Mikaela’s Birth Story

One of my clients recently sent me her written birth story, and she gave me permission to post it.  I think she has a great story of thoughfully considering interventions to use along her path to a low intervention birth.  I hope you enjoy! 

I Got Stuck in the Jacuzzi, and Couldn’t Get Out, So I Had a Natural Birth!
Continue Reading…

Posted 3 years ago at 10:45 pm.

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Midwives in the Lehigh Valley

Nationwide, Certified Nurse Midwives (CNM) attend approximately 10% of all births.  In Pennsylvaina the percentage is slightly better, at about 11-12%.*  How does the Lehigh Valley stack up against this? Continue Reading…

Posted 3 years, 6 months ago at 2:21 pm.

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The Doula Scam

Rossi and Jeana were not currently in the US, they were in China, but would be moving to the US soon.  And the majority of the communication was via Rossi, rather than Jeana.  But he provided an address for their new home, and asked for suggestions on care providers.  Doula Dianne, always wanting to be helpful to an expectant couple (that is, after all, why she became a doula), suggested a hospital near to the couple’s new home, and a care provider. 

After several e-mails back and forth, the couple decided to hire Doula Dianne, and settled on a price.  Rossi told Doula Dianne that he would have his business manager send her a check, and soon she received a check, drawn on a foreign bank.  This was not unexpected, since Rossi and Jeana were not in the country.  What was unexpected was that the check was written for a figure that was significantly greater than the agreed upon fee.  Rossi reassured Doula Dianne that his business manager had just made a mistake in writing the check, and since Jeana’s due date was coming soon, he asked that Doula Dianne just cash the check, and send him a refund.

Doula Dianne was a bit skeptical, but she took what she thought were prudent actions.  She deposited the check in her bank account, and waited for it to clear before writing the refund check.  After 3 days a teller at her bank assured her that the check had cleared, so she wrote the refund check and mailed it to an address in America, where the recipient promptly cashed it.

What the teller apparently did not know was the foreign checks often take up to 2 weeks to clear, and a bank will often “clear” the check as a courtesy to their customer after only 3 days.  So while the money was appearing in Doula Dianne’s bank account, the check had not cleared yet.  Much to her horror, Doula Dianne learned after her refund check had cleared that the check had actually not cleared, and the money was deducted from her account balance.

Doula Dianne has contacted her local law enforcement offices about this scam.  In addition to the check that she already deposited, she was also sent a fake Western Union money order, so she has also contacted the post office about mail fraud.  Unfortunately I know from experience with my husband’s business being scammed with a stolen credit card that the “business” usually has to take the loss, and law enforcement will not make significant effort to pursue what they see as a “small” crime of only a few hundred dollars.  Unfortunately for Doula Dianne, that amount of money is a significant amount of her income since her family income has taken some hits in the economic downturn we’ve been through.  To be sure, most doulas find doing their taxes a bit on the depressing side as they see their expenses eating away at their income, and realize that their work is truly a labor of love that does not leave them much profit.

Unfortunately it does seem like the individual (or group) who orchestrated this scam against Doula Dianne has also been contacting other doulas with the same scenarios.  It has been discussed on the DONA Facebook page and the “All Doulas” discussion boards.

Doula Dianne would like to talk to other doulas who have been victims of this same scam.  You can get her contact info by e-mailing me at jenn@knittedinthewomb.com .  While I hope on the one hand that not many of you have need to contact me, on the other hand I hope that enough of you have been scammed by this same individual (or group) that a law enforcement agency might take seriously the idea of pursuing this crime.

Posted 3 years, 6 months ago at 11:19 pm.

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2009 Cesarean Statistics: What’s Happening in the Lehigh Valley (1 of 4)

Early in my career in childbirth, I could expect to see the previous year’s release of “vital” birth statistics show up on the PA Department of Health website by July or August. In past years for some reason the release of this data has gotten slower and slower. You may recall that the data for 2008 was released just before Christmas 2009.

Well the 2009 data was not quite so prompt. I waited for it not so patiently. I finally decided about 2 weeks ago while looking for the data late in the evening that I would call the Department of Health–but obviously I couldn’t call right then. When I did call, I was told that it was just put on the website the previous day. Amazingly, it had been—I just had kept the webpage open on my computer for several days before I remembered to call, and had not refreshed it. I did ask the representative I spoke with why it was taking so long to publish data, and all she could tell me was what I was told a few years ago—“improvements” with the birth certificate in 2003 have changed how data is collected. Hmmm…interesting “improvements.”

