Staci Bishop

Saturday, February 25, 2012

Reading Roundup 2/25 (oxytocin, sleep habits, dairy, birth video)

Below you will find some of my favorite articles, posts and videos that I came across this week. Enjoy!

Oozing Oxytocin - This article shows that oxytocin can be sensed and smelled by the body often causing a domino effect for others (male & female) to produce oxytocin. "Singing, particularly singing with other people, causes the brain to produce unusually high levels of oxytocin." Ever get that "feeling" when you are in church service and the whole congregation is singing together. I think oxytocin might be at play here. :)

Dairy Causes Acne - This was an interesting read for me this week mainly because I love Purity chocolate milk. I've actually been trying to cut back on my obsession and this article may have just sealed the deal for me.

8 Infant Sleep Facts Every Parent Should Know - This article has some good information about nightwaking. As the mom of a nonsleeper, I found it interesting that babies who don't get into deep sleep are getting more blood flow to their brain. It was even suggested that these babies may be smarter. Hmmm....
  • 31 Ways to Get Your Baby to Sleep and Stay Asleep - Follow up article by Dr. Sears regarding sleep habits of babies. I think the key to both of these articles is that babies must be taught to sleep and given a proper environment to sleep. They don't automatically know how to do this on their own.

MORE Business of Being Born - This week I had the opportunity to watch the first installment of More Business of being Born named Down on the Farm. They visit legendary midwife, Ina May Gaskin, and have a lovely sit-down interview with her and tour of The Farm in Summertown, Tennessee. My first doula client will be delivering at the The Farm so I was so excited to be able to see this in advance. I'm totally star struck by Ina May too. :) The trailer for the series is below.

The following video is my new favorite birth video. It starts out a little slow but stick with it. The cinematography towards the end is so amazing as it documents a family absolutely falling in love with their newborn baby. I wish every couple had the opportunity to get to know their baby this way. Home birth is SO beautiful! Watch and you'll see why.

That's it for this week. Did you read anything interesting? If so, please share a link in the comments.

Tuesday, February 21, 2012

Homemade Powder Laundry Detergent ($0.09 per load, Borax free)

About six months ago I started making my own laundry detergent. It's SO easy (and cheap)!!! Here is the recipe I have been using.

1 bar soap, finely grated
1 cup washing soda
1/2 cup baking soda
1/2 cup Borax (optional)

Combine all ingredients into a Ziplock bag and shake to mix. Use 1 Tablespoon per load.

I've never even tried making the liquid kind. It seemed too complicated and messy from the git-go. I'm all about easy peasy so powdered detergent seemed like the logical choice. This recipe dissolves very nicely. I never have any residue left in the tray. I have a high-efficiency washer and this recipe is HE safe.

When I started researching the ingredients I read some things about Borax that made me a little uncomfortable using it (toxic/harsh and needed to be handled carefully). I looked and looked for a Borax-free recipe and found nada. So, on a whim, I just left it out. This detergent works great so I really haven't missed it at all.

Now, as far as soap is concerned. I decided on Yardley, mainly because I feel comfortable with the ingredients. I've used all of the different scents and they all work fine. In fact, I usually switch back and forth between scents to spice things up a bit for my nose. :) Grating up the soap doesn't take long at all. I purchased a fine grater from the $Tree and it works fine. I usually do it while watching TV and it's done in less than 10 minutes. Some folks like to do a rough grate and then put it in the blender to make it finely grated. Again, too many steps for me.

Now, for the cost factor....
  • Bar of Yardley soap, $0.69 (Goes on sale at Walgreens about every six weeks. I usually grab 2-3 bars and that gets me through until the next sale.)
  • Baking Soda, $0.50 (Also goes on sale frequently at Walgreens. 1 box will make 4 batches)
  • Arm & Hammer Washing Soda, $4.99 (You can pick this up at most any grocery store. It's also available at Ace Hardware. One box makes 7 batches)
To buy all of the ingredients at once would cost you a little more than $6, which is less than one container of store-bought detergent. When you divide it out the cost comes to about $1.50 a batch and only $0.09 per load!

Easy, cheap, plus good for you & your clothes!

Saturday, February 18, 2012

Reading Roundup (active management, swaddling. coconut oil, epidurals, doulas)

Here are my favorite articles, posts, and pictures that I came across this week. Enjoy!

