*Sahaya Lucan Adhikari – 6 lbs., 8 oz. – October 4
*Charlie Lorraine Hulick–Fink – 9lbs., 13oz. – March 31
*Jill Audra Jacobson – 9 lbs., 10 oz. – April 1
Edan William Jedidiah Derby – 7 lbs. – April 3
*Dianne Adele Lunsford – 7 lbs. – April 7
Kayleigh Elizabeth Staples – 8 lbs., 6 oz. – April 8
Mya Ann Chung – 7 lbs., 14 oz. – April 8
*Genevieve Francis Williams – 7 lbs., 15 oz. – April 9
*Stuart Jack Ritchie – 6 lbs., 9oz – April 10
Evan Alexander Patterson – 8 lbs., 11 oz. – April 11
*Victoria Nahuel Chambers – 5 lbs., 9 oz. – April 11
*Lily August DeBrecht – 7 lbs., 9oz. – April 14
Cole Anderson Chappell – 8 lbs., 10 oz. – April 16
*Cora Verity Johnson – 10 lbs., 12 oz. – April 16
*Maclain Chase Lunsford – 6 lbs., 12 oz. – April 16
Ella Lou Bainbridge – 8 lbs., 9 oz. – April 17
Lucinda Simone Turlington – 9 lbs., 15 oz. – April 23
Ashton Haswell Stephenson – 8 lbs., 7 oz. – April 25
Vivani Lila Fiorentino – 6 lbs., 7 oz. – April 29
Cyrus Michael Mehdizadeh – 7 lbs., 12 oz. – April 30
Welcome to the world, little ones!
If you would like your baby’s birth announced in the newsletter, send an email with baby’s name, weight, and birth date to firstname.lastname@example.org. Feel free to include a picture. We’d like to hear from all WBWC moms, whether your baby was born at the birth center or UNC!
By Claire C. McKiernan
From the moment our kids knew I was having another baby, Christina, our six-year-old, was begging for a baby sister. I had failed her twice before, so here was my big opportunity to make her dreams come true. As we hadn’t known the gender of any of our previous babies, she would have to wait for the baby’s birthday. I assured her that even if it was another brother, she would love him just fine. We took the kids to see room #3, the Peach Room, at the WBWC, where they had all been born. Christina requested a bed birth, like her, not a tub birth, like Tom and Pete. I told her I planned on having a water birth, but we would see. Happily, all the kids were very excited about having a new baby in the family.
On February 4, 2010, I had my 40-week appointment with Leigh Ann, and while I was on the exam table, she told me I was having a contraction. She asked if I had noticed when my belly became very hard and then gradually softened again. I had noticed this, but I, the experienced preggie that I was, had not realized what was happening. I couldn’t even feel it happening; I only noticed it if I had my hand on my belly when it became hard. Of course, once it was pointed out to me, I became super-aware of these mild contractions. On the ride home, my hands never left my belly, and I happily pointed out contractions to my husband every 5-15 minutes.
That evening the contractions subsided for about two hours, but resumed when I went to bed. At 4:30 the next morning, I woke up with a noticeably stronger contraction. This continued every five minutes, and I realized this was going to be the baby’s birthday! Amazingly, this was also my estimated due date, and only 5% of babies arrive on their due date. What a cooperative kid!
At 6:30 a.m., I phoned the WBWC and spoke to Allison. She told me that since this was my fourth time around, it could be irregular and to judge my progress by the strength of the contractions and not the length or time between contractions. She would be getting off duty at 8 a.m., and Jewell would be taking the next shift.
By this time the kids were waking up, and Christina, who had turned seven-years-old a month earlier, was getting ready for school. I looked nervously out the window. It was snowing and sleeting. At least with this pregnancy we only had a half-hour’s drive to the WBWC. We had moved after the third baby and were now next door to my parents’– a huge help after having the first three children in the space of four years!
