Monthly Archives: April 2012

Tell Me Your Food and Odor Aversions!

by Claire C. McKiernan

  I am working on a follow-up to my Food Cravings article for next month. Whether or not you experienced (or are experiencing) food cravings, you may have had some serious food or odor aversions during pregnancy. Please email me at with the subject title “WBWC:Aversions” (or something similar). I will not use any names in the article! However, if you have a specific anecdote to share and want me to use your name, let me know.  Thanks!

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

New Arrivals

Adah Lynn Stenersen – 9 lbs., 13 oz – October 17

Gabriel Christopher Slaughter – 7 lbs., 14 oz. – February 1

*Grey Allen Desloge – 8 lbs., 10 oz. – February 5

Reilly Heron Ceartas – 8 lbs., 14 oz. – February 17

Abram Patrick Kelly – 8 lbs., 3 oz. – February 27

*Elliora Ruth Groseclose –9 lbs. – March 1

Connor Agostino Cutrara – 8 lbs., 15 oz. – March 2

Audarya Nieve Conn – 8 lbs., 13 oz. – March 2

Brieanne Abrigail Bissonnette – 8 lbs., 10 oz. – March 3

*Zyra Jade Holmes – 8 lbs., 4 oz. – March 3

*Adeline Rebecca Cronlund – 7 lbs, 7 oz. – March 4

Madeline Eloise Brown – 7 lbs., 9 oz. – March 5

*Roscoe Brubeck McLendon – 9 lbs., 1 oz. – March 8

Shepherd James Powlas  – 8 lbs., 13 oz. – March 10

Gavin Rhys Towle – 9 lbs., 2 oz. – March 14

Micah Hall White – 8lbs., 8oz. – March 16th

Giavanna Lützow Gentile Plonk – 6 lbs., 10 oz. – March 18

Eleanor Rose Waldorp – 8 lbs. – March 18

Baby Boy Nassim – 8 lbs., 9 oz. – March 21

Hunter Louis Bahntge – 8 lbs., 2 oz. – March 23

*Matheus Ivan Gapeyev – 8 lbs., 8 oz. – March 25

*Wyatt Cole Scott- 9 lbs., 5 oz. – March 26

Christopher Raymond O’Neal – 9 lbs., 2 oz. – March 27

Willow Roan Colón – 8 lbs., 2 oz. – March 29

Vivien Layne Von Kracke – 7 lbs., 10 oz. – March 30

Elliot Bren Almon – 9 lbs. – March 30
*pictured above

Courtney Cole Scott with son Wyatt and mom Lyn Cole. Wyatt is wearing the same t-shirt (hand-stitchced by Lyn to read “Birth Place Baby”) that Courtney wore home from the Florida birth center where she was born 32 years ago!

If you would like your baby’s birth announced in the newsletter, send an email with baby’s name, date of birth, and weight to  You can also include a picture.  We’d like to hear from all WBWC moms, whether your baby was born at the birth center or UNC!

By |April 28th, 2012|News|0 Comments

Harper’s Story: A Different Path

By Elizabeth*

When I discovered I was pregnant, I knew a birth center and natural childbirth were what I wanted. I was happy to learn I lived five minutes from one of the only birth centers in NC (and one of the largest in the country). After an orientation, my once-hesitant partner was completely on board; we felt excited, and I felt no fear about the birth. I read books about natural child birth and breastfeeding and was looking forward to it. Being in a hospital was not an option, and I would never have a C-section or not breastfeed. I remained strong when dubious friends told me, “Hospitals are better” or “You can hurt your baby by not being in a hospital,” and I sought support from loved ones who were on the same page. I had a challenging pregnancy, but I was hopeful for a natural birth. I knew what I wanted and would will it into being.

