy to visit; there are many different pools with varying temperatures, and there is even a sauna that smells like mint!
We like to go to Germany every other year, but it will have been three years since we were there—they’ve even remodeled the building we use.
We are nearly done with the Germany program and we are so excited about the line-up of teachers and classes. Some of our teachers include Angelina Martinez Miranda from Mexico, Elizabeth Davis, Debra Pascali-Bonaro, Gail Hart, Gail Tully, Carol Gautschi, Fernando Molina, Sister MorningStar, Lisa Goldstein, Michel Odent, Cornelia Enning, Peter Schmitz and Ursula Jahn-Zoehrens. There will be a great selection of clinical classes as well as some new subjects, such as Magical Beginnings and Village Prenatals. Please mark your calendar and join us if you can.
— Jan Tritten
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Let Time Stand Still: Bonding with Your Baby
I’ve heard it said about different momma animals that if you take their baby away immediately after birth and then try to reintroduce the newborn later, the momma animal will reject her newborn and refuse to care for it. The disruption in the bonding time results in disastrous outcomes.
When my first daughter was born, I remember lying on a hospital bed in a dark corner of the hospital room with a tray of hospital food in front of me. I looked across the room and tried to watch as my husband and mother bathed my little LilyAnn for the first time. Unfortunately, I couldn’t see LilyAnn, but I still had a smile on my face thinking, “My husband and mom are bathing my daughter! She is finally here and they are having a wonderful moment together.” I then looked back down at my hospital tray wanting to eat something since there was so much food in front of me, but unable to decide what to try. My heart was full as I sat in that dark corner with my tray of food.
When we finally left the hospital, my husband carried LilyAnn over the threshold of our house—she was home. Nursing was a bit of a challenge at first, but we got the hang of it, and since my labor and delivery had been drug-free, I recovered quickly and easily. Things were going pretty smoothly, that is until the nighttime cries began.
I remember thinking that LilyAnn was much more of a daddy’s girl—he was the one who would comfort her when she cried while I had a hard time listening to her shrill pitches. I can remember feeling like my nerves were being stretched further than they ever had—way further. LilyAnn didn’t really like snuggling with me, and I ended up feeling like I was just a milk machine to her. When I nursed her I got to hold her, but compared with her dad, I felt like chopped liver. I was thankful that the two of them had a special bond, though. It was evident that my husband was an amazing father and I felt truly blessed that I wasn’t doing everything on my own.
I became pregnant with baby number two about two and a half years later. We were overjoyed and found out about the pregnancy the night before Mother’s Day 2008. LilyAnn was going to be a big sister!
With this mystery baby, we decided on a homebirth. I had a feeling the baby was a boy, but during the whole pregnancy LilyAnn was convinced she was going to have a baby sister. I never had an ultrasound, so it wasn’t until January 23, 2009, that we all found out LilyAnn was right—Adalyn Jane came out and ended the mystery.
By this time, LilyAnn had become Mommy’s big helper. Throughout the days of pregnancy she would “tuck me in” on the couch (I would often fall asleep for a bit!). Even during labor she was very attentive to me; she would come upstairs and during a contraction say, “It’s okay, Momma—you can do it. It’s okay!” After an intense all-night labor, and 11 days past her due-date, Adalyn came out covered in vernix at 7:21 am. That’s when time stood still.
All four of us, plus my mom who had flown out to help with the birth, hung out on the bed the whole morning. Nobody was worried about bathing, weighing, or even cutting the cord. Adalyn stayed attached to her placenta for a full 45 minutes! All we were concerned about was loving Adalyn Jane.
I remember waking up in the nights to Adalyn’s cries. Instead of feeling my nerves stretched, I would experience joy and smile as I said, “I’m coming, Honey!” I didn’t ever resent being woken up—I was exhausted, but it was a happy tired. From what I have read and experienced, my conclusion is this: the time immediately after birth is enormously important for bonding and when it is honored, the process of becoming a mother becomes an easier one.
Read this article excerpt from Midwifery Today magazine, now on our website:
Q: What do you think is the most important thing for a midwife or doula to be doing in the first hour after birth?
— Midwifery Today
A: Remaining as invisible as possible while still keeping an eye on the situation. This is the time the family should bond.
— Debbie Pulley
A: Stay quiet and out of the way and give the new family time together.
— Sally Kelly
A: I love this part of birth—watching and witnessing the mom (and partner) meet their new baby. I’m alert for any signs of fourth stage complications while trying my best to stay a quiet presence in the background. It’s a good time for paperwork.
— Amy Sjaarda
A: Holding sacred space. Quietly keeping watch on the health and well-being of motherbaby, while being as invisible as possible and protecting the family’s birth bubble.
— Robin Lim
A: The most important thing you can do in that very first hour is hold that space for the new family; they never get those moments back.
— Angie Lindstedt-Knutson
A: First, make sure baby is breathing. Second, make sure mom’s not hemorrhaging. Third, leave them alone!
— Marlene Waechter
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