The weather outside didn’t look friendly, and school was cancelled. I told Mike that we might be better off leaving early rather than late. By the time we loaded everyone in the car to be dropped off with my dad, it was close to 8 a.m. My contractions were getting strong and fast. I sat in the car while Mike unloaded the kids, and then I felt a “pop!”
We had made it all of 400 feet or so along our trip before my water broke. Fortunately, I was sitting on a water-proof crib mattress protector for just that reason. Finally, with Mike behind the wheel and my mom in the backseat, we were on our way. Each contraction was preceded by a gush of warm water that I could feel flowing over my thighs. I concentrated deeply while Mike tried to keep from sliding off the icy roads, and my mom prayed silently in the back.
This ride was taking too long, and I wondered if I was going to make it. I mentally prepared by envisioning giving birth in the car or trying to figure out which of the homes we passed might have someone willing to let me in.
In Chapel Hill it was only raining. I relaxed, slightly, and told myself: we only have about 10 minutes to go; if I have the urge to push, I can somehow wait until we get there.
I got out of the car in the cold pouring rain, with considerable help from my husband. While we inched toward the door, my mom ran ahead to open the birthing room door. It was locked and no one answered, so she ran upstairs to alert the staff (who had thankfully started work for the day). Maureen met us downstairs, closely followed by Jewell. I was in the birth center at 8:53am.
As Maureen helped to peel off my wet jeans, she noticed meconium running down my leg and told me she didn’t want me having a water birth. At this point I didn’t care. I begged her to stay with me and somehow got on the bed, on my side, propped up with pillows. I had four hard, fast, contractions, followed by a small urge to push. Immediately following that, I had a tremendous urge to push. Three pushing contractions later, at 9:08 a.m., I gave birth to our fourth baby.
I heard Maureen say something about putting “him” on my chest, but when I looked, I announced, “It’s a girl!”
Maureen said, “Oh, is it? I didn’t even look!” For some reason, she had been under the impression I was having a boy. It had been seven years since I held a baby girl in my arms, and I was ecstatic to find that we had just “evened out” the family. Rosemary Claire weighed 10 lbs, matching her big brother Peter, three years earlier.
“Hey guys, you have a baby sister!” I joyfully announced via speaker phone.
Above the din we could hear Christina shouting, “My prayers worked! They really worked!”
She had finally gotten her baby sister, born on the same bed as her, in the same room as all of our children. We couldn’t be happier.
We are so proud of the community we have through Women’s Birth and Wellness Center! We recently completed a survey of some of you to see how our community was doing with breastfeeding over the long term. Thank you to all the families who participated in the survey, and our apologies to those who might have gotten the survey in error. It was our first breastfeeding survey, and we learned some extra steps we will use when doing future surveys. We knew there was a lot of breastfeeding going on, but this survey helped us understand just how much there was!
The results we got were astounding! We knew that our community was special, but this survey quantifies one aspect of what makes it so remarkable.
We emailed our survey to 416 WBWC families who had babies between 6 months and 18 months of age to ask a short series of questions about their breastfeeding experience. Out of the email surveys we sent, 215 were completed, which was about a 52% response rate. Most of our respondents (95%) intended to exclusively breastfeed for the first six months of their babies’ lives; 28% of those intended to nurse just at the breast, while 72% planned to mix breast feeding at the breast and using pumped breast milk. Five percent of our mothers were planning on breast milk and formula feeding in the first 6 months. No one planned to formula feed exclusively.
Sometimes, despite the best of intentions, women who plan to breastfeed are not able to continue to breastfeed because of problems, or lack of support. For instance, in one group of about 900 women, when asked prenatally (different from our survey, which asked women to remember what their intentions were), about 75% of the original group of women wanted to exclusively breastfeed. By the end of the first month, 15% of them were still exclusively breastfeeding; the rest had introduced formula or were fully formula feeding. While women who choose to give birth in an out of hospital birth center are different from the general population in many ways, this is one example of what things might look like in other settings.