At 32 weeks, a midwife suggested an ultrasound because I was measuring small. The ultrasound revealed low amniotic fluid, a low baby weight, and that the baby was breech. It felt stressful, but I had faith it would work out. The baby began to gain weight, and the fluid was low but stable. If we could get the baby to flip (which we would), we could deliver at the birth center.

For several weeks I tried everything to flip the baby—inversion positions, Chinese moxibustion, frozen peas on the baby’s head, acupuncture, chiropractic treatments, swimming, yoga poses, and standing on my head in the pool. When those didn’t work, we did an external version at UNC, all the while having faith the baby would flip. Again, I would never have a C-section; the baby would turn, and I would deliver naturally.

The external version was the most painful thing I’ve ever experienced. At one point, I asked if the pain was like labor because, if so, I couldn’t do it. One OB replied that the version was much worse and was more like human torture. After several agonizing tries, it didn’t work. I wasn’t prepared for the physical pain. I felt beaten up and unsettled after the procedure; the soreness lasted for days, and I had scratches and bruises on my belly. I also wasn’t prepared emotionally for the disappointment when it didn’t work. I felt desperate and fearful. The head obstetrician, who was very kind and supportive, offered to try another version before the C-section, this time under anesthesia. Overwhelmed, I had to think about it.

I felt devastated at the thought of a C-section. I couldn’t understand how I came to this point, or how I could do it. My fear amplified and, most of all, I felt exhausted. I was tired of trying to flip the baby, tired of trying to figure out a way to deliver a breech baby naturally, and worn out from debating another version. I always thought I’d do anything possible to deliver naturally, including as many versions as possible. But now I was exhausted and began to worry about how our efforts might be affecting a baby that didn’t seem to want to turn.

After deciding against another version and hoping the baby would flip at the last minute (the baby would turn and we would all have a good laugh), I had a C-section birth at UNC on December 2, where our beautiful Harper came into the world. While I was upset, I was glad I had time to come to terms with it and process it. And, it ended up being a pretty positive experience. After researching how to make a C-section a better experience, I proposed some changes to the OBs and anesthesiologist, and they were agreeable and supportive. They readily agreed to turn down the main operating room lights to create a more relaxed environment, to put my IVs and pulse monitor on my non-dominant hand and nothing on my dominant hand so I could better handle the baby, to place my chest monitors higher to allow me to put the baby immediately on my chest, to slightly delay cutting the cord and pull the cord blood into the baby, to let us see and announce the baby’s gender, and to talk about the placenta. (I also tried to get them to let me see the baby being pulled out of me, but they wouldn’t agree to that; however, my partner was able to see it in the reflection in one of the lights, and I’m glad one of us got to see Harper being born.) I didn’t feel judged because I was a birth center patient, and the midwives present, Emily and Leigh Ann, knew the staff well and advocated for me. During the procedure, the staff communicated everything they were doing, which helped me feel like I was experiencing the birth. Harper went straight to my partner, then to me, then with us to our room. We were supported in our decision to decline the bath, the eye cream, and the Hepatitis B shot, and to delay the Vitamin K shot. The experience wasn’t perfect; I was frustrated when a nurse wouldn’t let our doula into the recovery room and with the plethora of random and unnecessary people who came into our room. But, overall, I felt supported by most people I met, including kind nurses and a great lactation consultant who spent three days with us.

Also, little did I know at the time that some of our biggest challenges were to come. After coming home, I hurt my back, had mastitis, and was bed-bound. Harper won’t latch on and my milk production is low, so I have to pump and supplement with formula; I’ve never been able to naturally breastfeed. I didn’t let myself rest like I should have, which delayed my recovery. Eight weeks after the birth, I am battling my second round of C. diff, an intestinal mega bug infection I likely contracted at the hospital and that ran rampant due to antibiotics from the surgery and mastitis. Baby Harper has to wear a full-body harness for three months to correct hip dysplasia and is undergoing regular physical therapy for torticollis (twisted neck). She also has plagiocephaly (an asymmetrical skull and a flat spot on her head), and it is likely she will have to wear a helmet to correct it.

