Open Your Window
Open the Window
Abre la ventana.
Feel the wind.
Smell the newly blooming buds of spring.
Know that changes are coming.
Feel them stir within you.
You fight it, the opening.
It is you. It comes from you,
but you think it comes at you.
You fear it and love it and lose yourself in it,
until at last you simply give in to it.
It fills you and consumes you,
until finally you become it.
Rejoicing in its overwhelming ecstasy,
you open yourself to this new realm.
Where power collides with vulnerability…
Where souls emerge and spirits find
their true potential.
I wrote this poem awhile ago... I'm guessing sometime in 2013, and it's been decorating my homepage ever since. It's time for it to come down, but I wanted to still be able to share it with you.
Covid-19 and Homebirth
The following link has information from the CDC about Covid-19 and the Corona Virus as it pertains to Pregnancy, Breastfeeding, and caring for Newborns.
This past year and (almost) a half has been really tough. For a long time, things were, and still are in many places, feeling very out of control with the outbreak of COVID-19. Many, if not all of us are feeling a certain level of anxiety and fear about what's ahead regarding the Coronavirus. We're all having to do our best decision making as we navigate living through this pandemic. Thankfully we have vaccine options available, however it is a brand new virus with brand new vaccines that have been approved for emergency use. Because of the newness of all of this, we are learning as we go, and doing our best to stay informed with accurate and current information. A link to the CDC guidelines about COVID-19 and pregnancy and postpartum is posted above as a resource for you.
When the pandemic started, I was a home birth midwife living in California. I got a lot of phone calls about home birth from people who had never heard of homebirth or considered it as an option. When the "safer at home" orders were put into place, the phone calls increased. People were interested in avoiding the hospitals, especially pregnant people and those with newborn babies. This made a lot of sense, as hospitals have always been places where people go when they are sick. Therefore, they do tend to be hot-spots for germs. I would be incredibly excited to see different buildings for infectious disease care, so healthy pregnant folks do not need to walk through the same lobbies, or breathe the same circulated air coming through the air vents, as sick folks. (This would also be great for other folks who are not contagious but need care, such as trauma victims or especially immune compromised folks, such as people with cancer, etc.). This unfortunately has never been the set-up for hospital care in our country, and during this pandemic people did not seek the care they needed because of this set up.
In order to provide information, guidance, and advice from my area of expertise, home birth midwifery, I wanted to share more about the type of care I offer.
To current, potential, and future clients, please read the following:
Midwifery care with an out-of-hospital midwife is very different than the hospital/medical model of care. It involves a horizontal organizational structure that is based on collaborative decision making. There is no "power over" structure, and your midwife will not make decisions for you or tell you what to do. The midwifery model of care supports the idea that you are the specialist when it comes to your body and your baby.
Your midwives provide you with all of the information we can, so you are empowered to make a truly informed choice about your care. But in the end, you are responsible for making the decisions about what is right or wrong for your family. This can be an incredibly powerful experience and is often different from what most people experience in standard OB care, where you're strictly following the orders and suggestions of your doctors. This is why a lot of people choose home birth. However, some folks do not want this responsibility. It's important to consider whether you want this type of autonomy or whether you prefer to have someone else make the decisions regarding your pregnancy and birth experience.
In addition, attempting to have a home birth is not a guarantee that you will not go to the hospital. Home birth is safe for low risk pregnancies when labor and birth proceed normally. Midwives are excellent at monitoring birth and noticing when things are no longer normal. If your pregnancy, labor, or postpartum period becomes higher risk and we cannot remedy that at home, you may need to transfer to a hospital.
Home birth also means that laboring folks do not have access to pharmaceutical pain relief. It involves trust in the birth process, and minimizing interventions to allow the birth process to unfold naturally. If you want an epidural or pain medications, a home-birth is not a good option for you.
The most important thing to keep in mind when considering what birth option is right for you, is answering the question, "Do I WANT to have my baby at home?" As I stated, home birth is a safe alternative to hospital care for low risk pregnant folks who WANT a home birth. While I have been dreaming of a society where home birth is the norm, I want that to be the case because people choose home birth out of a desire for it, rather than a fear of catching COVID-19.
I hope that our current situation brings a greater awareness and appreciation for home birth. Of course, as a home birth advocate, I strongly believe that this is an excellent birthing option that should be available. That being said, I want people to come to the decision to have a home birth feeling educated, calm, and certain. Your birth hormones work best when you feel safe. Please consider that when deciding if birthing at home is the right option for you. Make sure that you fully research and understand your decision before you make it.
If you want more information, do not hesitate to schedule a consultation with myself or another home birth midwife. I'm happy to talk to you, answer your questions, help you decide if homebirth is a good option for you, and consider if I am a good fit to be your midwife.
A client gave me this recipe years ago and I recently found it. She gave me a bunch of her "Energy Balls" as she used to call them and they were delicious. They are great for labor or nursing moms as a fast and delicious way to get some quick calories in you. They can be stored at room temperature for a few days, but will keep longer if stored in the refrigerator or freezer.
In a food processor, using the S blade, process cashews until finely ground. Add dates, vanilla and sea salt and process until combined. Next add sesame seeds and coconut as well as lemon zest. Combine until you create a dough like consistency. Roll into balls or press flat in a pan and refrigerate until firm.
This is my favorite Nourishing Pregnancy Tea blend, however there are many other herbs that are wonderful during pregnancy that can help with more specific conditions during pregnancy. I have included some of those herbs at the end of this post.
