Thursday, December 12, 2013

Birth IS Changing...or is it?!

It has been a while since my last post (whew...6 months)...and there are always many things The Hippie Diva can blog about...however, this right here...I couldn't help but write about it!

As we have another one on the way, in addition to continuously educating myself about childbirth and in turn educating others...BIRTH is always on my mind.

I was speaking with one of my new found "doula sistahs" the other day.  She was sharing with me that she has missed the last couple of births she was scheduled to attend.  And it wasn't a "woe is me" type situation...we are always overjoyed a little one has sprung earth side.  What it did for me, is start my hamster wheel turning.  I have been hearing more and more stories about how quick a mother's labor is (4-6 hours to be exact...sometimes sooner).  I hear more and more stories of mothers staying home to give birth versus the hospital; or, getting to the hospital just in time to push which means no time for interventions (down to the IV).

What's funny is this story is nothing new to me...this is how I came into the world according to my mother.  She was in labor maybe 6 interventions...natural vaginal the hospital!

Seeing all these things occurring I have to ask myself is birth really changing or is it us remembering how it is suppose to be?!  What is the "natural order of things"?  Along with these questions...I begin to look at how doulas are trained to be "with woman" during her labor and delivery.

Typically, you know the "due date", you know there is a 2 week window (+/-), you have an idea that the entire process is going to take a while...1st stage, 2nd stage, transition, etc...

...With all of that you have NEW research that shows there is a 5 week window (+/-), which turns it into a "due month", you have women that are more in touch with their bodies allowing nature to take its course with no interventions.  In turn, you have quicker, smoother labor and deliveries.  The more I see it and hear stories...the more fascinating I become.  There is no coincidence what is happening here.

This also makes me wonder how my work as a doula changes with this occurrence.  My doula sistah I mentioned earlier...while we were discussing the subject she said something along the lines of, ..."if birth is happening this fast, it's almost like you have to be with the mom for a month so you don't miss the birth..."  At that moment it was like a light bulb went off!  She is correct...and looking back...I was kind of already living that mindset as a doula.  I stayed with my sister in New Jersey a month before she gave birth, as well as two weeks after.  She had an non-medicated interventions...30 minutes after going to the hospital she was pushing.  Before we moved to Baltimore, I came to stay with my wife before she gave birth at least 4 months prior.  Her outcome was different, however, she was a week early from her "due date".

The other thing that has caught my attention is the mannerisms of the laboring mother.  As of late, you have mothers talking during transition as if they were in early stages of labor.  Now if you have been with a mother while in the last stages of labor...there is little talking going on, if any.  So what's happening is you have a doula on the phone...going by what she is hearing...thinking she has a while because mom is still using her words...when in fact, she is literally about to push a baby out in that moment! :-)

Now, I know that every birth is well as women having their preferences.  That is perfectly understandable and there is nothing wrong or right with it.  When you see all these different things occurring in birth as we know it to be, you cannot help but question WHY...and connect the dots from there.  I had the most medicated, induced, intervention filled birth with my daughter 14 years ago.  Amongst all of that, and what I continue to learn, I can see how my body knew what to do when having her...and having her vaginally, as well as those interventions and the role they played.  For that I am grateful! I also know that with my next one, piece of cake! ;-)

As far as my work as a makes my vision of building our communities even stronger.  When we have our communities strong, we won't worry about missing a birth.  When we have our communities strong, we really get to know what our moms are thinking and feeling...even when they are talking about it during transition.  When our communities are strong, there is continuous education of understanding our bodies, not only during pregnancy, but as WOMEN...our cycles, our connection to the earth and moon during these cycles...being allowed the space we need to go within our "red tents", respectively!  When our communities are and women are not at war with each other...we are side by side, building up one another.  And in that building up and loving one another it is becoming a physical manifestation...our children!  And YES, men, you do have a role while mom is doing most of the work WITH baby (that's for another blog on another day).

THIS is how we begin to break the cycle...the cycle of childbirth being medical...the cycle of women not knowing what is best for them and their bodies...and especially the cycle of being uneducated about what you are experiencing, whether it is your first time or your 17th! And most of all...UNITY! :-)

A change isn't's already here as a reminder of things long forgotten!

Are you paying attention yet?! Wakey Wakey! :-)

Thursday, May 30, 2013

A Journey to the West

We recently returned from a trip to California...Sacramento to be exact.  It was an introduction to a section of the boy got to meet cousins, aunts, uncles and grandparents and I as well (never cared for the term "in laws").

I must say it was an absolutely beautiful trip.  From the adventure getting there to the people I met...amazing!

One of the things I absolutely wanted to do ever was to see Mt. Shasta.  It is the first thing that comes to mind when I hear or think California.  So, you must understand my excitement when my wife informs me that the town her people are from, Weed, California, is at the base of Mt. Shasta!  It just seems too good to be true! lol  Granted, there was no real guarantee that we were gonna have time to go to Weed...seeing that it was 3-3 1/2 hours away from Sacramento.  This is where my trip truly begins...I left Baltimore with the mindset of not having any expectations and absolutely going with the flow.