Yet, throughout it all, I feel extremely grateful. I am thankful for a partner who is a real co-parent—not a “mommy’s helper,” but a true co-pilot who is completely involved in our child’s care and in taking care of our household. I am grateful for a healthy child whose issues are correctable and do not cause pain. I am indebted to everyone at WBWC who weathered our storm with us; my prenatal care and the presence of our midwives during the version and C-section were essential. I appreciate our phenomenal doula, Wanda Sundermann, who helped (and continues to help) me process our experience, and to Cher Durham, who gave me resources to understand my rights to ask for the placenta for encapsulation. I feel lucky to be five minutes from UNC where skilled practitioners continue to help us. I am grateful for the financial resources to get what we need and a generous paid maternity leave.

I am also thankful to have received a large dose of humility. I realized I once judged other women for their decisions, but now realize I never know what goes on behind the scenes. And, while the universe has given us challenges, it has also given us a happy, thriving, smiling, beautiful child who is the joy of our life, and who sleeps 11 hours at night and wakes up only once!  I’ve come to realize that, while our experience took a different path, there is much to appreciate.

*Last name withheld for privacy at author’s request

By |April 28th, 2012|Birth Stories|2 Comments

WBWC’s 4,000th Baby!

     On March 1st, 2012, at 5:21 PM, WBWC midwives welcomed the birth center’s 4,000th baby!  Elliora Ruth Groseclose was born to parents Christa and Aaron.  She weighed in at 9 pounds.  Midwives Emily Joubert and Jewell Whitmer attended her birth.  We feel honored to have been chosen for such an important role in the lives of so many wonderful families, and we’re looking forward to the next 4,000 babies!   

By |April 28th, 2012|News|0 Comments

Protein-Rich Salad

by Claire C. McKiernan

2 cups lightly cooked green beans (steamed, microwaved, or blanched)
1 cup cooked edamame
1 can of rinsed and drained cannellini, northern, or kidney beans
Thinly sliced red onion (optional and to taste)
Handful slivered almonds (optional, in place of, or along with onion)
French dressing, to add on top

Mix, top with dressing, and eat warm or cold!

By |April 28th, 2012|News|0 Comments

FAQ About Group Prenatal Care

by Allison Koch, CNM

  Why Group Prenatal Care?

 Perhaps one of the best reasons is that for the family planning a birth center birth, Group offers the opportunity to meet with like-minded women who have made the same choice.  The cultural model of birth in the US is one of fear: fear of pain and your ability to cope with it.  This includes a lack of confidence in the body’s knowledge and wisdom, the current love affair with technology which undermines women’s knowledge and confidence, and the belief that “experts” know more about you and your baby than you do. 

Having a forum for discussing questions, concerns about pregnancy, birth, breastfeeding, and parenting provide you with a supportive community which will enhance your experience and build your confidence in your ability to birth,  breastfeed your baby, and parent. 

What happens at Group?

Several women with similar due dates meet with a midwife and a nurse in an informal setting. The usual measurements (weight, blood pressure, baby’s heartbeat, etc) are obtained, but the majority of the session is spent in conversation with others, learning about pregnancy, birth, and parenting concerns.  And we serve snacks.

Is there an additional charge?

No. This is your prenatal care.  If you have health insurance, it is covered.  If you are self-pay, it is included in the fees you are paying for your care.

Why is it a two -hour time commitment each session?

Discussions get pretty lively when moms get together to talk about pregnancy and birth!  The commitment we make to Group participants is that we will start and end ON TIME – so instead of sitting in the waiting room when the office is busy or your midwife is running behind, you will start your visit as soon as you arrive and be learning and interacting the entire time.  I have found that once women get to know each other, the 2 hours go by very quickly.

 Have other questions or want to join the Group? 

Groups are now forming for September and October due dates.  Call Layne at (919)933-3301 to sign up or ask your questions!

