Monthly Archives: January 2012

UNC Recruiting for Study on Postpartum Depression

Postpartum depression is a debilitating condition that affects 10-15% of new mothers.  Researchers at UNC are investigating a promising new treatment for postpartum depression and recently came to speak to the WBWC staff about it.  Repetitive Transcranial Magnetic Stimulation (rTMS) is a treatment that uses magnetic fields to generate electrical currents in the areas of the brain believed to control mood.  This is a non-invasive, outpatient procedure.  40-minute sessions are performed five days a week over the course of 6 weeks. 
 The researchers are interested in recruiting women age 18-45 who have given birth to a healthy singleton baby in the past 12 months, and are currently depressed but are NOT taking antidepressants.  If you are interested in participating in the study, call the birth center for more details.

By |January 30th, 2012|News|0 Comments

Group Prenatal Care is Coming to WBWC!

     You may have read or heard about Group Prenatal Care coming to the Birth Center. Thanks to the overwhelming positive response from our patients, we will be officially starting our first session of “The Group” in February! This program was created specifically to meet the needs of our Birth Center patients. Allison Koch, CNM and Kate Layman, CNM will be the leaders of the The Group at WBWC.
     Our pilot group includes eight mamas who will begin their sessions in February. They will meet for ten 2-hour sessions of group prenatal care. We plan to start a new group each month. If you or someone you know has an August due date and is interested in participating, let us know. The next group, which will be led by Kate, will start in March and is tentatively considering meeting on Tuesday mornings.

     We’d like to give a great big thanks to everyone who took the time to give us their feedback. It’s because of you that we are able to launch this wonderful program for our moms-to-be!


By |January 27th, 2012|News|0 Comments

New Arrivals

Malachi Elijah Wells – 10 lbs., 2 oz. – December 2

Harper Olive Bell – 6 lbs., 13 oz. – December 2

Lucia Rose Richards – 8 lbs. – December 5

Emma Frances Romanchuk – 9 lbs., 3 oz. – December 5

Ezra Wright Ballard – 7 lbs., 9 oz. – December 7

Grant Henry Miceli – 6 lbs., 5 oz. – December 7

John Brady Willis – 6 lbs., 13 oz. – December 10

Ryan Douglas Shoaf, Jr. – 9 lbs., 5 oz. – December 12

Tilden Elliot Hart – 9 lbs., 1 oz. – December 13

Ewan Michael Pellas – 8 lbs., 2 oz. – December 15

Pippa Corinne Clark – 7 lbs. – December 16

John Walker Mobley – 8 lbs., 6 oz. – December 18

Navilee Amber Jones – 9 lbs., 5 oz. – December 18

Elliot Elizabeth Schulien – 6 lbs., 9 oz. – December 21

Nora Anne Dezendorf – 9 lbs., 10 oz. – December 22

Adah Joy Frey – 7 lbs., 2 oz. – December 25

Opal Merriweather Wood – 9 lbs., 4 oz. – December 27

Zora Rose Graber – 6 lbs., 8 oz. – December 28

Ryan Andrew Navarro – 7 lbs., 14 oz. – December 29

Eleanor Ruby Oldham – weight – December 29

Daisy Lynn Bacon – 8 lbs., 10 oz. – December 29

Penelope King – 7 lbs. – December 30

Lucius Alexander Mealer – 7 lbs., 7 oz. – December 30

By |January 26th, 2012|News|0 Comments

A New Year’s Gift: The Birth Story of Rowan Juedi Kirkley

by Amber Kirkley

I always knew I wanted a natural birth. My mother, my mother-in-law, and my sister-in-law had a total of 8 children naturally. My brother had been delivered 27 years ago by Maureen Darcey and her partners at the birth center in Siler City, Chatham County.  Although I only remember pieces of it, I was present at his delivery. Hence, I had met Maureen when I was just 5 years old.  The day I found out I was pregnant, I called the birth center to schedule a tour. I was excited about the prospect of continuing the tradition of natural birth in my family.