In our community, almost everyone who responded to the survey wanted to exclusively breastfeed for the first 6 months. At six months, almost everyone had met their goals. At 3 months, 91.5% were still exclusively breastfeeding; 97% were still breastfeeding but also using some formula. At six months, 85% of women were still exclusively breastfeeding and another 10% were breastfeeding and also using some formula. This means that at 6 months, while some women who hoped to be exclusively breastfeeding were not, we still had a 95% breastfeeding rate. See how different this is?
Here’s another way to look at it. Let’s compare our rates of exclusive breastfeeding to rates in the United States and North Carolina. 1 Overall, North Carolina and the United States have better rates of ‘any breastfeeding’ than exclusive breastfeeding. In this category, we have over twice as many women breastfeeding as in the United States, and not quite three times as many women breastfeeding as in our own state. When you look at exclusive breastfeeding, by six months, we are about eight times above the average for North Carolina, and over four times the average for the United States. Pretty good!
Why Are Our Rates So High?
We don’t know exactly what makes our breastfeeding rates so high, but there are some things that we have built into our care that certainly help. There is a lot of research about how important support is for breastfeeding mothers. That includes support from other mothers and from health care providers both prenatally and after the baby is born. In our community, most women who responded to the survey (80%) answered that they had received some kind of support. Most of that support was from a lactation consultant (73%), followed by a breastfeeding class (43%), and La Leche League (27%). Some women may have responded ‘yes’ in more than one of these categories. Another is giving birth in a Baby Friendly2 facility. Our birth center received Baby Friendly status in 2010 and UNC Hospitals received Baby Friendly status this year. Twenty-nine percent of our respondents gave birth at UNC, and 71% gave birth at WBWC. While UNC wasn’t Baby Friendly at the time that our survey respondents would have given birth there, it was working toward that status, and many of the recommended practices would already have been in place. Additionally, we know that all of us at Women’s Birth and Wellness Center love breastfeeding, and are knowledgeable and supportive of our mamas when they need help. Whether the birth took place at the WBWC or at the hospital, that love and support was there.
So there are many things that make breastfeeding at Women’s Birth and Wellness Center work. One is the commitment of the women who choose our center as a place to give birth and the support those women seek on their own. But we also hope that our care is a part of the picture. Most of our survey respondents saw a lactation consultant. Although we don’t know whether that was through the WBWC or through the hospital or community LCs, we hope that many took advantage of MILC (Mother’s and Infant’s Lactation Care), the breastfeeding support network of classes, full clinic hours available for visits with an International Board Certified Lactation Consultant (IBCLC), and support programs that we offer at WBWC.
So thank you again to our community. We appreciate the time you took to communicate with us. Breastfeeding, while it is often natural and normal and completely carefree, can also sometimes be difficult. As lactation consultants, we stand witness to how very hard women sometimes work to achieve their breastfeeding goals. We see families push themselves to the outer edges of their ability to cope in order to maintain breastfeeding as much as possible. It is an honor and a gift to stand with families and witness their bravery and commitment. This is what we see when we, as lactation consultants, see this many women exclusively breastfeeding at 6 months. We see this, and a fabulous community of wonderful families brought together in a setting in which we are proud to participate.
WBWC Lactation Consultants
Thank you to the volunteers who worked on this project: Kathy Parry, Meribeth Harlow, and Katie Mills.
1. http://www.cdc.gov/breastfeeding/data/NIS_data/, 2007 data
Contributed by Brianna Honea, WBWC Business Director
Feeling fatigued, unmotivated, or just down in the dumps? Here’s a recipe I found that’s sure to give you an energy boost! I found it in my vegetarian cookbook. It just looks so colorful and fresh, and it tastes wonderful!
