clients catching their own baby - Mothering Forums

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#1 of 43 Old 08-07-2006, 12:57 PM - Thread Starter
 
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We have very few clients that show any interest in catching their own baby. A lot dont even want to touch the babies head when crowning or provide their own perineal support.

For those of you that have a high percentage of moms/dads that catch their own baby, what do you attribute it to? Do they come to you interested in it or do you talk about it a lot before hand? How do you get parents to take an active role in the birth of their child?

Also, do you feel the care giver should provide perineal support if the moms don't do it themselves?

Thank you!

Christa
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#2 of 43 Old 08-07-2006, 01:07 PM
 
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Before births, I ask moms (and dads) if they feel like they may want to touch the baby as it emerges. Most of the time they seem very interested in it "Can I really do that?" "I didn't know I could do that!" "nobody's ever talked with me about that before" Sometimes they are not "umm..no!" "that sounds kind of gross" "I'll get to touch the baby plenty after he/she is born" I write it down, make mental note. When they are in labor and the baby is coming, I ask, "would you like to touch your baby?" of all of them (even the skeptical ones and ones that flat out said no). I always ask. About half of the time they will touch the baby. Sometimes leaving their hands their a long time, sometimes touching and pulling away quickly. One ofmy favorite births was one where before the birth the mom said she didn't think she'd be too interested in that. So I asked during the birth. She put her hands down and felt her baby coming. The doc took a look at me, pushed her chair back, reclined, and moved out of the way. The mom reached down and caught her own baby! It was gorgeous...and caught on tape for her to remember forever I gave that doc props for moving out of the way and realizing that the mom wanted to do that even though she didn't know beforehand that she did! After births I ask how they felt about touching/not touching and usually the ones who did not are okay with it, but occasionallywill say "I wish I would have..." and the ones who do touch are always "that was the most interesting thing!" I've only been to one other birth where the mom caught. I attended one where the dad and mom intended to catch together. It was with a CNM. There was an OB overseeing it and I don't know why but she decided to step in and stomp all over the parents wishes and the CNM even. Not only did the mom and dad not get to catch, the OB also refused to let their older son in the room to watch the birth and cut the cord

Namaste, Tara
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#3 of 43 Old 08-07-2006, 04:21 PM
 
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From my own experience, if you've never talked to the mom about it, it might just be a bit of a shock to her. With my first birth, none of that was offered or even a thought. With my second birth, the midwife said to reach down and grab him. (It took a second to realize what I was touching) And, my husband caught him which threw me off becaues I totally didn't know he had that option. I think if more moms (and dads) know they have the option to do that or are encouraged to do so, they'd be thrilled to. But, especially if it's in a hospital, I think they still have the idea that they have to be masked and gloved before touching the baby during birth.
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#4 of 43 Old 08-07-2006, 05:24 PM
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With my first, I was asked if I wanted a mirror to watch her crown, I was in the moment with pushing and said no. I kind of wish I would have watched, but I think I needed to concentrate.
With my second baby my MW (same one as with my first) motioned my husband closer, grabbed his hands, and helped him catch the baby. He loved it and is very proud of himself- he says he has delivered more babies than me, LOL. I guess she took a chance but she knew us pretty well by then.
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#5 of 43 Old 08-07-2006, 05:47 PM
 
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From a mom's persepctive:

If I wanted to catch my own baby, I wouldn't have a midwife. I don't want to touch my baby as it is crowning. I am BUSY trying to push out said baby.

And how in the hell can I provide perineal support to myself. Again, I am busy. I don't think I could REACH my perineum while delivering.

I pusehd for almost 3 hours with my last birth. He had true SD for a few minutes. When he finally started to come out past his shoulders, I had no desire to do ANYTHING other than GET HIM OUT!
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#6 of 43 Old 08-07-2006, 05:56 PM
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Hayes
If I wanted to catch my own baby, I wouldn't have a midwife. I don't want to touch my baby as it is crowning. I am BUSY trying to push out said baby.
Had a midwife with my 2nd and my DH caught. Had a midwife with my 3rd, I caught. The midwives weren't there to catch the babies for us, they were there to ease my DH's mind

Quote:
Originally Posted by Hayes
And how in the hell can I provide perineal support to myself. Again, I am busy. I don't think I could REACH my perineum while delivering.
It's not as hard as you might think. If you are really curious about such logistics, you might as the UC board

To each her own though. N ot every woman wants to touch her crowning baby. Not every woman wants to catch her own baby; not every father wants to catch their baby. (My DH now tells every daddy they should catch their babies! IT's great!)

