Saturday, August 29, 2009

A story to share...

I interviewed with a couple who were entertaining having a homebirth. They had seen The Business of Being Born, a documentary on homebirth produced by Ricki Lake, and were curious to meet a midwife. They were excited but worried about the money, even though I assured them I would never turn anyone away because of money.

A couple of days after the interview, the husband calls me and asks me to keep our conversation a secret. He wants to surprise his wife with the gift of a homebirth. Money is a big issue for them, but he and I agreed to terms that are acceptable to both of us. We scheduled an appointment for the next day at their house.

Remember, this is to be a surprise! When I arrived and his wife discovered his gift, she cried tears of happiness. You see, she was just about to call me to let me know she could not have a homebirth; then I arrived and informed her of her husband's gift! I must say, this gift is the biggest, most sincere act of love for a man to give his wife that I have ever witnessed. It was pure joy.

Thursday, August 27, 2009

New Q&A Forum!

Hi everyone. Just wanted to let you know that we have a new Q&A Forum available. This is a great way for you to ask me or any of the other midwives/doulas a question about anything related to midwifery, pregnancy, birth, etc. Check it out at:

The Midwives' Q&A Forum

Hope to see you there soon!

Tuesday, August 25, 2009

Letter from a recent birth...

Dear Paula,

Wow, we always felt like you were the answer to our prayers. Truly, we now know that you were after our birth. Thank you so much for your support and love.

Thank you for giving us the birth that we wished for by focusing on our family, my peace of mind, and even our spirituality. Thank you!

Much love,
The Vedollas

Friday, August 21, 2009

The Heart of Midwifery

I love the name The Heart of Midwifery. It is so much my heart. I love my work and the mommies and their families that I am blessed to know and serve. We truly become family in sharing this oh so sacred and intimate of life's events. I used to pray that God would make me His complete servant, and He has answered my prayers in a way so complete that I could not have imagined it at the time. Thank you to all of you who have chosen to honor me and trust me with guiding you on this special journey.

What is the “heart” of midwifery? It is the true commitment to service; to serving women in the time of their birth in a deep, deep way. It is putting fear and doubt aside and giving the mother time; tuning in to process her fears and doubts and to help her ready herself for the next stage of her life’s journey. It is honoring that it is her journey. It is putting myself aside to be in service to her. To love her. To fall in love with her.

Midwifery is a strong calling. It is strong both in how it pulls you in and it is strong in how it walks you. You are challenged in everything you thought you were and everything you thought you would be. It is perhaps the most difficult and the most rewarding job there is. It requires deep sacrifice and deeper giving. You stretch beyond anything you thought you were capable of. In addition, you get to witness the most divine miracle of all...BIRTH!

How blessed I am to be chosen and honored to do the work I do, to have the support of my husband and my daughters, to meet and develop relationships with the incredible women I get to work with, to witness new life and the miracle it represents, to be able to love and be loved so completely by all the lives I touch, to be His face and His hands and to witness His face and His hands so frequently.

Today I await the return of my husband and daughters from a 2 1/2 week road trip to Colorado where they went to attend a friend's wedding. I stayed behind to care for my mommies and their families. One of my partners is in the Philippines at a birth center and the other is attending the birth of her grandson. I do not feel like I am being left out...I feel I am being blessed. I am getting lots of one-on-one with my youngest daughter who stayed behind, I am supporting my partners, and I am getting some much-needed down time. In addition, the house is getting cleaned!

Monday, August 17, 2009

Our Relationship Does Not Stop After Your Birth

I am so pleased with how my wonderful daughters are developing! It is so hard to believe so much time has passed since their births. I can remember like it was today; each one is so imprinted in my consciousness. This is why I am so passionate about trying to protect the birth experience of the women I serve. You only get one chance, and there is conceivably nothing worse than regretting a birth experience. I cannot promise the outcome, but I can promise to give my heart completely to the women and their families that I serve. To do everything within my power to make them proud of their journey.

The service I provide does not stop at the birth; for how could I love so much and give so much of myself then just walk away after? We share the most intimate of experiences; you invite me to share in the most sacred of journeys. We become very deeply bonded. I am now a member of your family. Of course I want you to call me in the middle of the night when you can't sleep because your baby is too congested or miserable to nurse. Of course I want you to call me when you are lying awake wondering if you should go to the emergency room. I am honored to continue to be a resource.