          In the months leading up to my daughter’s birth, I talked to many people about my plans for a natural birth. I was always interested to see people’s reactions. It seems that natural birth causes a polarity of responses. People often are either really into it or simply think you are crazy.  People asked if I was scared about the pain of natural birth. Since this was my first child, I could not say that I was scared. In fact, I had no idea what to expect. I had read every book I could get my hands on, spent countless hours on the internet, and taken a wonderful natural childbirth class taught by a close friend’s mother, but I still had no idea what labor was going to be like. What I did have was the confidence that many women had gone before me in giving birth naturally, and I felt strongly that I, too, would be able to have a natural labor and birth. I also felt increasingly confident in the midwives I would be working with during this experience.

          I was nervous throughout my pregnancy that it would not work out for me to have the baby at the birth center. I had borderline high blood pressure, and I was always concerned I would develop pre-eclampsia. As my due date approached, I was so thrilled to not be pre-eclamptic, I gained mental energy and strength.  I am a nurse, so I worked 12 hours on December 30th, my last scheduled shift. I was hoping that my baby would be born very soon. My due date was New Year’s Day and honestly, I did not want to be sitting around without a baby in my arms for 2 weeks at the start of my maternity leave.

          As if my daughter heard my request, the following morning at 5:30 A.M., I woke up with some cramping and thought I might be having contractions. I tried timing a few and it seemed like they were coming every 15 or 20 minutes. I went back to sleep until around 9:30. When I got up, I still felt like I was having contractions.  I timed them again, and they were about 10 minutes apart.  Even though I felt like this might be “true” labor, I still had this feeling like, “Am I making this up? Is this really happening?”  Around 12:30, my husband, Luke, convinced me to call the birth center and give them the heads up.  I got on the phone and talked with Emily, the midwife.  The plan was to call her back in a couple of hours and give her the update as to how I was progressing.

Throughout the day I had contractions that slowly got closer together and slowly got more powerful. I rocked on the birthing ball, my husband applied counter pressure on my back, we went for walks, and we relaxed at the house on the beautiful last day of 2011.  Since our farm is 45 minutes from the birth center, around 5:30 P.M., we made the decision to go to my parents’ home, which is 15 minutes from the birth center. I called Emily and let her know that the contractions were still about 7 minutes apart. Again, we made the plan for me to call Emily back in a couple of hours with progress. Over the next 5 hours, things continued to slowly progress.

With the next check up around 10:30 P.M., Emily suggested that I take a hot bath and some Benadryl to slow my contractions and try to get a couple of hours of sleep. I got into a hot bath and relaxed. My contractions spaced out to more than 15 minutes apart and were barely painful. I took some Benadryl. My best friend, my brother, his girlfriend, my father, and my husband were all there, and at 12:00 midnight everyone toasted an exciting new year ahead. I laid down to try to get some sleep. I was thrilled to think that when I woke up, likely we would head to the birth center and my daughter would join us in this world.

          I consider my labor to have 2 parts: the calm and peaceful first half, and the crazy second half.  As I laid down on the bed, thus ended the first half of my labor. Not 15 minutes after getting into bed, I was rocked by a strong contraction. I got up to go to the bathroom and my water broke. Almost instantly, I transitioned from contractions 15 minutes apart to contractions that were coming every minute and a half, and hurt with a 10 out of 10 pain.  Luke called the birth center, and even before they called us back, we were all on the way.  

No matter how much I had read or learned about, I still was not prepared for the intensity of the contractions.  Each one felt like it hurt everywhere. I felt like I was having both regular front labor and back labor.  I was extremely thankful to be taking a 15-minute ride instead of a 45-minute ride to the birth center. I was happy when I finally got there and saw Emily’s and Missy’s faces. I was praying that I was in transition and this was not simply what active labor felt like. I was always nervous I might come in too early and be disappointed at how far I had dilated. When Emily told me I was 7 cm and fully effaced, I was thrilled and proud of myself. In my head I could see the words in What to Expect, “Transition should last 15 minutes to 2 hours.”  By my calculation, I was already about 30-45 minutes in, so I was in the home stretch. I got some antibiotics, due to being Group B strep positive, and got into the bathtub. 