Namaste, Tara
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#7 of 43 Old 08-07-2006, 07:09 PM
 
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I provided support for myself for all of my babies (even the 2 hosp. births)

there's no way I could have caught them in the positions I chose, but I alsways made sure they had either a soft place to land or I called someone to catch them util I was ready to take them.

I'm surprised more people don't plan to catch their own babies.

IME, It's usually homebirth couples that plan to do this.

Carrie, The Birthteacher CCE and Doula, real mom to five; and womb-mom to G. born at 23w by emergency C. 12/09
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#8 of 43 Old 08-07-2006, 07:15 PM
 
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I think it depends on what position the mom is in and where the midwife is.

For me, we talk about it prenatally. I usually bring it up in the interviews. I think people who are looking for a specific type of birth are more likely to hire me than just because I'm any old nice midwife.

My clients seem to choose waterbirth largely as a whole, and that helps. I don't put my hands in the water during waterbirths unless something is wrong! We sit back and the mom does it.

Women providing their own support as they're pushing is almost instinctive. I don't think it's something you can ask women to do at the time - it's too confusing and weird to bring up out of the blue.

If a woman does not do her own support, I don't touch her. I may do rectal counterpressure if women want it, but I don't usually touch much at all during the birth.

I usually just make sure, in land births, that there is a soft place for baby to land. I like to place the baby down on the towels/blanket before the mom if it's a land birth and have her pick up her own baby when she's ready.
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#9 of 43 Old 08-07-2006, 07:31 PM
 
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My first birth was in hospital - and even though eventually I ended up with the lots - pitocin, epidural, scalp-ph, IV etc - when it came down to pushing then the midwife asked if I wanted a mirror to watch - I did and so they brought one. At that time it didnt occur to me at all to reach down - not because I didnt want to but simply because it was my first baby and I was too concentrated and busy to even get the idea. Someone did tell me to grab onto my thighs and I just said "no way" but when the MW suggested I touch my babys head then ofcourse I did and am happy for doing so now. I am also happy for watching everything in the mirror - it made me feel I took part as much as I could even if everything else had gone completely opposite from what I had wished for.

My mw applied a hot cloth to my perineum during crowning and I thought that was a great relief.

My second birth was a planned homebirth - unplanned unassisted most of the time. The MW arrived during crowning and the ONLY thing she did was to reach under me and catch as my baby came shooting out.
Before that I had not done any perineal support in particular - but I had instinctively grabbed down to reach for my babys head and I held my hand there through most of crowning I think. I had a first degree tear (not even worth mentioning- had the same tear for both births)

I dont think it ever hurts to suggest a birthing mother to reach down during crowning - she can always refuse if she feels she doesnt want to. I also dont think it can hurt to discuss this part of birth with the couple before the birth - if nothing else then to plant the idea in their minds before labor confuses everything..

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#10 of 43 Old 08-07-2006, 07:32 PM
 
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just a different perspective a bit - it didn't work out to catch my second baby and i had never even really thought about it ... and if it weren't at my midwife's urging to touch his head as he was being born and taking my hand to touch it (because i didn't want to) i would have never done it. it sounds interventive and disrespectful of my wishes but as soon as my hand was on his head i knew it was the right thing for her to do. i am ever grateful that she did that for me.
my next two of course i touched their heads as they were being born (on my own doing) and i caught my last (sticky shoulders with baby 3 so i couldn't catch - but would've caught her if i could have).

i think definitely this is something i would discuss in advance with my own clients when the day comes

Midwifery student , Mama to my 4 amazing kids. treehugger.gif

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#11 of 43 Old 08-07-2006, 08:20 PM
 
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Personally, I was asked at 2 of my births whether I wanted to touch and declined the offer. Silly to say, but it gave me the willies.