Well, with no further ado, here is the beginning of my evaluation of the 2009 data. Continue Reading…

Posted 3 years, 7 months ago at 2:44 am.

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In the News: Prescription Pain Meds in Pregnancy May Cause Birth Defects

Today USA Today carried a report that the CDC has announced that certain prescription pain killers, when taken just prior to pregnancy, or during the first trimester, may double the risk of congenital heart defects in the infant.  These heart defects are often fatal in the first year of life, and if they aren’t fatal, they usually require many expensive surgeries to correct, and of course much pain and suffering for the infant.

However, the study authors noted that the risk from prescription painkillers in any one pregnancy is small.

“It’s important to acknowledge that although there is an increased risk for some types of major birth defects from an exposure to opioid analgesics, that absolute risk for any individual woman is relatively modest,” lead author Cheryl S. Broussard, of CDC’s National Center on Birth Defects and Developmental Disabilities, said in the news release.

In other words… Continue Reading…

Posted 3 years, 8 months ago at 9:33 pm.

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Speaking of “Rites of Passage”

The Birth Activist recently wrote about restrictions of food and fluids for laboring and women, and how Robbie Davis-Floyd has written about this phenomenon as a “rite of passage.”  The Birth Activist highlighted a recent Cochrane Review that found that food/fluid restrictions in labor are unnecessary, something I agree with whole heartedly, having eatten a VERY large breakfast more than 12 hours after contractions had started in my first labor.  She then points out that Robbie Davis-Floyd has long identified the ban on eating/drinking in labor as a “rite of passage.”

Speaking of “rites of passage,” what is with making the dad put on scrubs before he can go with his wife to the OR? She wears the same hospital gown into the OR that she’s been wearing for hours in labor…but he needs to put on scrubs. As a doula, when I’m allowed to go in, I’m given a set of hospital scrubs to put on…even though I’m already wearing my own scrubs. I’ve never argued it because it just doesn’t seem worth the ill will…but really, what is the point?

I understand why the medical staff wear scrubs– Continue Reading…

Posted 4 years, 8 months ago at 12:46 am.

5 comments

Your OB (or midwife) still does WHAT? (Pitocin Rate)

Janelle over at the Birth Sense blog is rapidly becoming one of my favorite blogs because of her very well written posts that include references to current research findings.  Using one of my comments as a spring board for a post made my day today, because once again, she has provided references to current research that is of use to laboring women.

Janelle writes:

Over the 28 years I’ve been a labor nurse and then a midwife, I’ve seen Continue Reading…

Posted 4 years, 9 months ago at 6:02 pm.

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Children vs. The Marriage

I am a fan of The Generous Wife, a Christian website that sends out a daily e-mail to women with tips on ways to improve their marriage.

But today’s tip was one of those that I disagree with.  Passionately.  So much so, that I’m pulling out a blog post that I wrote 5 years ago this month, and with a few minor modifications, I’m reposting it.  So without further ado…from the archives… Continue Reading…

Posted 4 years, 10 months ago at 12:10 pm.

21 comments

Movie Review: Pregnant in America

As a doula, childbirth educator, and low intervention birth advocate, I had looked forward to the release of this movie with high hopes.

The film style was clearly directly copied from Michael Moore’s style without any attempt to express this filmmaker’s own style. Mr. Buonaugurio has passion, and he is right that many people are left in the dark when it comes to childbirth practices in America.   But he offered very little in the way of HOPE for people. Continue Reading…

Posted 4 years, 10 months ago at 12:44 am.

1 comment

2008 Cesarean Statistics in PA: Primary Cesarean Rates (4 of 4)

In all the flurry about VBAC access and VBAC bans, sometimes the “primary” cesarean rate can get lost in the shuffle.  I think the primary cesarean rate is the most misunderstood of all the cesarean statistics.  I see the media mis-define it over and over, and even occassionally I see medical professionals misdefine it.

And yet, because a primary cesarean, is, by definition, the first cesarean a woman has, it may be, perhaps, her most important.  Because it is the one that forever labels her as high risk in future pregnancies.  As Joy Szabo and many women like her have found, having a vaginal birth after the cesarean, even having multiple vaginal births in ones history, does not erase the scarlet letter that a woman “earns” when she has that primary cesarean. Continue Reading…

Posted 4 years, 10 months ago at 11:30 pm.

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