Mamas on Bedrest: Support for those supporting Mamas on Bedrest

August 12th, 2013

One of the most difficult things to do is to watch someone you love in pain. So for those of us who are mamas, imagine watching your child in pain? Most of us would gladly suffer any sort of pain or difficulty to spare our child suffering. But the reality is that our children are here on this earth on their own journeys, and those journeys include periods of pain and suffering.

If you are a member of our Facebook community, you know that we have been praying for and virtually supporting a Mama on Bedrest named Amber. Amber is a first time mama pregnant with a baby boy she has already named Christian. Amber has developed a severe case of Pre-eclampsia and is in critical condition. Her doctors have been doing everything possible to lower Amber’s blood pressures and to stabilize her body (under major stress and strain) so that Amber can remain pregnant for as long as possible and give Baby Christian the best possible start.

At the current time, Amber’s body has endured about all that it can and her doctors are determining at what point it will be necessary to deliver Christian. In the meantime, Amber’s husband Brett has had to stand by and watch, helplessly, as his wife battles for her life and the life of their unborn child. Likewise, Amber’s mother Kelley is watching in agony as her(bold italics) baby fights to give birth to a baby of her own.

While it is clear that Amber needs our love, support and prayers, we cannot forget that those around her, her loved ones, need love and support too! Studies show that caring for caregivers and supporters of those who are ill is as important (or more so) as supporting the ill family member! One must always remember, ill family members have a whole team of medical professionals tending to their every bodily need; they are feed, hydrated, medicated and a much as possible, kept comfortable. This is NOT the case for family members and loved ones! They are often keeping constant vigil at the hospital, maybe eating maybe not, are typically sleep deprived and sometimes have not showered or tended to their own personal needs in days. So as we continue to pray for and send healing thoughts to Amber and Christian, what should be done for her husband, her mother and other loved ones keeping vigil?

1. Bring nurtritous meals and snacks to the family. We all know that hospital food is less than tasty. Healthy, nutritious meals and snacks that require no heating and if possible no utensils are a great help to those keeping vigil. Sandwiches, dips (such as hummus) fresh fruits and vegetables, crackers or other flat breads along with water and juices are often best. Bringing such a meal in a cooler will enable loved ones to graze as they so desire. (often loved ones have little to no appetite, so it is best to avoid heavy meals and snacks!)

2. Come, sit and listen. Sometimes the best support is simply your presence. It’s hard to imagine the fear, anxiety and physical stress that Brett and Kelley and other loved ones are facing. So don’t try to wax philosophical. Let family members share as they need to. Hug them, hold them, but mostly listen to them. Sit quitely beside them. It’s not about what you (bold italic) do and how you feel doing it, its about being present for whatever support the family needs.

3. Offer to tend to matters at home. With all the focus on Amber and her baby, if there is a pet at home, they too are pretty stressed due to all the tension and change in schedule. Offering to walk and care for the dog or cat-or perhaps getting the pet to a kennel takes added weight off the shoulders of the family. Bring in the newspaper, collect the mail. Offer to do a light cleaning and tidying to the house. (Or pay for a housekeeper to come in and tidy up!) With all eyes focused on events at the hospital, it would be a great help to have someone handling the home front.

4. Help care for the older children. Many mamas on bed rest have older children at home. Imagine how confusing it must be to a toddler if mama is suddenly gone, you can’t see her and all the adults in your world are frantic? Likewise, school aged children may feel anxious because tasks normally done by mama are being done by someone else or not at all? Older children often hold tremendous guilt and anxiety for not being able to help or to ease the situation. If you cannot help at the hospital, perhaps helping at the home is best.

UPDATE: Little Christian was born on August 9 at 2:42 pm. He weighed in at 1lb 9 oz. Please continue to pray for Amber, Christian, Amber’s husband Brett, her mother Kelley and the rest of her loved ones keeping vigil for her in your prayers.

Mamas on Bedrest: No more C-Sections for Breech Births?

July 8th, 2013

If you are a mama in Australia or New Zealand, you may well be advised to have a vaginal birth-even if your baby is in breech position.

Reported in The Canberra Times by Kate Hagan, Revised guidelines from the Royal Australian and New Zealand College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists are advising that vaginal births are possible with breech presentations and should be attempted in appropriate women.

While this is a 180 degree shift from previous position statements, members of the college are recognizing that more breech presentation infants could have been born vaginally if health care staff were properly trained. According to College vice president Steve Robson,

“Only 3% of babies were in the breech position late in pregnancy and most were delivered by cesarean section, meaning few young doctors had the skills to perform vaginal births.”

In Australia and New Zealand, vaginal deliveries of breech births dropped from 23% in 1991 to 3.7 % in 2005 due to the shift to cesarean sections.  The shift occurred after an correspondence published in The Lancet in 2000 cited fewer risks delivering by cesarean sections. However, many doctors skilled in breech delivery question the study and the reported results.

Dr. Kobus du Plessis, a physician trained in South Africa, is particularly skeptical of the studies and is now training young doctors and midwives to attend breech births. According to du Plessis,

“Most deliveries are hand-off with breech births, and if all the criteria are fulfilled most of the time we don’t have to do anything. The reason you need experience, and the thing most people afraid of, is the head getting stuck.”

This is great news for mamas and babies worldwide. Whenever one nation or even one group makes major headway in a given treatment or technique, its not long before others seek them out to learn the skills and to disseminate the information and “technology”. Interestingly, in this case, it isn’t technology being sought, but lost skills and as Dr. du Plessis says, “lost art”. Long ago, physicians and midwives both used Leopolds Maneuvers and other manual manipulations to turn babies and facilitate vaginal births. As technology became more sophisticated, medical training became more focused on the technologies, setting aside many of the more “basic” skills needed.

And while technology is good, we are all becoming more aware that technology is not a suitable replacement for nature. The intricate interplay between mother and baby stimulating labor and delivery, passage of the infant through the birth canal and the immediate interaction between mother and baby in the immediate post partum cannot be replicated or substituted.  Removing these critical interactions via induction, cesarean delivery and by separating mama and baby in the immediate post partum are now being noted to be detrimental and the practices halted.

How will this affect births in the United States? Hopefully, obstetricians and midwives will take notice of the changes being made in Australia and New Zealand and will follow suite. Given the Cesarean Section rates and the maternal and infant morbidity and mortality rates, we need to make changes in this country. It would certainly be nice to keep it simple and do things as much in line with nature as possible.

Mamas on Bedrest: Online Live Childbirth Classes with Divine!

June 24th, 2013

Hello Mamas!

Just a quick post to let you know that there is an upcoming online childbirth education class that I highly recommend!

Divine's logo_203201_webMy friend and colleague Divine Izearth, owner and founder of Community Birth Companion, is presenting online childbirth education classes. The classes will be held on Tuesday the month of July, a total of 5 classes. To Participate, you will need a computer connection for visual notes on your computer, and a telephone for audio and interaction. The classes are very reasonably priced at $15/60 minute class or $65 for the entire session.

This is a great way to learn about your upcoming labor and delivery! You will receive tools and tips that will make your experience memorable and transformative. Where so many classes need to be live, this is a great way for Mamas on Bedrest to participate and receive quality childbirth education.  Register Today!