As a doula, I've watched mothers touch their baby's crowing heads when pushing is so tiring and suddenly have renewed energy since they realize how close they are!
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#12 of 43 Old 08-07-2006, 09:02 PM
 
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Dh catches our babies, I cant. I am a very flexable woman when preggo but there is no way I could possibly catch.

I do support my perinium when it feels right to do so. I also touch the babies head once it crowns but there is no possible way to catch. Thats fine though because dh loves to catch them :
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#13 of 43 Old 08-07-2006, 09:49 PM
 
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With DD#2 (DC#3), I had an unassisted, natural birth in a hospital room. It was really a "homebirth" except at the hospital. No one believed me that I was that far along and the nurse didn't check me--told me to wait for the doc. When she started to crown, I made the nurse look and boy was she surprised because she hadn't even called the doc yet! I ended up reaching down and catching her. It was the most miraculous experience. I wish that I had followed my instincts better and just had homebirths in the first place.
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#14 of 43 Old 08-07-2006, 09:54 PM
 
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With my 1st (hospital natural birth center), I was squatting on the floor, with a sprained ankle, and could hardly hold myself up, let along touch or catch. In fact, once she was out, all I wanted to do was lay down. Then they handed her to me.

With my 2nd at home, I was squatting on the floor again, and would've totally forgotten that I'd wanted to touch during crowning unless the midwife hadn't reminded. (I was disappointed not doing it with the 1st after a year+ of thinking about it). So I touched!

Now as I'm thinking about a 3rd, I've progressed to wanting DH or I to catch.

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Mama to love.gif DD (9yr), DS luxlove.gif (3yr), & 2twins.gif UC twin DDs (5yr)

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#15 of 43 Old 08-08-2006, 12:04 AM
 
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My clients seem to choose waterbirth largely as a whole, and that helps. I don't put my hands in the water during waterbirths unless something is wrong! We sit back and the mom does it.
Would this be something you had discussed prior to labor or do you find it's just instinctual that she will reach down? And what signs would you consider a sign of something being wrong?

In my school it is drilled into our heads to perform perineal support whenever possible and to ALWAYS guard the clitoris. I got yelled at once during a clinical exam lab for letting go up on top. So, we pretty much always do perineal support around here. The one midwife I saw do none her client had a nasty tear which could have just been coincidence but of course in my student brain that just reinforced doing support.

For my own homebirth I really thought I was going to hate perineal support. I didn't want any hands on my crotch at all which I now think may have been part of why I was so attracted to waterbirth. I had read and read and I knew I could do what I needed to do on my own. When Stella started to crown my instinct brain took over and I cupped her head in my hand and gently held her forehead back while she crowned. It was kind of cool realizing I did it on autopilot. But... at the same time my midwife had begin doing perineal support. At one point she stopped and I felt like I was going to rip straight up the front. I yelled at her to put her hands back because it was really helping.

I have to say that touching her head before she was born (I could actually feel her way before I started pushing and I was having no pain, her head was just sitting there at like a 0 station) was probably the coolest thing ever. Holding her head while she crowned was really empowering.

So... I guess I'm wondering if the mother is making no move to support herself would you move in?

Amy: Certified Professional Midwife and mom to Max (11) and Stella (6).
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#16 of 43 Old 08-08-2006, 12:53 AM
 
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I've never touched any of my kids' heads as they were crowning, although I was asked with my last birth (birth center). Honestly, I am not very flexible and can barely wipe my own ass when I'm pregnant; I'd probably dislocate a shoulder trying to feel the baby's head

But when we have #4 -- a long time from now -- we're going to have a homebirth and dh wants to catch.
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#17 of 43 Old 08-08-2006, 12:55 AM
 
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I am one of E and W's moms that had no desire.... I was offered the chance to feel and help with both Alec and Ella but in the moment, I had NO desire. Going into both births, I think it was something I knew I was possibly open to and not intimidated (in theory) by in the least. But when both kiddos were crowning, I had such a stong desire to only focus on myself. If E hadn't had been right there, I still don't think I would have tried perineal support or to catch. I think I would had put myself into a position where Ella would have just slid out and then I would have grabbed her when she was almost totally out.