Please consult with your midwife or doctor before taking this tea.
Stop taking and consult with your midwife or doctor if you have any ill side effects.
1 part Nettles
1 part Red Raspbery
½ part Alfalfa
½ part Oatstraw
½ part Chamomile
Mix all the herbs together and store in an airtight container away from heat and light.
To Brew Your Tea:
Place ¼ cup of the mixture in a quart sized jar. Add boiling water to fill the jar, cover and let steep for at least 30 minutes. Strain and enjoy!
Drink 1-4 cups daily
A little About These Ingredients:
Nettles- Contain lots and lots of vitamins and minerals including vitamins A, B C, D and K as well as protein, calcium, iron, magnesium, and potassium. Nettles can be used throughout pregnancy and they improve energy, strengthen blood vessels, reduce varicose veins, alleviate leg cramps, prevent anemia, and decrease the chances of hemorrhage after birth. It is my favorite herb for everyone, especially during pregnancy.
Red Raspberry Leaf- This herb is full of vitamins and minerals and helps to tone the uterus, and is said to make labors go faster and smoother as well as speed up the healing process afterwards. Red raspberry leaf is generally considered every pregnant woman’s best friend, although I have also met one woman who had contractions too early in pregnancy whenever she took red raspberry leaf and she needed to stop taking it in fear that it would cause miscarriage. For women who are at risk of miscarriage or who seem especially sensitive to contractions before 37 weeks pregnancy, I suggest avoiding red raspberry leaf until 36-38 weeks of pregnancy.
Alfalfa- High in protein, Vitamins A, D, E, B6 and K, calcium, iron, magnesium, phosphorus, trace minerals and digestive enzymes. Hi in chlorophyll and carotenes. Can be taken throughout pregnancy and may help prevent postpartum hemorrhage.
Oatstraw- A nerve tonic, which promotes relaxation, sound sleep and healthy muscle function, oatstraw is also good for bone-building, and an excellent source of calcium and magnesium.
Chamomile- a gentle nervine to help you relax and feel calm. It reduces tension and helps with sleep. Chamomile also improves digestion, nausea, heartburn, constipation, and it helps prevent urinary tract infections.
Make the right blend for you-
Other Herbs that can be added to your Pregnancy Tea:
Burdock Root- Mineral rich, this root also strengthens the liver while supporting urinary organs. It helps balance blood sugar, stimulate digestion and the pancreas, and it is a gentle laxative. I have read that it was originally used as a uterine tonic, and it may help to prevent herpes outbreaks.
Dandelion Leaves- Support liver and kidney function, helps regulate blood sugar and blood pressure, and aides in digestion and nausea. Dandelion leaves are a diuretic, so I suggest avoiding them at night so you don’t have to get up to pee even more often than you probably already do.
Dandelion Root- Dandelion root improves liver function which is critical during pregnancy and can help prevent preeclampsia.
Ginger- Ginger is another great way to add flavor to your tea and may help with morning sickness- too much ginger can be stimulating to the uterus, so be cautious about how strong you brew it, and how much/ how often you drink it.
Lemon Balm- This tea tastes delicious and it is a nervine, so it helps you relax and stay calm while helping with digestion. It can be added to the tea or it can replace Chamomile.
Mint- Mint is a great way to add some pleasant flavor to your tea. Mint may also help with heartburn and digestion.
Rose Hips- High in vitamin C to help with immune and circulatory systems.
Yellow Dock Root- This is a great source of absorbable iron while preventing constipation, and it supports liver function. It is best taken as a syrup for iron absorption, but adding it to your tea can also be helpful.
Ask the Midwife
Welcome to my Blog.
First off, I would like to say that I am not a blogger. I am not one to regularly sit and write to a world of people who I don’t know, about what is on my mind. With that said, I really do enjoy writing on occasion, and I may go through spurts of writing lots of blog posts followed by potentially years of silence. My posts will never be consistent. I imagine they will be more consistent the more interactive you are, so please, don't be shy--- comment and question away!
I do want to create a space where I can share some things with you, and you can in turn ask questions, address interesting topics or otherwise start conversations that others might also gain knowledge from. I don't have all the answers, but I do have a lot of information to share and I do have access to a lot of resources where I can get that information if it's not already in this big head of mine. So ask away! If I can't help you, maybe one of the other readers can! I do hope that this is a place where conversations get started and information can pass from one vagina owning person to the next, and perhaps those who love them as well.
If you would like your question to be more anonymous than what this forum offers, please feel free to email me and ask me to put your question in my forum. There's a good chance someone else has the same question, and I'd be happy to share it for you!
I will try to keep this blog relevant to midwifery: vaginal health, menarche, sex, pregnancy, birth, postpartum, babies, breastfeeding and menopause. Healthy reproduction includes healthy bodies, healthy habits, and healthy nutrition. I might include recipes, exercises, herbal remedies, etc. I also am a visual artist and may occasionally post art that I have done if it seems relevant to any of the above topics and I feel like sharing.
In addition, midwifery itself is always a political act. It shouldn’t be, but in our current socio-political climate, within our society and healthcare system, it definitely is. This blog will therefore get political at times. We may not always agree, but I welcome your input. The more we share and listen, the more we learn. The more we learn the more we grow. Change comes from growth. If we want to change the world for the better, we need to start listening to one another, learning from each other, and growing together to build the new.
The secret of change is to focus all of your energy, not on fighting the old, but on building the new. - Dan Millman