For moms due in November who are interested in joining the Group:
I am doing a quick survey to find out what time would be best for the upcoming Group.  We would meet on Thursdays, at either 9 AM-11 AM or 4 PM-6 PM. Which  would work better for you?  Email me at or leave a comment on the blog.  We’ll go with whichever time is convenient to the most people.

By |April 28th, 2012|News|2 Comments

WakeMed Mother’s Milk Bank in Need of Donors

      If you are a healthy, lactating mother who doesn’t drink, smoke, or use certain medications, please consider donating your extra milk to the WakeMed Mother’s Milk Bank.  This milk bank, which is one of only 2 serving the entire east coast, is running critically low on milk due to increased demand.  The milk bank is an invaluable resource to our community. They supply donor milk to WBWC, and many of our moms depend on this donated breastmilk for infants who have difficulty latching or gaining weight, or are jaundiced or premature.

      According to WakeMed’s press release, “Most donor mothers find they can begin pumping extra milk (typically four ounces each day) to donate once their own children are a few weeks old and are regularly gaining weight. Donors store the milk in their home freezer, then deliver the milk to WakeMed.”

If you are interested in becoming a donor or have more questions, contact the milk bank  (919-350-8599) or email the program coordinator at . You can also contact Kerra Bolton at WakeMed Health & Hospitals (919-350-5695) or

We hope our generous community of WBWC families will take this opportunity to help out other moms and babies in need!

By |April 28th, 2012|News|2 Comments

Reading Your Newborn’s SOS

by Jan Tedder BSN, FNP, IBCLC

UNC Family Medicine Center
590 Manning Dr Chapel Hill  919-923-8295

The first few weeks of a baby’s life are exhilarating, magical, precious and, at times, overwhelming. The HUG Your Baby educational session I offer at WBWC is an effort to give expectant and new parents tools and techniques to prevent and solve problems around a newborn’s eating, sleeping, crying, and attachment. Here is a second article to help you along the way!

Sarah cradles her two-week-old son gently in her arms. The young adoptive mother was in the delivery room when her baby was born, and was the first one to hold him. “But something seems wrong,” she tells me. “When I play and talk with him, he looks away from me. Maybe he’s looking for his real mommy?”

Normal newborn behavior can lead to such misunderstandings! Sarah doesn’t realize that her son is responding to her energetic attempts to interact with him by responding in a typical newborn way. I call it an “SOS”: a Sign of Over-Stimulation.

What is an SOS?
A baby spends nine months in the relatively quiet world of the uterus, comforted by the movement of his mom’s body and the continuous “shosh” of her heartbeat. Now, in this strange outer world, he has to deal with the temperature change of a fanny wipe, the swirl of Dad dancing him around the floor, and the excited intrusion of a two-year-old brother’s toy truck. A baby is not good at multitasking – that is, keeping his body under control while simultaneously responding to the normal stimulation of family life. When he can’t handle it, he sends out an SOS.

What does an SOS look like?
There are two kinds of SOS: Body SOS and Behavioral SOS.

Body SOS A baby who is over-stimulated may show a body SOS by changes in his color (from normal skin color to pale or bright red), changes in breathing (from slow and regular to fast and choppy), and changes in movement (from smooth movements to jerks and tremors.)

Behavioral SOS There are three behavioral SOS: Spacing Out, Switching Off, and Shutting Down. A baby who is slightly over-stimulated might suddenly look away from her parent and stare into space (Spacing Out). If you continue to try to engage with him, he might  turn away from your face again and again (Switching Off). If the stimulation persists, the baby may move from alert and engaging to drowsy or sleepy (Shutting Down).

All babies will at times be over-stimulated, and babies born early or with physical challenges send SOS more frequently. However, diapers must be changed, and interactions with the family must occur, so what should a parent do?

How can I help my baby when he sends an SOS?