Distraction...I think it all boils down to distraction. In that moment, I had no desire to be distracted from staying as centered or focused. Maybe fear that if I focused on my partially birthed child that I could not refocus or remain as calm to finish getting them out?
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#18 of 43 Old 08-08-2006, 09:34 AM
 
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I wanted more than anything to catch ds. I told everyone that - dh, my friend that was being my doula, my mom, my midwife, everyone.

And, wouldn't you know it, the only position that felt right for pushing was standing up and then leaning over on the side of the pool, a sort of modified hands and knees things. There was absolutely no way that I could have caught in that position. I always had imagined giving birth to #2 in a standing squat or full squat, but in both of those positions, it hurt, and I could tell that all the pushing was ineffective, my uterus wasn't propelling him down very much, et cetera.

So, depending on the situation, you could have a client who's faced with choosing between listening to her body (for position) and listening to her head/heart (for what she wants to do). For me, not being able to catch ds is probably my only regret from his birth.

Kash, homeschooling mommy to Gillian (8/5/00) and Jacob (3/23/05)
and Brigid Eleanor (11/20/08)
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#19 of 43 Old 08-08-2006, 12:53 PM
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Sheena
Would this be something you had discussed prior to labor or do you find it's just instinctual that she will reach down? And what signs would you consider a sign of something being wrong?So... I guess I'm wondering if the mother is making no move to support herself would you move in?
No, I am not a believer in perineal support during birth. I do not move in if mom isn't doing it herself. In the water, the baby slides out into the water and women QUICKLY reach down to pick the baby up.

If the head is out and it's not rotating (then again I don't often see the heads, the mom may just say, "oh, the head is out"), I may intervene.
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#20 of 43 Old 08-08-2006, 01:24 PM
 
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That's cool, Pam. So, you don't do any maneuvers at all. Do you see many tears? When the baby comes on it's own does the posterior shoulder deliver first?

Amy: Certified Professional Midwife and mom to Max (11) and Stella (6).
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#21 of 43 Old 08-08-2006, 01:35 PM
 
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Catching baby#2 was part instinct, part necessity for me. She was born in water, at home (this part was planned). She was born without a midwife present (this part was NOT planned).

I hadn't even realized I was supporting my prenium at the time - and yet, looking back, I not only supported it, I literally stretched it over DD's head !!

I TOLD DH to catch the baby because I wasn't aware of what I was doing - it was all instinct. He looked at me a little bewildered, and asked me how he should go about doing that when my hands were in the way. Okay - back to reality for me, as DD slipped out into my hands right then.


I'm planning another home waterbirth this time, but with midwife present. I admit, I'm a little worried that having a midwife there will be too much interference for me when this little one arrives. We'll see - I can be a royal b*tch when needed.

Canadian mom to Boo (Aug '02), Bug (Aug '04) and Bear (Dec '06).
Jesse (July '09)
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#22 of 43 Old 08-10-2006, 11:55 PM
 
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I was way too self-conscious with my first birth to be instinctive about it. I didn't know the midwife very well, only having met with her a dozen or less times, and did not know her assistant at all. I had no basis for being naturally intimate with either of them, so it was impossible for me to totally let go and get into a primal place.

This was nine years ago, but I clearly remember feeling inhibited about being intimate with my husband. I have to laugh when I read the stories in Spiritual Midwifery, because there was *no* way my husband and I were going to be loving on each other -- putting on a show, it would feel like -- in front of people who were there essentially as medical professionals. I felt that way about touching myself as well. I don't regard my genitals as a non-sensual area, but I can manage to pretend with someone who is not my lover touching and looking at it. I disassociated in effect (which you can imagine didn't help with pushing) in order to be able to bear it. If I'd put my own hands down there, I'd be reminded instantly of what that area is for, and that this was something very private that was being exposed to people I hardly knew. And, again, it would be putting on a show. I would be the performer, they the audience. It would have been embarrassing. So I kept my hands well away from that area while the midwife worked away on it.