Through this part of my labor, I am most thankful that I was completely unaware of the clock in the room because it seemed like transition was lasting a lot longer than my expectation of 2 hours.  One of the most important coping mechanisms I had at this point was simply to stay in the present moment, not thinking about the past or the future, but simply getting through one contraction at a time. I spent time in the bathtub.  I spent time walking around. I made a lot of low guttural animalistic noises. I chanted mantras to help me mentally move the child down and out of my body. I marched rhythmically while leaning on a counter. My husband and best friend applied a remarkable amount of counter-pressure to my back.  Although I am not sure I was prepared for the pain, I felt like my body was taking over and telling me what I needed to do to birth this child. It was an extremely awesome and powerful feeling.

Finally, around 4:00 am, Emily checked me and said I was 10 cm dilated, and I could try to start pushing.  I had this expectation that as the pushing phase started I would experience some relief from the pain on transition. Unfortunately, this was not the case for me. The pain changed. It did not feel as much like it was all over, but I had an intense, stabbing pain in my lower abdomen every time I pushed. I was also extremely tired, since I had been in labor for almost 24 hours, it was early in the morning, and I had taken Benadryl 4 hours earlier.

It took me a while to get the hang of pushing. After 45 minutes of pushing, I finally asked Emily how far I had progressed. She said that I was progressing, but the progress was slow.  I was a little disappointed, but this also gave me the motivation to push even harder to try to speed the process up.  Emily suggested I try emptying my bladder, so I went to the bathroom.  There in the bathroom, I finally was able to push more effectively. It was not the way I imagined it, and it was not the prettiest sight, but it worked, and that was the most important thing to me. 

After pushing in the bathroom for a while, Emily suggested that we check and see how I was progressing. I was thankful when she said we had made significant progress. Another half an hour of pushing and the time came close for my daughter to make her entrance into this world.  I was so tired by this point, but completely focused on pushing.  After my daughter’s head crowned, it took some quick extra maneuvering into several different pushing positions to help open up my pelvis enough to fit the rest of her body through the birth canal. With the help of Emily and Missy’s skilled hands, Baby Rowan was born at 6:15 am on New Year’s Day. I later learned from Emily that Rowan had a shoulder dystocia, a condition where the shoulder is not easily able to fit through the birth canal.

After Rowan was born, she needed a little extra help to get her breathing well. Emily and Missy had everything they needed in the room to be able to give her the extra support. Luke was rubbing her body, using his touch to encourage her to breathe better. I heard Emily say her heart rate was good. Because of this, I had a lot of faith that everything was going to be fine. A strong sense of calm came over me and I felt extremely connected with my sweet baby girl. Although her first Apgar score was low, after a minute or two, I heard her first precious cry, and started seeing her color change to a rosy pink.  By 5 minutes, her Apgar score was an 8.  Rowan was breathing on her own and crying heartily. After some time, things calmed down and we weighed and measured baby Rowan. She was a whopping 9 pounds, 12 ounces, and 22 inches long. This was a surprise, but it certainly helped explain the reason for the shoulder dystocia.

People have asked me if there was ever a point when I wished I was in the hospital instead of the birth center. I can honestly say that there was never a point I did not feel completely comfortable in the hands of Emily and Missy at the birth center. I think if I had been at the hospital they would have wanted me to have a C-section because she was so big, and they might have admitted Rowan to the NICU because of the shoulder dystocia. Neither of these interventions were ultimately needed.
Even though there were some tense moments in the end, I was still able to have the natural birth I always wanted.  Labor was hard work, there was pain involved, and there were some scary moments.  However, labor was also exciting, awe-inspiring, and even peaceful at times. I believe sharing this range of emotion with my family, friends, the midwives, nurses, and my daughter is why it was so valuable to me to carry on the tradition of natural birth at the birth center.
I am thankful for the help, skill, and confidence of Emily and Missy in birthing my daughter.  I am also extremely thankful for the tireless work of the midwives and nurses at the Women’s Birth and Wellness Center. They have all helped make these experiences possible for generations of women and their families in North Carolina. With our family, friends, and birthing center community, we are thrilled to celebrate the arrival of our New Year’s gift, Rowan Juedi Kirkley.