What is Normal? - Fantastic article on "active management" of labor and how it has changed (ahem, sped up) over the years.

Fish Can't See Water - Related article on the "medicalization" of labor and birth.

Rethinking Swaddling - Interesting article that weighs the pros and cons of swaddling. I am a fan of swaddling to help settle baby and also to help baby sleep better. However, I wholeheartedly agree that being next to mom, especially in the early days, is absolutely best for baby.

160 Uses For Coconut Oil - If there is one thing I can't live without, it's coconut oil. I seriously use it on a daily basis for SOMEthing. It's actually a running joke around here. No matter what the problem is, I'm usually going to suggest coconut oil to solve it.

Epidurals: risks and concerns for mother and baby - Fantastic article that discusses how epidurals interfere with labor hormones and the labor process. It also lists potential side effects for both mother and baby. "In a UK survey of 1,000 women, those who had used epidurals reported the highest levels of pain relief but the lowest levels of satisfaction with the birth, probably because of the high rates of intervention. "

Why Do American Women Do Nothing to Recovery from Pregnancy? - Amen! I'm the first to admit that I didn't take care of myself after I had my first child. I didn't realize I needed to do anything different. "In American culture, the postpartum recovery of the mother has never been given much attention and is largely not seen as important." And we wonder why our postpartum depression rate is so high... huh, imagine that?!

I LOVE this picture meme below. Photos like this are popping up everywhere, but this is a perfect display of what others think we do and what really happens.

Tuesday, February 14, 2012

Doula Training Update

At this point, I have completed 4 tests from the Physiology for Birth portion of the course and finished my 1st book review (Spiritual Midwifery - Ina May Gaskin). I'm pretty happy with my progress. Just hope I can keep it up. My goal is to be finished before June.

Pregnancy - I really enjoyed this section. The nuts and bolts of conception is nothing short of a miracle. I truly don't see how anyone can study anything science related and not believe there is a higher power that designed all of this. Our bodies work through very complicated processes with ease. I learned about the various types of umbilical cords as well as the way baby descends into the birth canal. It's pretty amazing to learn how a baby's head is perfectly designed to fit their mother. Another new thing I learned is that the body is continually replacing amniotic fluid even throughout labor. Even after the bag has ruptured. Cool!

Labor & Birth - This section mainly works through the stages of labor. I most enjoyed learning of ways to monitor progress without the use of vaginal exams. The frequency & duration of contractions as well as the mother's mood and other involuntary responses can be good indicators of where she is at in the first stage. I also learned many pros for an actively managed 3rd stage of labor even though I'm always a fan less invasive, expectant management regarding the delivery of the placenta.

After the Birth - Here, the text talks about changes in the mother and baby after birth. It specifically touches on the differences between Baby Blues and Postpartum Depression. Significant changes happy in the baby as well. I most enjoyed seeing the video of the neonatal respiratory system and how it immediately changes following birth to begin to use the lungs. I was not a fan of the section regarding newborn testing and potential diseases. It was just tedious to read about things that are so rare.

Management of Labor - This section gets into the nitty gritty of active vs. expectant management of labor progress and the various interventions that are often performed. As mentioned previously, I much prefer low interference for labor. All the charts and time tables were tough to wrap my mind around since both have shown to have a higher C-section rate. This part of the course also discusses fetal monitoring and sites studies where this has not shown an increase in positive outcomes yet it continues to be used routinely in the United States. In fact, continuous fetal monitoring has actually shown to increase the C-section rate. *shaking my head*

In other news...
I have a mommy due soon. However, babies come in their own time so it could be any day between now and the next 2 weeks or so. I'm so excited. This baby will be born at The Farm, which is a dream come true for me to be able to experience. This baby's gender is also a surprise and I can't wait to meet this little person, whomever he or she is. This momma is a friend of mine and I am so looking forward to being labor support for her and the hubs. They are a dear, sweet family.

Monday, February 13, 2012

REVIEW: Spiritual Midwifery (Ina May Gaskin)

I recently completed this book as my 1st option from the Childbirth International reading list. My notes below are based on the questions I answered to complete my book review for the course.

What did you enjoy about this book?