Wednesday, August 5, 2009

Benefits of Homebirth

Through my months of searching, I compiled this list of many of the benefits of a homebirth. I hope it proves useful to you.

A Comfortable Environment is a Safe Environment

In the comfort of your home, you are relaxed and at ease. The midwives attending you have spent much time getting to know all about you and what will support you through the birth process. You are intimately cared for and, in this setting, many of the interventions used in the hospital are not needed; simply because the stable, comfort of your home creates an environment where you feel safe and uninhibited and this allows the flow of labor to progress naturally.

Reduced risk of Cesarean Section
You have a one in four chance of having a c-section in the hospital, compared to 1-5% at home. Cesarean section carries a greater risk of death than do vaginal deliveries.

No episiotomies
Hospital episiotomy rate is about 70-80% in North America. Episiotomies are almost always unnecessary and take longer to heal than do tears, as they penetrate through many layers of tissue. They may cause you much discomfort after labor, making it more challenging to nurse your newborn.

No pitocin

Used to induce labor, this synthetic hormone can increase the pain of contractions, causing you to cry out in desperation for an epidural. When you're given pitocin, your body is unable to release the natural endorphins that help you cope with the sensations of labor. Without these natural pain relievers, bonding between you and your baby may not be optimal.

No epidurals
Epidurals come with many side affects. To start with, they rob you of the full birthing experience. You are less able to push and help the baby along, and when the baby does come, you are in a drugged state and not able to make that full connection with your newborn. Also, epidurals may leave you with headaches or prolonged numbness. They make your newborn sluggish and drowsy, making it more difficult to nurse. Without this pain killer, you'll find strength you never knew you had and be triumphant in this rite of passage.

Position Choices
In a hospital, you are generally asked to birth in a position that is most convenient for the doctor (usually on your back). At home, you are free to walk around and chose the positions that are most comfortable for you and most effective at getting your baby out.

A safe environment for your immune-suppressed newborn
The chance of your baby contracting an illness at home are far less than in a hospital.

The umbilical cord is cut only when it stops pulsing
Premature severance of the umbilical cord cuts the flow of oxygenated blood to the baby before the baby has established the lungs as the source of oxygen.

Baby is allowed to nurse immediately
Rather than having your baby taken from you moments after you deliver for routine examination and bathing, which are unnecessary procedures at this time, your newborn is immediately placed on your warm chest, next to your heart, where s(he) belongs! Bonding and breastfeeding begin naturally and without interruption.

You are the center of attention
Your midwife will not be watching the fetal monitor screen while you are laboring, she will be tending to you and doing all she can to make you comfortable and help you progress in labor.

You have the option of giving birth in water
Submersing yourself in warm water is an amazing way to ease the pain of contractions. It also gives you a greater sense of privacy and allows you to move with the contractions, helping your baby in his/her descent.

You create the mood
You can create a setting of low lights, calm peaceful music and choose who is in the room with you. You are in a familiar place with the people you love – just the way you want it.

A Mother's Journey through Pregnancy

As a client and now close friend of Paula Schnebelt, I'd like to take you on a journey with me through my experiences during pregnancy. I'll share with you many of my discoveries along the way, what it was like having Paula Schnebelt as my midwife, and the moment every first-time (and even second and third time) mom fears: the delivery. Before I get ahead of myself though, I'll start with the beginning:

My decision to birth at home

If you're like most women, homebirth wasn't your first thought when you discovered you were pregnant. For me, it was different. As a child, I was occasionally asked which hospital I was born in. When I responded that I and two of my siblings had been born at home, I would hear things like: "Wow, you have a brave mother!" Or, "I'm glad you're O.K.!" When I asked my mom why she had risked our safety to birth us at home, she'd tell me of the cold and impersonal experience she'd had with the birth of her first two children, then contrasted it with the more natural and warm setting of her three home births. She had been so grateful to have a midwife walk her through her pregnancies and care for her during her labor and recovery. She would have had it no other way.

When I became pregnant, there was no question in my mind: I would birth at home with a midwife. I knew in my heart that it was the right decision for me. What I didn't know, however, was how I would justify my decision to the multitude of well-meaning friends and acquaintances who would certainly challenge my resolve. I thus began my pursuit of knowledge - I would discover why homebirth is the safest, most comfortable, least painful method of delivery available today.