By |January 26th, 2012|Birth Stories|1 Comment

Aromatherapy Blend: Morning Sickness Relief

By Allison Koch, CNM

10 drops peppermint essential oil
10 drops bergamot or a citrus like orange or lemon oil

Add to a small amount of a carrier oil like almond, jojoba, or apricot kernel. Mix well. Put a few drops in an aromatherapy diffuser, or on a tissue tucked in your pocket – whatever will keep it accessible to you as you go about your day. I liked the tissue in my pocket, because I found the nausea hit me at odd times, and I could just take a sniff as needed.

Another scent to try is cinnamon oil, which is good for a variety of things, including anxiety, but also nausea. Cinnamon has a strong aroma and is best alone or blended with something light like neroli (orange blossom).

There are some oils that are considered unsafe for use in early pregnancy due to their ability to make the uterus contract: oregano, basil, thyme, marjoram, and sage. I have also heard conflicting things about lavender oil in first trimester, so probably best to avoid it early in pregnancy.

By |January 26th, 2012|News|0 Comments

My Second Birth Story

By Claire C. McKiernan

          “Light the candles,
          Get the ice out,
          Roll the rug up,
          It’s today.”
          These are the beginning lyrics to the song “It’s Today” from the musical Mame (lyrics by Jerry Herman). I hadn’t watched Mame recently, and I had no reason for it to be in my head. Still, these lyrics were blaring in my brain as I woke up with a start early on October 1, 2005. Apparently my sub-conscience was telling me something. As I lay in bed wondering why this song was stuck in my head, repeating over and over, I suddenly felt this huge surge, like an oceanic wave followed by a “pop!” in my belly. It was close to 6:30 a.m., and I nudged my husband, Mike, to tell him my water had just broken.
          I had no contractions, so I showered and went about my business of eating breakfast, and reading to our 2-year-9-month-old, Christina. She and I watched “Thomas and Friends,” and by 8 a.m. I noticed light, crampy contractions. I called the midwives and then my parents so my mom would be ready for the trip to the birth center. My dad arrived to pick up Christina for the day.
          I finished decorating the house for Halloween and removed the lemon pound cake I had made a month earlier from the freezer. This was to be our second child’s “original birthday cake”.  Mike finished making the fresh strawberry sauce I was reducing on the stove for the topping, so I could rest. I kept in touch with Maureen, the midwife on duty that day, but was not eager to arrive too early as I had done nearly three years earlier. She trusted me to go with my gut feeling on when to head over to the birth center.
          By noon my contractions were stronger. We left for the birth center about 1pm, picking up my mother along the way, and arriving at 2pm. I asked for, and received, the same birthing room where Christina had been born.  I was half-way dilated and spent some time on the birthing ball and then on the bed. I had practiced the relaxation and calm, deep breathing of the Bradley Method so often that the nurse told Mike she couldn’t always tell when I was having a contraction! I needed absolute quiet, Mike to rub my lower back, and the complete cooperation of those around me to get through my contractions. I doubt I would have achieved such inner calm had I been surrounded by machines and the bustle of hospital staff!
          Maureen recommended getting in the tub. I was nervous because I had done this briefly in my first labor and had found the contractions to be more painful. She told me to just try it; I could always get out. Maybe it was because I was more relaxed this time around, but I liked the tub, and I dilated quickly in the space of an hour. Maureen suggested getting out of the tub and back on the bed. Though I had not planned a water birth, I informed her that I didn’t think I could move, and I really needed to push!
          A very short time later (about 15 minutes?), at 4:17pm, I gloriously gave birth to our 22.5 inch, 9 lb. 15 oz. son, Thomas Michael. The water birth was not only much easier, but I have always been grateful I gave birth that way since Tommy was born with the cord wrapped around his neck three times. Under water, he was not yet using his lungs to breathe in air, but was receiving oxygen through the cord, as he had in the womb.  Maureen had time to slip the cord off his neck before bringing him up for his first real breath. She slipped my lovely baby onto my tummy and we were delighted to discover that we had a son to even out the family.
          Maureen gave me one stitch for a small surface tear, which she said was more of a badge of honor than anything else. After that, Mike, Tom, and I rested comfortably on the bed. I was soon calling Christina and my dad, along with other family members, resting, nursing, and eating great food that my mom had brought along. My mom helped me to shower and we blissfully and eagerly headed for home around 9:45pm.
          Since that day, whenever I watch Mame I think of Tommy’s birthday. One of the last stanzas to “It’s Today” was so meaningful and prophetic that day that it still brings tears to my eyes:

 “Someone gave me a wonderful present,
 Something I needed and yet never knew,
So start the whistling and clapping,
  ‘Cause under the wrapping was you.”

By |January 26th, 2012|Birth Stories|0 Comments

WBWC Board Update

by Kaaren Haldeman

Happy New Year to everyone! We are starting off the new year by bringing in some great new people to serve on our board. You may even see some of the nominees at the birth center for tours and interviews. We are excited about expanding and beginning the process of raising money for our new birth center. We will welcome new board members in February, so keep an eye out for the next newsletter when we will introduce them. Have a great January, and let’s all look forward to the Year of the Dragon!

By |January 26th, 2012|News|0 Comments

What’s New at the Boutique

By |January 26th, 2012|News|0 Comments

Feedback: Help the WBWC Help You!

By Claire C. McKiernan

          Nine years ago, when I gave birth to my first child, I was given an in-depth Postpartum Care Guide from the birth center on what to expect of my baby and myself, and how to get myself back into the swing of things. I have no doubt that someone put a great deal of time into the guide, most likely in her very hard-to-find spare time. I found it enormously helpful, but as a former technical writer and editor, I was put off by the typos in the booklet. They just kept catching my eye.

At first I overlooked it, but it gnawed at me. I was so thrilled with the care I received at the birth center that I truly wanted everything, right down to the dotted i’s and crossed t’s in the Postpartum Care Guide, to be impressive. I saw an opportunity for improvement and mentioned it to Maureen Darcey. It seemed so trifling that I’m not sure I expected much of a response. However, Maureen took my request very seriously. In fact, before the end of our conversation, she had already found a top-notch former technical writer and editor to revise the booklet!

What’s my point? Maureen and the staff at The Women’s Birth and Wellness Center want you to know that they strive to make your visits as stress-free and pleasant as possible. In order to provide the best care possible, the staff needs your feedback, both good and bad. Even if it seems trifling, if it bothers you, it can probably be improved.

If you are unhappy for any reason, have concerns, or suggestions for improvement, let Maureen Darcey or Brianna Honea ( know. All emails sent to Brianna concerning patient care will also be forwarded to Maureen. Additionally, you will receive a 6-week postpartum survey or GYN survey that prompts you for feedback. PLEASE fill this out, and if you have a grievance, leave your name so that Maureen or Brianna can contact you. They review each and every survey carefully and will follow-up with you if you had any concerns.

Since its birth, the WBWC has grown, much like a child, by leaps and bounds. But also like a child, there may be times when caring guidance and advice are necessary for it to reach its full potential. While the WBWC staff asks for your patience and understanding during the most active growth spurts, they encourage your advice and assistance (where applicable) in helping it to be the best it can be.

By |January 26th, 2012|News|0 Comments