When she told me to touch my baby's head, I didn't want to. She said that I needed to, so I did. I felt completely disconnected, it was interesting, but meant nothing. I certainly wouldn't have done it if she hadn't insisted.

I felt that way even with my second birth, in which my midwife never prodded or peered at my genitals. I was in a deep, dark tub. No one could see anything below my collarbone. And yet I still felt a resistance inside myself to touching myself, and was annoyed when the midwife suggested it. Because, see, I wanted us all to keep pretending she wasn't paying attention to the fact of what I was doing. I did touch myself, because this was to be my empowered birth, and I felt it would be ridiculous *not* to do so, when that's what I would do normally in birth. I'm glad I was able to, finally, but still it was marred by my self-consciousness.

My private births were fantastic because they were fully uninhibited. My hands were all over my body, and at points so were my husband's. I felt up inside of me, I felt my breasts, I kneaded my stomach and back, I moaned in ways that sounded very sexual, and did so with abandon, spontaneously and instinctively. I felt the folds of my vagina; I softly and even pleasurably touched my clitoris. In my "rest and be thankful stage" I fell back against the pillows, legs splayed open, and touched myself some more, smiling at how swollen and lubricated I was. When the baby was ready to be born, I felt the coin-sized top of her head, felt the lusciousness of the waters releasing, and the sheer sensuousness of her head in my vagina. I felt my tissues expanding and I pleaded, "come down, baby, come down. Mama's waiting for you." I shrieked at the peak of contractions and moaned coming down from them. I rocked my hips back and forth, waving my butt in the air, with my hand between my legs. Remembering the ecstatic feeling when my daughter moved down through me nearly brings me to tears. Serious tears. This is how it was supposed to be.

Some of that was uncomfortable for me to write, admit in public. (Never mind what my husband did during this time, which is never going to be made public.) Was any of it uncomfortable to read, to imagine watching? Imagine, then, it being a thousand times more uncomfortable to do it while being watched. And that's exactly why I wouldn't do it in front of someone I wasn't normally intimate with.

After those experiences, thinking about doing perineal support or touching my baby's head at a midwife's direction seems so perfunctory and unnatural it's laughable.
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#23 of 43 Old 08-11-2006, 12:21 AM
 
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Fourlittlebirds, you had an *awesome* birth! I always dreamed of having a birth like that, and you are right, that is how it *should* be. If I could get pg tomorrow I would do that too...awesome, you rock. It takes intimacy to make a baby- it should take intimacy to birth one, and this is something you two can look at each other and grin silly grins when you are 91! You go, girl!
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#24 of 43 Old 08-11-2006, 04:35 AM
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Sheena
That's cool, Pam. So, you don't do any maneuvers at all. Do you see many tears? When the baby comes on it's own does the posterior shoulder deliver first?

I rarely see tears so big that they need to be sutured. However, I'm a believer that *some* small tears are NORMAL and good for the body to prevent huge disastrous tears.

I have no idea what delivers first most of the time. In the water, I don't see the heads - I can't even write "position of baby at delivery" on my summary forms.

It all comes out beautifully. Posterior shoulder, arm, anterior shoulder - it all works the way it's supposed to.

My goal is to always keep my hands off the baby for the first hour - or at least for the first half hour. I don't want to touch the baby or talk to the mom in a way that disrupts that special time.
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#25 of 43 Old 08-11-2006, 08:54 AM
 
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Sorry to keep peppering you with questions, Pam!

So, do you listen to the baby's heart or anything like that in the first hour? What about dealing with the placenta?

Amy: Certified Professional Midwife and mom to Max (11) and Stella (6).
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#26 of 43 Old 08-11-2006, 03:15 PM
 
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Originally Posted by Sheena
Sorry to keep peppering you with questions, Pam!

So, do you listen to the baby's heart or anything like that in the first hour? What about dealing with the placenta?
No, I don't listen to the baby's heart right at birth or after. If baby doesn't look good, then I might, but I look mainly at the tone. Not the color, not respiratory effort immediately. I look at tone. If baby has good tone, I just wait. I can watch the respirations and know if baby is breathing fast. If it is, I watch the color and the breathing efforts. If either of these are off, then I will step in and listen and help out.

