Thursday, May 28, 2009

Back from Vegas and ready to catch!

I am now back from a 5 day trip to Vegas! My sister (Amy) tied the knot in a very sweet ceremony on Sunday! I was so happy to be there to witness this special event. It is so awesome to see her so in love! I think my favorite part of being in Vegas (besides the wedding) was people-watching. If you like people watching (like myself) then Vegas is the place to go! You see people from all realms of life. Now, that I am back in the berg, I have a feeling I am going to be very busy catching babies! We have a lot of women due and two that are now overdue! I guess they just had to wait on me to get my catcher's mitt are some pics from the wedding! Two of the pics are my sister and I and there is one of me with my mom!

Friday, May 15, 2009

How is this for a belly laugh? The pregnant women who decorate their bumps with amazing artwork!

A friend of mine from college recently had someone do some artwork for her belly! The photographs of her baby bump were amazing! Today, I saw this article and thought I would share! It must be becoming more popular! I think I dig it!:)

It's the most exciting time in a woman's life - and, for some, the best way to commemorate the experience of pregnancy is with a painted belly. From a life-like depiction of an unborn baby to goldfish swimming in a bowl, the options for what to paint are limitless.

An increasing number of women are using face paints to decorate their baby bump.
Manufactured to be gentle on the skin, face paints shouldn't stain, although it's advisable to first test any paint on a hidden section of your body to make sure it can be removed easily...


Thursday, May 14, 2009

Would you like a burrito?

A couple of weeks ago I was making rounds at the hospital on a baby I had delivered a day prior. As I entered the room I noticed the baby was very cranky and experiencing some nicotine withdrawal (as the mother was a smoker throughout the pregnancy). The mother was very frustrated and stated she had recently breastfed and changed the baby's diaper. The baby's arms were flailing as the mother held the baby in her arms. I gently took the baby to examine him and afterwards I swaddled him snuggly. A strange thing then happened--the baby quickly stopped crying. The mother immediately started smiling and took a sigh of relief. She then asked why I was wrapping the baby like a burrito! She couldn't believe that something so simple could have such a large impact on the baby's disposition. I then explained to her that the custom of wrapping babies snugly in light cloths or sheets has been used for centuries. Swaddling also most likely reminds the baby of being in the womb--which is comforting. I remember my travels to Africa and how the mothers that I worked with had the act of swaddling down to an art. They had seen the act of swaddling done as routine and it was an automatic given that you swaddle your newborn. Since being a midwife I have taught my mothers how to swaddle their newborn babies, but haven't stopped to actually research the act of swaddling. I found through research that swaddling has been linked to a decreased risk of SIDS, improved sleep, and reduced crying in the newborn. I also found that research advocates only swaddling for the first two months. Too much swaddling after this age can interfere with muscle development and the normal development of the ball and socket joint of the hip of the baby. Also, a baby starts to turn over around the age of two months so swaddling could become a safety issue.

Here are some detailed instructions on how to properly swaddle a baby:

1. Lay the blanket out on a flat surface in the shape of a diamond.
2. Fold down three or four inches of the top edge of the blanket.
3. Place your baby on the blanket so that his head is overlapping the top edge you turned down.
4. Tuck your baby's right arm into the flap made by the folded down edge of the blanket and the right corner of the blanket. Pull that corner across his body, tucking it behind the opposite side of his back.
5. Bring the bottom corner of the blanket up and tuck it inside the blanket near his chest.
6. Tuck your baby's left arm into the flap made by the folded down edge of the blanket and the left corner of the blanket. Pull that corner across his body, tucking it behind the blanket on his back.

If you have problems swaddling your baby, you can actually buy a swaddling blanket with Velcro flaps to make the procedure easier!

PS I enclosed a picture of my midwife partner, Leigh, swaddling a baby and giving it her sugar thumb!


Sunday, May 10, 2009

The Other Midwife

Happy Mother's Day.

My dear friend Anna gave me a nice mother's day present today. Even though I am not on call we had a family that was due any day. I have assisted this couple in the birth of their other children and really wanted to be with them for this baby. Anna graciously let me midwife for them again even though it was her turn.

The work of giving birth is so astounding. Most of us do labor in the true sense of the word. Most of us also think we can't do it right before we do. As I cupped my hands to receive this child from her body I again remembered the birth of my two sons. As I handed the baby into her waiting arms I again felt the weight of my children on my abdomen, in my arms and always in my heart. As the father cut the cord he started the process of letting their child go. Our children, newborn or grown, here with us or gone, always in out hearts.

There is a new little boy in the world today. Happy Mother's day.

Thursday, May 7, 2009

Notes from a father...

In my last blog I mentioned my friends Shaun and Jessica and the previous birth of their daughter, Madison. Shaun recently wrote a paper on breastfeeding for college and shared it with me at a recent OB visit. I thought this paper did an excellent job of pointing out the benefits of breastfeeding! Also, how often do we hear a father's point of view on such an important topic? Read and enjoy...

A Booby For My Baby

By: Shaun L Ratcliff

Is breastfeeding more beneficial for our infants and young children than the use of formulas? Breastfeeding has been around since the dawn of time and is once again a vital part of the lives, health, and development of our children and mothers. My wife and I were both breastfed as infants and all of our children either have been or will be breastfed for their first year at a minimum. A mother's bond between their children is crucial to the well being of the child; this bond is greatly affected through their mother's breast. Science has proven in multiple studies that breastfeeding decreases the likelihood of many diseases, infections, viruses and even Sudden Infant Death Syndrome (SIDS) in the children and the reduction of Breast and Ovarian Cancer in the mother. Although, it may only be a few points, breastfeeding has also shown to increase their child's IQ and cognitive development in comparison to formulas. Breastfeeding is a wonderful, natural, and healthy way of taking care of your children.