1/4 cup pumpkin seeds
1/4 cup sunflower seeds
2 tbsp sesame seeds
2 tbsp cumin seeds
1/4 of a red cabbage, finely shredded
1 large carrot, grated
1 cooked beet, grated
2 cups baby spinach leaves, finely chopped
1 red onion, thinly sliced
1/4 cup dried currants
3 tbsp finely chopped fresh mint
Finely grated zest and juice of 1 orange
3 tbsp pomegranate molasses (I have personally never heard of this. I substituted 1.5 tbsp of molasses and 2 tbsp of pomegranate juice. You could simply use pomegranate juice or lemon juice.)
1 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
Freshly ground pepper
1. Toast the pumpkin, sunflower, sesame and cumin seeds in a medium frying pan over medium heat until golden brown (about 3-5 minutes or so).
2. Combine the cabbage, carrot, beet, spinach, onion, currants, mint and toasted seeds in a large salad bowl.
3. Whisk the orange zest and juice, pomegranate molasses (or other substitute), and oil in a small bowl. Pour the contents over the salad, toss to combine, and season with pepper to taste. Get ready to feel energized!
If anyone is curious about the cookbook this recipe came from, it’s called Vegetarian and was written by Ting Morris, Rachel Lane, and Carla Bardi.
by Kaaren Haldeman
Greetings from your Board! In our full board meeting May 9 we made some wonderful progress in beginning the committee work that will strengthen the WBWC. Mary Alexion of Executive Service Corps attended the meeting and helped to bring into focus the goals and objectives of our three committees: Planning, Human Resources, and Executive. Board members will be connecting with staff to request help on these committees, so please take this opportunity to join us in this great work!
By Claire C. McKiernan
You wake up one morning and the smell of your favorite hand cream is suddenly revolting. You walk into the kitchen and run out again when you get a whiff of fresh-brewed coffee. You walk back in a few minutes later, hand protectively covering your tummy, and can’t imagine why you are the only one who thinks the eggs being cooked are more sulfurous smelling than the house of Hades. Thinking of going outside for a breath of fresh air? Maybe, as long as the smell of wet earth, mulch, and budding trees doesn’t send you running back to the bathroom.
Maybe the nausea ends every morning after you’ve been awake for an hour or so. Or maybe, your sense of smell stays in high gear. All. Day. Long. Perfume, coffee, fast food, spicy ethnic foods, seafood, tomatoes, tomato sauce, veggie burgers, garlic, rare beef, ground meat, chicken, sweet foods, and cooking vegetables were all on the list of WBWC patient aversions.
WBWC patient Alisa wrote, “In my first trimester, I couldn’t hear or even think the words ‘popcorn,’ ‘macaroni and cheese,’ or ‘steak’ without wanting to hurl. Thankfully that’s not happening anymore, as I’ve had cravings for both popcorn and macaroni and cheese several times in the last month alone!”
Basically, anything that is on the craving list for some women can be on the aversion list for others, and can completely reverse from pregnancy to pregnancy and even within the same pregnancy. Heck, even the smell of your husband/SO can become an aversion (and you craved him at least once, didn’t you?)
And so goes those awful aversions of pregnancy: the unfortunate flip-side to the fantastic cravings. Each woman and each pregnancy is different. Sometimes there are aversions, sometimes there are cravings, sometimes there are both, and sometimes there are neither. They come and go, or last and last throughout the pregnancy (and possibly beyond).
Here’s what WBWC patient, Danielle (who also had incredible cravings), experienced:
“When I found out I was pregnant, I was working as a cheese maker at a local goat dairy. I found out I was pregnant while on vacation for Christmas, and a few hours into my first day back in the cheese room I took a break to snack on some cheese and crackers. When I started eating, the cheese tasted as if it had gone bad. It was awful and tasted completely rotten! I threw it away, thinking it had sat too long while I was on vacation. I got a different cheese and it, too, tasted rotten! I threw it away and started inspecting all the cheeses in the walk-in cooler, worried that something had gone wrong. After tasting a few more cheeses, which all seemed bad, I found a co-worker and asked her to sample some. It turns out they were all fine! It was just my first food aversion. I could NOT eat any goat cheese until I was far into my third trimester! But I had to work my entire pregnancy making cheese full time, smelling it all day. Some mornings I would show up for work, walk in, and the smell of cheese would be so overwhelming I would run back outside and vomit! I even had to stop sampling it at the farmer’s markets; the sight of it sitting there on the cutting board would make me sick!”