Of course, I loved learning more about the birth and labor process but my favorite part of the book was reading about the early days of Ina May's career and The Farm. It was almost like midwifery chose her rather than the other way around. She just happened to be in the right place at the right time. There was also a need for someone to be knowledgeable about birthing babies. It seems as though the role fell to her by default. It was interesting to see how she progressed in her studies. Most of it was through good old fashioned experience. However, there was the occasion when a physician randomly stopped by and gave her an impromptu lesson which proved to be very valuable. She also began to glean information from textbooks and then met The Farm's long-time backup physician, Dr. Williams, who continued to help all of the midwives grow in knowledge.

What did you not like about this book?

My least favorite part of the book were the descriptions of the medical procedures that midwives may perform. While I think it is important to be aware of these procedures, I know that I will not ever need to, for example, put in stitches. There were also some in-depth sections on diagnosing different medical issues with mom and baby and the details of those tests performed. I think it's important to have working knowledge of these possibilities but I did not study those sections in depth.

What was the most significant thing you learned when reading this book?

A breech vaginal birth is uncommon in America these days. It was interesting to see how this event was handled back in the early days of The Farm where they automatically delivered the woman in the hospital under general anesthesia. I enjoyed reading how Ina May's forward thinking pushed the boundaries of the norm so that eventually these babies were able to be born at home and many times without an unnecessary episiotomy. Another significant section of the book that I enjoyed was learning about their adoption program. They offered their prenatal services free of charge for any woman who was unsure about keeping her baby. Out of more than 260 women, only 12 chose to give up their babies after delivery. It was fascinating to learn about the benefits and emotional stability that come with good prenatal care and education. Another good thing to note here is that good prenatal and labor & delivery care doesn't have to cost a fortune. Genuine concern for the mother's well being goes a lot farther than dollars can.

How do you think this book will affect your role as a doula?

I believe the birth stories will be the most beneficial to me as a doula. The way these women describe their labors makes it seem so very natural and an appropriate way to give birth. Very few cases were actual medical emergencies and thus the remainder were treated in such a way that allowed the mom to experience the joys that accompany childbirth. There were always many women around to encourage mom, help her get comfortable, note the energy level, and make recommendations regarding what they felt was working to get mom through her labor. These women, mainly her friends and family, were doulas themselves in a sense. It's refreshing to read about births where mom is comfortable and surrounded by people she loves and therefore brings her baby into this world in the most peaceful way possible.

Saturday, February 11, 2012

Reading Roundup

My favorite posts, articles, videos and more from this week. Enjoy!

C-sections aren't always best for preterm babies - "the researchers found that babies born via C-section were 30 percent more likely to develop respiratory distress syndrome. And this may have long term fallout for the babies..."

Big study: Vaccinated Kids 2-5 More Diseases Than Unvaccinated - My first thought when I saw this study was "I wonder how many of the nonvaxed kids were also breastfed or in families who make other "alternative" health choices. I do think the study could have been more controlled. Regardless, it still shows that "something" is at play here that is making a difference. However, not to discount the study, I feel that not vaccinating can quite easily be the key. By not vaxing, we never trick the immune system to start with. Therefore, the body learns to defend on it's own.

[Not surprisingly, this article got a lot of flack on Facebook from pro-vax individuals. Just so we are clear on my position, I don't have anything against parents who choose to vax. I would certainly prefer that they do it on a delayed schedule but that's obviously not my call. I have counseled many friends as they embarked upon this choice. Ultimately, their final decision doesn't matter to me. It matters that they took the time to ask questions, research it, and decide what route is best for their family. An educated decision, no matter what it is, always wins in my book.]

Birth Center Featured at Obama Administration's Announcement of the Strong Start Funding Initiative - "The recognition of he work of midwifery model birth centers and reducing the numbers of pre term births, low birth weight infants, and cesarean sections..."

Facebook Nurse-In: 60 Breastfeeding Moms Protest at Facebook Headquarters - Facebook has become notorious for suspending users and banning breastfeeding photos. These nurse-ins took place around the world at various FB HQ locations. This resulted in Facebook issuing a new statement regarding their position on the photos. While a nurse-in might seem extreme, they are certainly making a point to help normalize breastfeeding in public, which is protected by law in all states.