Wednesday, September 30, 2009

Slideshow of a Birth

I had the priviledge of attending many beautiful births this summer and we've made a new slideshow of one of them. Check it out on YouTube here. Feel free to share this link with your friends. Have a wonderful day!

Saturday, September 26, 2009


VBAC (Vaginal Birth After Cesarean) and HBAC (Home Birth After Cesarean) are two acronyms I'm seeing/hearing with increasing frequency.  I'm also, unfortunately, hearing a new one - TOLAC (Trial Of Labor After Cesarean).

Increasingly, many hospitals are no longer offering women VBACs due to the American College of Obstetrics' recent recommendation that hospitals not offer VBACs without an anesthesiologist and surgeon on staff. Financially this inhibits many rural hospitals from serving women in this way even when they want to, as it opens them up to additional liability if they do. For this reason, I am getting lots of calls from women who are not willing to sign up for a repeat Ceasarean section and feel a HBAC is their only viable alternative.

Hospitals who do still offer VBACs no longer call them VBACs; instead they call them TOLACs which, in my mind, sets women up for failure as it doesn't positively reflect that they will succeed. This makes me angry. While I am always more than happy to offer homebirth as an alternative, not all women are suitable candidates, and this will leave them out in the cold.

What are your thoughts on this?

Tuesday, September 22, 2009

Letter About a Birth Experience

"My husband and I were very lucky to find Paula. After meeting her just once, I knew that I wanted to be under her care. She is very personable, honest and nurturing.

During my pregnancy I enjoyed very personal one-on-one care with her. I needed someone who I trusted and understood my wishes, expectations and respected them at an extremely vulnerable time. I am very happy to say that Paula met my hopes, needs and expectations.

When I went into labor, Paula offered just the right amount of encouragement (it was important to me not to have a lot of coached pushing). When I started feeling the urge to push, I simply let Paula know, and did what my body told me to do. She helped keep me grounded when it was really hard, and she motivated me, but she was very sensitive to respecting my wishes — there was no yelling or counting or pressure of any kind.

Every time I think about the experience I had giving birth to Isabel I feel ecstatic. It was amazing, beautiful, and more powerful than I could ever have dreamed. I did it myself, but a big part of what made it so wonderful was that I chose the right person to watch over me, support me, and make sure the baby and I were safe. Paula gave me excellent care, was attentive and intuitive, and helped us welcome our new baby in the safety and comfort of our own home. I am deeply grateful that she was there for us during this journey.

Friday, September 18, 2009

Stretch Marks

Howdy! Those of you who have been or are pregnant know that stretch marks can be a much undesired side effect.

Stretch Marks occur when the skin is stretched beyond its elasticity. The upper layer stretches and the lower layer of skin tends to tear, causing small rips in the tissue. This results in some red marks that feel different from the regular texture of your skin. These will fade to white after your pregnancy, but this can take time. While some women feel uncomfortable with the appearance of stretch marks, it might help them to know that, in some cultures, stretch marks are seen as an outward sign of the noble and brave status of motherhood.

Preventing Stretch Marks

Although it is believed that stretch marks are a genetic predisposition, there are things you can do to try and prevent them.

It’s important to only use organic skin products while pregnant. Most chemicals are not proven safe for your unborn baby and its best to just avoid them. Going organic will give you peace of mind and you’ll be able to treat your skin without fear of affecting the child inside.

What to Look for in Stretch Mark Prevention Treatments

Certain organic products work better than others against stretch marks. Basically, you want to moisturize your skin and enhance the elasticity. A good prevention cream will also provide some healing power to help any existing tears in the skin heal faster, without getting worse. This is particularly helpful if you are starting treatment later in the pregnancy.

Organic stretch mark creams usually use one or more of the following ingredients:

Shea Butter: By far the most common ingredient used in stretch mark prevention since is one of the best natural moisturizers on the market. It also has healing properties to help with any existing stretch marks.

Coconut Oil: Avery good moisturizing oil that also enhances elasticity and hastens healing of existing problems.

Olive Oil: Another good moisturizer that helps boost elasticity and soften skin, making it more supple and resistant to tearing.

Any organic skin product designed to treat and prevent stretch marks should include one of the above ingredients for maximum benefit. Often they will have other natural ingredients, as well, to promote healing and enhance the moisturizing effect.

Let me know if you have any questions about this. And of course, let us know what remedies you've tried and used with success! xoxo

Monday, September 14, 2009

How to Deal with a Vaginal Yeast Infection

Hi there! I hope you're all enjoying this week so far. I know I am!

Many of you have probably had a vaginal yeast infection at one time or another during your life. It's not uncommon to have a certain amount of yeast in your vagina, as well as in your intestinal tract. Yeast only becomes a problem when it grows so fast that it overwhelms other competing microorganisms.