Experiences with Paula Schnebelt, LM, CPM

When choosing a midwife, you'll want to know more than just a person's qualifications. You need to know if you'll get along with them - if they'll let you have the kind of birthing experience you've always wanted - if you'll feel comfortable and at ease in their presence. Listen to what experienced moms have to say about Paula's midwifery practice.

"Paula Schnebelt is a blessing to our family and our community"

Thank you so much for all your hard work, support, and guidance throughout our pregnancy and labor and delivery. You are an amazing woman with wonderful gifts. You are a blessing to our family and our community. I know we will stay in touch as Leah grows (and we could possibly work together again...?). If there is any way we can help you, please let us know.

--Kristen, Tom and Leah

"Thank God We Found You, Paula Schnebelt"

Thank God we found you, Paula. We have a beautiful healthy baby girl. God bless you in all you do.

--Alejandro, Marcela and Margarita

"No Routine Procedures"

"My husband and I recently had a very successful home birth, with Paula Schnebelt attending as our primary midwife. Our labor and delivery went extremely smoothly, which I attribute partly to the relaxed feeling of being in a very familiar and safe environment, and also partly to being completely confident in the ability and wisdom of Paula Schnebelt to handle any complications that might have arisen.

One particular thing that I really appreciated about Paula Schnebelt during my pregnancy and after the birth of my baby, was that she gave us choices in everything that happened! There were no 'routine procedures', such as eye ointment, shots, etc., yet they were all options that she gave us, along with the pros and cons of each one. She even asked us about little things, like after the baby was born whether we wanted to weigh her right then or wait a while.

Paula Schnebelt made us feel in control of what happened with us and our baby. I also thought it was pretty neat that she didn't look to check the sex of our baby before handing her to us, so that we were allowed to discover that for ourselves!"

--Chrislyn Clayville

"Paula Schnebelt Was Always There For Me"

"As many months as have passed since the birth of our son – not a day has gone by that I don’t reflect on the wonderful experience of having given birth to him at home. I am forever grateful to Paula Schnebelt for having chosen a profession that gave me and my family so many gifts.

From the very beginning at my prenatal visits, she always took the time to thoroughly and lovingly answer each and every one of my list of questions – no matter how small, I was always made to feel that each question was important. I quickly realized the clear difference between her care and that of a typical ob office. The difference was night and day.

It didn’t take long for me to feel as though I hired not just a professional to attend at our birth, but truly a special friend. Paula Schnebelt would regularly encourage me to never hesitate to call her for any reason, and there were many times I did, and I was always so grateful for her listening ear or knowledgeable advice. These conversations and prenatal visits proved to be of more value than I knew at the time, as often in the typical conversations with other mothers on labor/delivery, I realized that I was prepared by my midwife in ways that others hadn’t been (i.e. preventing a posterior positioning, etc.) However practical and empowering those conversations were, they have now continued on into the many questions that come with being a new mother. And again Paula Schnebelt is ever willing to be there.

The actual home water birth experience was simply wonderful. To have given birth to my child in the peacefulness and safety of our own home, surrounded by the warmth and love of a special few, is something I will cherish forever. The soft lit room, the soothing music, and the natural element of the water to contain me and my baby was just the way I wanted it. It is all something too difficult for me to actually put into words.

Having a homebirth is in itself wonderful, but having midwives by your side that are just as confident to assist you to birth your baby in or out of water, women that share their own journey of laboring and mothering, and professionals that feel more like family, made our homebirth experience that much more amazing."

--Lisette Ross on the birth of her son Caden

"Paula Schnebelt was my rock"

Paula Schnebelt has such a warm and caring heart. During my entire pregnancy, I knew that I could call her for any questions or concerns I had and she would make herself available for me. When I was a week overdue, she was the steady rock I needed, reassuring me that my body knew what it was doing, and that the baby would indeed make it's entrance in due time. She didn't make me feel bad when I called her with multiple false labor alerts. When I finally went into labor, I was able to completely relax and focus on my contractions - I knew Paula had everything under control. I felt completely confident that no matter what came up, she was more than qualified to handle it.

--Joy Haley on the birth of her son Seth