I provide prenatal care in your home. With visits occurring monthly until 30 weeks and then every two weeks until 36 weeks, then weekly until baby arrives. At the prenatal visits I will answer any questions you may have, provide education, and work together to stay healthy and low risk. We discuss nutrition, exercise, fears and concerns and any pregnancy discomforts you may be experiencing. We will check your blood pressure and pulse, determine your baby's position, measure fundal height, check baby's heartbeat and we will get to know each other. Birth is an incredibly intimate time for a family so it's important to get to know eachother prenatally so you feel comfortable with me during your birthing time. One of the greatest benefits to having a midwife is individualized care and building a relationship so that you feel safe and comfortable. I also have a lending library of books and DVDs available. I will provide your birthing kit as well as lend you a birthing tub if you would like a water birth. I will be available and on call 24/7.
Labor and Birth
For the birth my care includes contact by phone, at which time we will discuss what is happening and keep in contact by phone. I will make recommendations and we will decide together when the right time for me to arrive at your home. My goal is to arrive with plenty of time to support you and your family, but not too early as to disturb your early laboring time. I try to respect a woman's innate need for privacy during labor. Services include midwifery care and support for labor and birth, this includes but is not limited to emotional encouragement, massage, aromatherapy, reiki (upon request), informed consent on all recommendations and checking on mom and baby to make sure everyone is doing well. This is your birth and you get to do it however YOU want! I am just a guide to help you on your journey to motherhood.
The postpartum period is such a special time for a family, I will work with you to help hold this space to make sure this time is protected. I also include a postpartum package for mama and baby, to help you renew, heal and relax. After the birth I will stay for at least two hours post partum, or longer if needed. We will perform a newborn exam, assess breastfeeding and provide lactation support, check for any repairs needed and make sure all vital signs have returned to normal and assess bleeding. We will not leave until the family is doing great and all snuggled up together in bed. Postpartum care includes at least three visits but can be more if needed. I will come back the day after the birth to check on everyone and then within one week and at 6 weeks. I will also be available by phone, email or text during this time to answer any questions that may arise.
I am a Reiki practitioner and provide this service prenatally and during labor, upon request.
Reiki is made of two Japanese words Rei meaning "god's wisdom or the higher power" and Ki meaning "life force energy". Basically Reiki is a ancient traditional healing method using energy to reduce stress and promote healing. Reiki is a very simple way of helping your body to heal itself, which it wants to do. It uses a practice called palm healing or hands on healing. It is extremely relaxing and meditative. Reiki is not associated with any religion but is a spiritual connection. Reiki is growing, as of 2007 15% of American hospitals offered Reiki as a hospital service. Nurses and doctors report that Reiki reduces stress, decreases the amount of pain medication required, improves sleep and appetite, and accelerates the healing process. I have been a Reiki practitioner since 2012 and find it to be an effective, safe healing method.
Umbilical Cord Burning
I practice delayed cord cutting. The baby leaves 1/3 of its blood in the placenta which needs to then be pumped into the baby after birth. After all of the blood has transferred out of the placenta to the baby you have the option of how you will sever the umbilical cord. I offer umbilical cord burning as an option. We have access to sterile scissors and clean environments so we have a choice on how the umbilical cord is severed. In third world countries where tetanus is a concern, cord burning is a safe alternative to unsterile scissors. Some families in the U.S. choose cord burning as a gentle ritual. It allows for two people in the family to be involved in the burning and is a sweet moment for the family. Cutting the cord is like cutting hair, it doesn't hurt the baby but they always cry when it gets cut. They sense the separation. Babies don't seem to cry as much when the cord is burned off rather than cut. Another advantage is no plastic clip tied to the end of the cord. I have a cord burning box and candles if you desire.
For more information on cord burning:
One of my beautiful families had a rough birth. Baby's heart tones went down dramatically and consistently right before pushing and when her waters released we witnessed quite a lot of meconium. Meconium by itself is not a reason for transport. Meconium with consistently lowered heart tones is a sign of MAS (meconium aspiration syndrome), this baby girl did have MAS. She was transported and ended up being born in the ambulance. The paramedic was wonderful and allowed me to continue care in the ambulance and I was allowed to help catch the baby, resolve a minor shoulder dystocia and help to provide resuscitation to baby! This is quite unusual. Lets just say a lot of emergency support will arrive at a home birth and not understand and be kind of hostile, wondering out loud what kind of witchcraft is going on here hehe. We were so fortunate. When I asked if I could go his response was "I want you to". He later told me he had caught 14 babies in the field and he and his wife had all their babies at home too:)
Bradley did have to stay in the hospital for treatment for MAS but was home after a few days. It was terribly disappointing for the family to not have this baby born at home and in water, like was planned.
I recommended to the family that we do a Rebirthing Ceremony. It was such a beautiful and healing experience for the family, friends that were in attendance, and even for me. I highly recommend this for any mama whose birth didn't go as planned. It DOES matter how a baby is born, not only that the baby is healthy. There is impact to mama, baby and family (and midwife). I love this family and I am so grateful to Melissa for sharing this information publicly. I love you Melissa Lawrence James Lawrence, thank you for trusting me and for all of your support, love and openness!
Below is Melissa (the mama's) perspective on the rebirthing ceremony.
Bradley's Rebirthing Ceremony - March 13, 2017
No matter how much you plan and prepare, birth is one of the few amazing things in life that is really left up to fate. You can envision what you want and how you want things to happen and you can do everything in your capability to prepare for that but in the end you cannot control it. The mystery is part of what is so special about it.
Taylor & Jordan were born in the hospital but we used the Bradley Method and they were born free from any medical intervention. So for Bradley, we decided to have a home birth. I had acted as a doula at a friend’s home birth a few years before and I knew that’s exactly what I wanted - my baby being born quietly and peacefully in the comfort of our own home surrounded by our family and closest friends.
Her birth story didn’t go as planned. Her heart rate began to drop significantly between contractions and when our midwife, Christina, saw the amount of meconium in my water when it broke, we decided I needed to be transferred to the hospital in case the baby needed advanced breathing support when she was born. She ended up being born in the ambulance on the way to the hospital. She had to be resuscitated and ended up spending five days in the NICU. I believe all of the choices that we made, including the home birth, were for the best and brought us to the best possible outcome for my baby, but it was certainly not the beautiful, peaceful start to life that we planned for her.
Since we had such a traumatic experience with the birth, Christina recommended that we get everyone together who was there the night of her birth and do a Rebirthing Ceremony. When Bradley was about 7 weeks we had everyone over. First we all sat around in a circle and we each shared a memory from the birth that scared us as well as a memory that made us happy. Even Taylor & Jordan participated. It was really interesting to hear everyone else's perspective on the evening. It definitely brought up some mixed emotions but it also made everything fall into place and allowed me to come to peace with everything that happened.
Next we all went into the our bedroom where I was in labor. Christina prepared a beautiful bath with herbs and flower petals. We lit candles, put on peaceful music and diffused oils, and then baby and I got into the bath together. James, my friends, midwife and kids sat around next to us and we took all of the beautiful pictures we never had a chance to at the birth.
Afterwards, my family and I relaxed on our bed and Christina weighed the baby just like we would have after the birth. Christina and my friends said their good-byes and my family and I spent the rest of the night snuggling in bed just like we envisioned after the birth.
I highly recommend a ceremony like this for anyone who has had a traumatic birth experience. It allows you to create new and better memories and to come to peace with those things that we cannot control.