As you probably know, it's fairly common to get one while you're pregnant because your higher level of estrogen causes your vagina to produce more glycogen, making it even easier for yeast to grow there. Some researchers think estrogen may also have a direct effect on yeast, causing it to grow faster and stick more easily to the walls of the vagina.

Symptoms from yeast infections tend to hang around until you treat the infection, although sometimes they come and go of their own volition. Symptoms may include:
  • Itchiness, irritation, soreness, burning, and redness in your vagina and labia (and sometimes swelling)
  • An odorless vaginal discharge that's often white, creamy, or cottage-cheesy
  • Discomfort or pain during sex
  • Burning when you urinate (when the urine hits your already irritated genitals)

These are the treatments for vaginal yeast infections that we have found to be most effective.

Early treatment is ideal
If a woman can pay attention to the first tickling of the yeast infection, she can use one of the following treatments to resolve the infection:

Take a clove of fresh garlic and peel off the natural white paper shell that covers it, leaving the clove intact. Be careful not to nick the clove at all. At bedtime wrap the clove in a piece of gauze, lubricate with olive oil and insert into the vagina. In the morning, remove the garlic clove and throw it in the toilet. The garlic often causes the vagina to have a watery discharge. One night's treatment may be enough to kill the infection, or it might have to be repeated the next night. Continue one or two days until all itchiness is gone.

Sitz Bath
Use a sitz bath with apple cider vinegar added 2-3 x day. You can also use a peri-bottle with a table spoon of vinegar added to gently douche.

Get a good quality pro-biotic and take both orally and insert capsule into vagina 2 x day

Gentian Violet
If all else fails you can try gentian violet, which is a tincture that will stain everything purple, so be careful! Coat a tampon with gentian violet and insert overnight. You may also paint the outside of your vagina with gentian violet, but again, be prepared for a mess! Only use this method one time per week!

Make sure you change your diet to eliminate all refined sugar, white flour products and juice. Cut back on fruit as well.

Over the Counter
Products such as Monistat and Vagistat are very effective at treating Yeast Infections. You can purchase them in 1, 3 or 7 day treatments. They range in price from $15 to $20 per package.

Hope this helps. And let us know what's worked for you!

Thursday, September 10, 2009

Letter from the Suhrs

When I first met Paula, I was 7 1/2 months pregnant with my first baby after having recently moved to California from the East Coast. Up to that point, I had been receiving care from Dr.s and "med"-wives in typical OB/GYN practices. I was growing increasingly uneasy about having a hospital birth, especially after I began researching the facts and safety of birthing at home. After "finding" Paula after doing a Google search for area midwives, I was immediately impressed with her professional website and scheduled an appointment. At our first meeting, I was touched by her genuine love for mommies and babies and I immediately felt comfortable with her. It didn't take long for a bond to develop and I finally felt peace about making a decision to birth at home. When my daughter's birthday came, my husband and I felt completely at ease with Paula's skill and gentle way. We had a wonderful water birth and couldn't imagine being anywhere other than home.

There was no question that when we got pregnant with #2, that Paula would help welcome our baby into the world. I appreciate the on-going relationship that we continue to have with Paula - she is a wonderful resource and friend. Thank you, Paula!

We love you!

Brad, Sharon, Monica, and Myka Suhr

Sunday, September 6, 2009

How To Survive Morning Sickness

Give thanks! Nausea in early pregnancy means your hormone levels are high enough to support a healthy pregnancy.

During pregnancy your dramatically increasing hormones cause a corresponding increase in stomach acid. This is why it is important to eat frequently and also why eating saltine crackers, which absorb the acid, is helpful. Eat many small meals, ideally eating every two to three hours, even during the night. It doesn't have to be a lot. Just a couple of bites will help neutralize that acid. It can be a cracker or two with nut butter, a small handful of trail mix, a chunk of cheese, or a couple of bites of yogurt (it is also important to make sure you eat some form of protein each time you eat to minimize the chance of developing preeclampsia).

Additionally, some women experience relief when sipping peppermint tea, chewing a piece of peppermint gum, or sucking on a peppermint candy. If peppermint doesn't work, try ginger.

Also, it is important to drink an adequate amount of water. I recommend using a one liter bottle, filling it in the morning when you get up, drinking it by lunch time, refilling it, and finishing it again by bedtime. You can take little sips throughout the day, just make sure you have emptied your bottle twice by bedtime. This will ensure you have consumed the minimal amount of water necessary to sustain a healthy

Wednesday, September 2, 2009

From a couple I just delivered...


Thank you for helping us with another birth. It was very special to us to have you present again. Thank you for all of your loving care and flexibility. We really appreciate you and all you do.


The Bartoks