You can become an expert at noticing the subtle body and behavioral signs of over-stimulation. When you see an SOS, you can both decrease stimulation and increase support of the baby. For example:

•    Decrease stimulation by speaking more quietly and holding the baby still for a few minutes. You’ll likely see that SOS melt away.
•    Increase support by swaddling the baby, swaying her gently, or encouraging her to suck—a finger, your breast, or even a pacifier (once breastfeeding is well established.)

When you try these interventions, you’ll notice that your baby’s jerks or tremors decrease, his skin color returns to normal, and his breathing becomes more regular. His eyes brighten, his movement slows, and he appears more alert and ready to eat or play (see the article on Newborn Zones in March newsletter). As the weeks go by, your baby’s ability to handle the stimulation of the outer world will increase.

After discussing normal SOS, Sarah smiles. “Now I understand why my baby looks more at his dad than at me. I never stop chattering when I hold him. But, my husband is so spellbound that he says almost nothing and just stares at the baby’s face.” I watch Sarah as she quietly holds her new baby close to her face. Within a moment her son turns and looks squarely into his mother’s eyes. “I guess he’s found his real Mommy!” I tell her.

Sign up for free HUG E-Newsletter here:

By |April 28th, 2012|News|0 Comments

News from the Board

by Kaaren Haldeman

Yikes, the end of April! Where’d March go? Your board of directors has had a busy month. We attended a terrific orientation with Executive Service Corps of the Triangle on March 31st at the beautiful and peaceful Stone House in Mebane, where we learned basic elements of good board structure; board roles and responsibilities; effective communication and organizational governance, and were able to learn more about one another in the process. I want you to know that you have a highly motivated, intelligent, and passionate board at your service! Since that meeting, the Board has been actively pursuing our goals of expanding the space available for the crucial work that we do at WBWC and improving the stability and strength of our organization. We will be launching three committees at our next board meeting and will be asking for staff help in the committee work that will prepare us for our shared future. Once we have the pictures and bios of all board members uploaded, we will share them promptly with you all.

The Board will have its next full meeting Wednesday, May 9th at WBWC.

By |April 28th, 2012|News|0 Comments

Those Weird, Wonderful Cravings!

By Claire C. McKiernan
                Rare meat, chicken,  nuts, oysters, eggs, gallons of milk and mineral water, pounds of cabbages, apples, peaches, berries, carrots, honey dew, peppers, grapes, cucumbers, pomegranates, raw onions, tomatoes, kale, mustard greens,  and  spinach… and citrus fruit by the truckload. What is this, feeding time at the zoo?
How about if I add Chinese and Indian food, gelato, Coke, root beer, Twizzlers, kim chee, fried food, split pea soup, chunky peanut butter and jelly sandwiches with potato chips smooshed inside, dry, burned toast, yogurt, smoothies, Kashi cereal, frosted shredded wheat, milkshakes, chocolate, pickles,  ice cream, ice, miso soup, Uncrustables, and mouth-watering  grilled cheese with garlic pickles, raw onions, and spicy mustard? And for some, the irresistible smell of dirt?
Whew! Sounding more familiar? Yes, we’re discussing a day in the lives of pregnant women. For some, these foods are just a strong preference, and for others, they are overwhelming desires: If I don’t have a strawberry smoothie in the next 90 seconds I am going to FREAK OUT. Have you tasted this cucumber?!?! This is the BEST cucumber in the world!!!  I bet if I dipped this egg roll in melted chocolate, it would taste like heaven… you get the idea.
With my first pregnancy, I was super-diligent about eating healthfully, but I did find myself wanting cookies and cream flavored ice cream (a flavor I wouldn’t normally buy). Fortunately, pregnant women are very adept at rationalizing; after all, ice cream has calcium and fat, both of which the baby needs to grow properly, right? I made a homemade smoothie of yogurt, OJ, banana, and various frozen berries (blueberries, strawberries, and raspberries) every morning for months, and I ate pounds of peaches that summer. With my next two pregnancies I wanted beef and other protein-rich foods.

