Beautiful VBAC Homebirth Video

The kiss at minute seven is more than I can take. The love between this couple has a radius so big, you can’t help but fall in love. I am so happy that folks are brave enough to share these amazing images with the world so we can all see the beauty of birth. I feel privileged to be part of this awesome, sensual & intimate moment in time as a stranger peeking in to take a view. (Another awesome birth with my Midwife Kelli Johnson, btw.)

Creatively Financing Your Home Birth | Central Florida Green Guide

Some great ideas in this article. Below is an excerpt that I think puts this event in perspective. Ladies so much care into planning their wedding day, but act like a child’s birth is just happening to them and it’s beyond them to actually craft it into a sacred homecoming. Of course, you can get hitched at the courthouse, like you can give birth at a hospital, but something a bit more custom crafted for our individual personalities is a good thing.

“According to the “American Weddings” study conducted by The Fairchild Bridal Group in 2005, it was $26,327with an average planning time of 1 year.  So much goes into planning this one very special wedding day, but when we become pregnant, all of a sudden we are okay with paying our $15.00 co-pay and take what we are handed at the hospital without question. Many do not even spend time choosing their doctors, opting to go with their old stand by GYN, or pick randomly from an insurance provider list to save money.”

I would add to the article that if you make less than 24,000 a year, your homebirth would be covered 100% by the state of Florida medicaid program.

Read article in full here: Creatively Financing Your Home Birth « Central Florida Green Guide.

10 Centimeters

Exploring the Sacred Art of Giving Birth

Written by Julie Norris | Photos by Cristy Nielsen

Exploring the Sacred Art of Giving Birth

Photo By Cristy Nielsen

Ten centimeters — the golden labor measurement. Being informed and believing in your body’s natural ability are the first steps toward exploring the many approaches that offer a kind and gentle experience into motherhood. Documentaries such as Ricki Lake’s The Business of Being Born and the almost unbelievable Orgasmic Birth have left many women questioning the status quo and pressing for more information on the nature of giving birth. We’re lucky to live in an area with a full spectrum of well-established care options and an advocacy community for some of the lesser-known alternatives. Here’s a local guide to empower you to choose the best path to get you to your 10 centimeters.

[Read the full article in the Spring 2010  Edition of PLAYGROUND Magazine. Found around town as well.]

NYT: Lessons at Indian Hospital About Births

Wow, the New York Times…awesome!

“The Tuba City Regional Health Care Corporation is different. Its hospital, run by the Navajo Nation and financed partly by the Indian Health Service, prides itself on having a higher than average rate of vaginal births among women with a prior Caesarean, and a lower Caesarean rate over all.

As Washington debates health care, this small hospital in a dusty desert town on an Indian reservation, showing its age and struggling to make ends meet, somehow manages to outperform richer, more prestigious institutions when it comes to keeping Caesarean rates down, which saves money and is better for many mothers and infants.”

Read the Full Article here: http://www.nytimes.com/2010/03/07/health/07birth.html

Reducing Infant Mortality

Listen to Obstetricians, Doulas, Neonatologists, Midwives, Psychologists, Pediatricians, and other Physicians explain how our health care system is failing babies and mothers and what we can do about it. This is a great short featuring Orlando’s own Jennie Joseph.

Watch the full video here: www.reducinginfantmortality.com

About the Film:
The current US Health Care System is failing babies and families before, during and after birth. At this critical moment when the US government is re-envisioning our health care system, we are seizing the opportunity to make a 10-12 minute video not only to point out the flaws in the way we care for babies and families, but also to identify the keys to improved care. Our infant mortality ranking is 42nd on the world stage which means 41 countries have better statistics. This places us right in the middle of the following countries: Guam, Cuba, Croatia and Belarus, with over double the infant deaths compared to the top 10 countries of the world. (CIA World Factbook).

Our astronomically high African American infant mortality rate at 16 deaths per 1,000 is similar to countries such as Malaysia and the West Bank. Not only are babies dying needlessly, but the ones who survive this failing system are also often adversely affected by unnecessary procedures and separation from mother and family. Our intent with this video is to encourage policy makers to consider a health care system that holds prevention of these calamities as a high priority. The midwifery model of care for healthy low-risk women is a simple solution which addresses many of these issues simultaneously.

We are advocating for a health care system in which it will be standard procedure for mothers and babies to thrive and not merely survive through birth and early life. The midwifery model of care will save our health care system millions of dollars each year.

Midwife Kelli Johnson

photo by Cristy Nielsen

photo by Cristy Nielsen

I just got home from my six week follow up appointment with my midwife, whom I now count amongst my sisters, Kelli Johnson. She looked radiant from her recent trip to Peru and it was nice catching up. As I sat there I realized I’ve been missing her – we met weekly leading up to the pregnancy and she came by several times after Maya was born, once with two dozen beautiful roses for us. I didn’t want to leave the familiarity of her daybed and got my first taste of sadness since birthing my baby girl as I realized I wouldn’t get to visit with her on a regular basis anymore. Total bummer.

photo by Cristy Nielsen

photo by Cristy Nielsen

I have no idea if other midwives structure their services the way Kelli does, but I am so grateful for her experience in taking care of mama’s to be – the love, respect and faith she had in me and for me was a huge contributing factor to my sense of security, empowerment and, ultimately, my magnificent birth experience. I’ve joked that she didn’t even get her hands wet during the actual delivery – she did one better and let me catch my own baby knowing everything was going splendidly – but her role as midwife was not solely about catching the baby. She was my guide throughout pregnancy, during the birth, in the intense weeks postpartum and most likely in various ways in the months and years to come.

Kelli took meticulous care of the medical aspects of the process and her scientific explanations were very detailed yet understandable whenever I had a question. By the time the birth came around, I had full trust in her ability to get Maya safely into this world even if complications arose, as she would know when to transfer me if need be. This was an essential aspect of care that was firmly in place, but it’s the other care, the one to my spirit and emotions that nourished and empowered me so that I could enter my birthing time with no fear.

One thing that she emphasized early and often, was the sacredness of the birthing & bonding time. You can see from the love on her face in these photos that she is a born baby greeter – she was able to maintain a sense of calm, peace and radiated love throughout my labor and afterwards, even though she had been awake for 36 hours or more!

photo by Cristy Nielsen

photo by Cristy Nielsen

Through her practice, I’ve also joined a community of families all linked by Kelli’s capable hands, and I get to join them this month at her annual Baby-Q held at her house, dubbed the Johnson manor. I am so glad for this, as on the drive home I was already thinking of excuses to return back to her cozy home office. I need to get everything ordered – financial stability, find a loving man & get hitched, breathe more room in my career – all in preparation for another baby so I can get back to Kelli’s care!