Just our flight to get to the west coast was off the chain.  There were weather issues and delays going on, and our flight left late due to "mechanical issues".  We had a connecting flight in Minneapolis, but when we got there (late!) we missed our connecting flight...we were gonna be there overnight.  The beautiful thing was because there were mechanical issues that we missed our connecting flight...the airline had to pay for our hotel and food voucher...winning!!!  I couldn't help but think had it been due to weather...3 ladies and a baby were gonna be spending the night on an airport floor...or paying for a room!

Go with the flow and no expectations...

We finally were off the next day, but not until 3 in the afternoon...OH and not to mention or flight was taking us from Minneapolis, back to Atlanta, then to Sacramento!  Did I mention we started this journey in D.C.?!

Got to Sacramento safely and was greeting at our hotel by my wife's father's fiance.  I think it was perfect that she was the first person I met of the family as well as wife's aunt and uncle the next day.  It was the aunt and uncle that gave the push to go to Weed (grateful)!

When we made it to those mountains...OMG...I was just in awe!  I was amazed that I had made it to see this thing of beauty with my own two eyes...surprised that throughout my wife's childhood, this is what she got to see most of her days...when people say it is a spiritual feel it instantly!!!  It is definitely a sight to behold!

We even stopped at a crystal and gem store in Mt. Shasta City...found a nice gift for a new friend I made Mother's Day weekend...the day after her birthday...go with the flow and no expectations...

When we made it back to Sacramento, we went to a family cookout...spent more time with fam (as it should be) and had a smooth trip back home to the east coast.

Now of course I am giving the Reader's Digest version of the trip.  I took sooooo many pictures and so many different events occurred that this blog would be so long.  Honestly, I should have blogged everyday, I was just too busy living in each and every moment...learning more about me, my wife and just US as human beings!  And also seeing how one little baby who is so true to his name, shines his light at all times! :-)

I absolutely look forward to the next adventure...going with the flow and absolutely with NO expectations!

Wake up, let it go, love and let it be! :-)

Tuesday, April 16, 2013

A Different Kinda Birth Story...

As some know, my family dynamics are a bit...dynamic! :-)  I spent most of 2012 getting prepared for our son to come into the world...and that he did!

Just a brief overview...last year it was decided to join our family in one city...that is, my husband, my wife, our daughter (whom I birthed) and our son (who we welcomed in October)!  Our brother and his son joined us as well. We all made the move to Baltimore and quite an adventure it has been.

That brings us to the birth day of Bayyinah Luther Omari Kwame!

It was quite an interesting combination being a doula and a the same time.  The things I remember during early labor was cutting wifey's hair while she was squatting on the floor working through surges (contractions)...walking around the house during contractions...basically chillin' out.  Then it was time to go!  Off we went to the birthing center. It seemed so surreal that the day was here...this little boy was coming!  Yet, I was in doula mode, calm, focused on mom.  She labored in the tub for a little bit, then moved to the bed.  After a few hours, something happened.  She just stopped progressing...and the midwife advised that we needed to make moves to the hospital to help out with things.

Now, I try to go the route that is as natural as possible, and that was the game plan.  At the same time, we also know that sometimes help is needed from the medical field.  I think what threw us off a little bit was the plan of going to the birthing center, have the baby, stay 4 hours postpartum, go the plan became go to the hospital, have the baby, stay 24-48 hrs, go home.  It didn't take long to adjust, all we want is a healthy baby!

Hours later it was determined that mom had been at the same dilation for a while and suggested a c-section (which automatically means 72 hr stay...grrr).  Talk about a sistah's heart sinking to her gut!  My spouse is laying in the bed...yet I have to maintain being her doula...PLUS, keeping our husband informed of what is going on (by now he has taken the children...our daughter and had been a long day for them).  Of course, we shed tears, shared fears and maybe said a couple prayers to ourselves...knowing everything is gonna be good...we're about to see our son!

Before we began the journey to the OR, we were cracking jokes...even once we got to the OR wifey had the staff cracking up.  I had never been in the room where a c-section is taking place.  That was quite interesting.  I just can't seem to gather the words to describe that experience.  I didn't feel like passing out...I was too busy taking it all in; observing each person in the room from the OB to the Surgical Tech.  It all just seemed so routine to each one of them.  I guess to a point it is.  I think one thing my wife and I made sure of was reminding each one of them that we are human, not just a patient, a number...but human beings, with emotions, and recognize their emotions as well.  I digress...

So, I'm sitting next to my wife, who by this time is completely knocked out because she wouldn't be still.  I kept telling her that she had to be still or they were going to knock her out.  She was so in her inner realm (plus doped up) she was not hearing a word I was saying so...LIGHTS OUT!  Then, I saw Bayyinah emerge!  I felt such a huge surge of oxytocin begin to flow through my body...literally!  I know, for a fact, it was the same surge I felt having my own daughter!  I am so in son...our here!

I share this story to share this:

I know that not everyone understands how we choose to live and that's ok.  One thing I remember sharing with myself and who I choose to be married to is this:  I don't care how the babies come, as long as they come!  That means, I am not the only one in this relationship having babies, yet the ones that do bless us with their presence, they are our babies...I am Mama Le.  One thing is for sure...the love I feel for ALL my babies is real and genuine!

I cannot wait to have more experiences welcoming little star babies to this family, as well as other me it's all ONE village anyway!

Stay tuned... :-)