My mom said she knew I was pregnant with my second baby when we went out to dinner one night and I ordered fried chicken with gravy, corn, and mashed potatoes with gravy and devoured it without looking up from my plate. I remember that meal; it was FANTASTIC. I also had to have frosted shredded wheat for breakfast for a good two months of that pregnancy.  I was salivating for it–I couldn’t wait for that cereal as soon as I woke up–it was the most satisfying part of my day. At the end of my fourth pregnancy, I was eating four oranges every afternoon.
Thankfully, when it comes to food cravings, especially those that result in heartburn, they tend to disappear overnight.  So what gives? The short and most accepted answer is: hormones. But that’s not terribly interesting, is it? So let’s consider some more interesting possible reasons.
First, food cravings may be your body’s protective measure to make sure your baby receives necessary nutrients. A desire for citrus or beef might be triggered by a need for vitamin C or protein, respectively. Your body is constantly working to grow that baby, so it could just be a need for extra calories.
Pregnant women also have heightened smell, and since the sense of smell is closely tied to the enjoyment of food, smelling something like fresh baked bread might trigger a strong desire for carbs.           
Since food cravings are a well-known side-effect of pregnancy, psychologically we are less inhibited about fulfilling our food desires. Blame it on hormones, the needs of the baby, or whatever excuse seems to work! Besides, there are enough things you can’t do in pregnancy (fill in the blank here, it’s different for each of us), why not go for what you can do? For instance, maybe you can’t go pole vaulting, but you can jolly well eat that entire bag of kumquats!
Finally, as wonderful as it can be to carry a precious child inside you, it also comes with its share of unexpected aches and pains, both physical and mental/emotional. You need to relax when and where ever you can, and while taking a bath, reading a book, or going for a peaceful walk may often do the trick, sometimes only food will do. You are looking for comfort, and enjoying those moments can give you a much-needed mental boost.            
              That being said, we should cover some important food issues. The desire to eat non-food items such as dirt, or things that aren’t meant to be eaten on their own like ice, corn starch, or flour is a condition known as pica. This could be a sign that you are anemic and need more iron in your diet. Tell a nurse or midwife if you experience non-food cravings! This should be easily remedied.                                                                  
Additionally, there are foods that are not considered safe during pregnancy. Avoid alcohol, moderate-to-high mercury fish (such as king mackerel, orange roughy, and  swordfish), and foods that could make you sick with the listeria bacteria and endanger the baby (unpasteurized foods including some soft cheeses, undercooked meats, processed deli meats and hot dogs unless they have been cooked to steaming hot). The WBWC provides handouts about fish mercury levels and listeria.
How do you stave off, or at least curb, your cravings? The best way is to avoid getting hungry by snacking healthfully every two hours. Getting moderate exercise or finding other distractions can work, too.
You can also try creating low-fat and nutrition-rich substitutes. Craving cheesecake? Try a bit of cream cheese smeared onto an organic graham cracker and topped with locally grown, fresh, sliced strawberries.

Bwa-ha-ha-ha! Just kidding!  This never works! Theoretically, it might work if you anticipate that you’ve been craving cheesecake every afternoon, and you eat it before the craving comes on, but otherwise, it’s just an unappealing appetizer for a cheesecake entrée.
Let me put it this way: if you can manage to stave off a craving for a malted milkshake with a satisfying ice-cold glass of skim milk, then you have never actually experienced a pregnancy-induced food craving. You are also most likely male (and if so, kindly wipe the bemused smirk off your face).
Remember: everything in moderation. If you get exercise, and eat regularly and healthfully, then don’t worry about the occasional indulgences. Those weird desires will eventually go away.   Sometimes ya just gotta give in. After all, a happy mama is a good mama!

By |April 28th, 2012|News|0 Comments