With the placenta, I just sit and watch. I watch for the separation gush. In the water or upright births, it's easy to see. In fact, it's usually then that women say "oh, there's lots of blood coming out". This is the key point when their attention moves from their babies to us or an awareness on the "outside".

Sometimes I encourage women to do cord traction after detachment if it seems they're anxious to get it birthed.. Other times I just wait and voila! the placenta comes. I saw a placenta come out completely spontaneously while a woman was lying flat on her back! I never would have thought that would happen. So, we wait. I can watch the height of her fundus if she's out side the water and if she's in the water, she's more than likely upright, so we'll see some blood loss if she's ready to birth the placenta.


Oh, and Linda (fourlittlebirds), I loved your post above. I love you. I feel silly saying it all the time, but I do. I appreciate what you have given me through our friendship.
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#27 of 43 Old 08-11-2006, 04:40 PM
 
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From a mom, I found it quite difficult to not touch babe's head when they are coming out ,it feels so strange yet so familiar and helped ground me for the final push. My partner caught and really enjoyed it.
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#28 of 43 Old 08-11-2006, 05:41 PM
 
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Linda, I can totally see why Pamela loves you.

Like Pam, I'm not convinced of the benefit of perineal support (there have been some interesting articles in Midwifery Today on the topic recently), but in the water perineal support is both redundant and worse than useless. The water is gently giving counter pressure in an even way impossible with hand support, which will always create pressure points, areas with no support or too much pressure. If a woman feels like touching herself, it's very, very different from the kind of perineal support most midwives have been trained to provide, if for no other reason than that she can feel and respond to exactly how each area of touch feels and what it needs, and can do so from an entirely internal perspective. For much of the same reason as it's usually easier for women to learn to orgasm from touching themselves, with their own fingers or appliances in their control, a woman who is not inhibited (as Linda described above in her first births) will far better than an outsider know how much touch she needs and where, and even whether.
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#29 of 43 Old 08-11-2006, 05:57 PM
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Arwyn
If a woman feels like touching herself, it's very, very different from the kind of perineal support most midwives have been trained to provide, if for no other reason than that she can feel and respond to exactly how each area of touch feels and what it needs, and can do so from an entirely internal perspective. For much of the same reason as it's usually easier for women to learn to orgasm from touching themselves, with their own fingers or appliances in their control, a woman who is not inhibited (as Linda described above in her first births) will far better than an outsider know how much touch she needs and where, and even whether.
yes! yes! I always worry when mws say that they don't like waterbirths because they get too wet or they "can't get in there". Gah, in my opinion, it's why women should have water births! Keep those people's hands outta there!

I wrote an article for MT about this topic that I posted here originally. Women push more instinctively when they're focused on their body/baby and not looking to someone else for direction. They push enough to bring the baby down slowly - and they often can feel how far down each push brings the baby. Not every woman touches their baby's head as it is coming, but I can tell you she definitely won't be reaching for it instinctively if someone else is there touching her!

The only times my hands / arms get wet is when women want my hands there to help catch the baby (rare) or when I'm listening to baby. IMO, a shoulder dystocia is BETTER in the water - mom is usually in better positions (not on her tailbone in bed) to prevent this from happening and the simple act of getting out of a birth tub often opens the pelvis to dislodge the shoulder / baby.
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#30 of 43 Old 08-11-2006, 06:04 PM
 
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Linda,
Yep, some of that was private feeling to read and that's why I can see that it's private to feel that and do that on your own... what a good example of WHY to UC, so many people I know go "why???".

And Pam... you are exactly the midwife I want to be like - I respect your opinion greatly and am grateful for your openness to other ways. You remind me of my MW friend I followed for a year - she recently moved and I miss her so!

As for catching... I want to catch this baby and it's my plan to be in the water and do it myself. When I get into pushing sometimes I really can't move, so I'm going to have my DH remind me...
I've never been able to feel them, touch them, catch them - I regret that deeply, so this time I'm going to do it myself (if at ALL possible).
(Please let it be soon baby!).
~Julie

Mama to 4 amazing little people, another little expected 3/6/12!
Avid Unassisted Birth supporter/Mama

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