Bonding with our children is something that each and every one of us strives to accomplish at some point early in their lives. There is no other bond like the bond of a breastfeeding child and their mother. Mothers have a special bond that can only be achieved through the suckling of a child on its mother's breast; just read what Mrs. Ratcliff said in an interview in December 2008, “to look into her eyes was instant love when she first latched on to me. I knew right then, that there would never be anything that could tear us away from each other. The longer she fed, the happier and healthier she became as she got older.” According to an article on http://www.hugthe/, Warwick University scientists have made a direct correlation between the secretion of a hormone called Oxytocin and the suckling of a mother's breast. This reaction causes a positive feedback loop where the greater the concentration the faster oxytocin is produced and the stronger the emotion there is. So, when your child is breastfeeding your body is releasing hormones faster and faster that tells you to love them more and more and more. Now how can you beat that? More mothers should breastfeed their children because of the many benefits it provides for their children, their family bonding, and the exposure of society to a motherhood pastime.

Sudden Infant Death Syndrome or SIDS has to be one of the most feared early childhood problems in a family after they bring their child home from the hospital. Did you know that just by breastfeeding you can significantly reduce the chances of SIDS occurring in your home? Within the first few hours after delivery a mother's colostrom is letdown as she begins her first few feedings. Colostrom is probably the greatest thing that you can immediately provide for your baby; it has thousands of antibodies from many of the diseases that the mother has been exposed to. According to the American Academy of Pediatrics website, human milk decreases the incidence and severity of diarrhea, lower respiratory infection, ear infections, bacterial meningitis, and urinary tract infections. Studies show a protective effect of breastfeeding against SIDS as well. Cancer is heart wrenching on a family and mortal to many. Breast cancer can take away the self esteem from just about every woman that develops it; but breastfeeding helps to reduce its occurrence as well. According to, “Breast feeding still lowered breast cancer risk by 4.3% for every year of feeding. There is also a 7% reduction in
risk of breast cancer for each child born.” I don't know of a better way of taking care of our children and our families than to breastfeed. Formulas just don't do the same things as traditional, old fashion booby milk.

Formula fed babies don't get the same nutrients that breast milk gives. Everything that comes from the breast during letdown is natural and is always the perfect amount at the perfect rate and the perfect temperature. So what does that mean; it doesn.t have any of the extra added hormones or whey protein that may come with formula, you won't have to go out and look for that bottle with the nipple designed by someone other than you based on another woman's breast and child, hoping that once you warm the formula it will now be perfect for the baby. Enfamil makes many different specified types of formula for problems such as colic, gas, spitting up; but still, why pay for all of these when breast milk is free, easy, convenient, and more beneficial. Breastfed babies traditionally have a higher IQ than most children and their cognitive development happens at a faster rate, giving them the opportunity to learn more before they enter Kindergarten. There was a study done called Breastfeeding and Child Cognitive Development by Dr Michael S. Kramer, MD; which studied breastfed infants and their IQ scores at the age of 6 on the Wechsler Abbreviated Scales of Intelligence. The study found that the scores for verbal IQ increased up to 14.3 points, 9.1 points for performance IQ and the full-scale IQ was as high as 12.8 points. My daughter is just about 2 years old now, and she has a huge vocabulary. She is using full sentences with proper mannerisms, states what things are and know most of her colors. I contribute a lot of this to breastfeeding and the study cited above can concur. The study also concluded by stating, “Based on the largest randomized trial ever conducted in the area of human lactation, provide strong evidence that prolonged and exclusive breastfeeding improves children's cognitive development.” I highly recommend that all children are breastfed, if at all possible, for the first twelve months or longer.

Without a shadow of a doubt breastfeeding is the way to go. The overall benefits are just phenomenal. Mothers who are bonding with their children could have a global impact on things like the reduction in crime just by breastfeeding. Sounds farfetched right? Think about it; smarter people commit less crime and secure children who have strong bonds with their parents are more productive in life. Convinced? These breastfed children live healthier lives because of the passage of colostrom and antibodies from the mother to baby. Also, there has been a decreased incidence of breast and ovarian cancer in the mothers as well as the babies well on into adulthood. Breastfeeding increases children's IQ and cognitive development in just a few years; formula doesn't have that same impact on children. Sometimes it may be hard on the mother and it may hurt at first, be persistent and breastfeed. Nowhere else in the world can a child receive these benefits in such enormity than by providing a booby for the baby!

Wednesday, May 6, 2009

The tree of life...

It's amazing how one day can change everything. We tend to take life for granted not realizing that each day is an amazing gift. I feel like I have experienced one end of the life spectrum, witnessing a birth, and the other end, being death...all in one weeks time. On Friday, I had the awesome opportunity to deliver my friends Shawn and Jessica's baby. I delivered their first baby as well! The birth was beautiful and I can't get over just how stinkin pretty their baby is! What a blessing to be a part of witnessing Shawn and Jessica's family grow. I hope to catch many more for them.:) I am including a picture of Madison!

The day after witnessing this amazing birth I learned the heart-breaking news that my grandmother is dying. She is my best friend and I still think I am in shock. She has played such a vital role in my Christian walk. She has never been in the hospital and lives a very active life--still driving, living by herself, and gardening--at 83 years old. I am so blessed to have been so close to my grandmother for the past 29 years. Imagining life without her is so hard to fathom. My grandmother and I have talked openly about death throughout the years and she is very much at peace about dying. She states she is ready to "graduate." What a healthy way to view death--for we are all graduating if you think about it;) I ask that you guys please remember her in your prayers. My upmost desire is that she will "graduate" without suffering and as peacefully as possible.