Aversions, much like cravings, are a result of hormones. Your heightened sense of smell can make things smell fabulous or putrid. However, it is also possible that some of your aversions are protective. After all, perfume is not natural, fresh, clean air, and your body may be over-reacting to the perceived assault on your nose because subconsciously you don’t feel it’s safe to breathe in those chemicals.
It’s not such a bad thing if the aversions keep you away from chemical odors or foods that aren’t really good for you. Unfortunately, when the aversions apply to healthful foods or naturally pleasant odors, especially things you normally love, it is a nuisance, to say the least.
So, what can be done about aversions? Not much, other than avoidance. There’s also an element of mind over matter. If you can refocus, you may find it helpful to have some pleasant thoughts or appealing odors (either in mind or physically nearby) at the ready for when an aversion is lurking around the corner. This won’t solve the problem, but it may reduce it. Remember: the more you think about it, the worse it gets. The same is true of cravings, of course.
Other than that, remedies are the same as for run-of-the-mill nausea during pregnancy: ginger, ginger candy, peppermints, and mint or ginger tea are helpful for some. They can settle your stomach as well as offer a distraction. Believe it or not, sucking on hard candies can have a calming effect (unless, of course, you are averse to ginger, mint, or anything sweet).
Then again, when an aversion comes on strong, sometimes the thought of putting anything in your mouth is unthinkable. You might have more luck with aromatherapy, such as putting a drop of peppermint oil or lavender on a tissue or handkerchief (although at least one WBWC patient reported an aversion to peppermint for the full nine months of pregnancy).
Keep in mind that you may be more prone to experiencing an aversion when your tummy is empty. If you can stomach regular, small snacks throughout the day, keep them handy. If you can’t seem to eat anything, day after day, and are feeling overwhelmed, talk to a midwife. She may have a trick up her sleeve that works for you, or at least help alleviate the stress you are feeling.
Be reassured that the aversions will eventually go away, and focus on the cherished end result. As one WBWC patient wrote in response to my aversion request last month:
“I haven’t had any cravings the whole time, just nausea and aversions (to sight, smell, and thought of various foods)…I would give more details, but just thinking about food (even foods that I can eat just fine when placed in front of me) makes my stomach turn… oh well. Feel very blessed to have a healthy pregnancy anyway.”
Keep your chin up, a smile on your face, a clothes pin on your nose, and you’ll get through it!
by Claire C. McKiernan
Oddly enough, I owe my love for midwifery care to a doctor. It was 2002, and I was having my three-month prenatal exam at a well-reputed hospital in Raleigh. When I began discussing natural childbirth with my OB/GYN, her response was, “Well, you can TRY it,” in a tone that did more than suggest I would not succeed.
Then my husband, Mike, asked the doctor a simple yet fateful question:
“What would you do if this was your baby?”
“I’d have a C-section at six months to avoid the uncomfortable 3rd trimester,” was her shocking reply.
Shortly thereafter, I went on a tour of the Piedmont Women’s Health Center (now our beloved WBWC), a full hour’s drive from our home. I couldn’t believe our tour guide, Maureen Darcey, was saying everything I felt about childbirth, and with absolute confidence. I began to feel that my dreams were not just possible, but probable in this environment.
I soon devoted myself to the advice given in Natural Childbirth the Bradley Way by Susan McCutcheon. I had read my mother’s old version of Robert Bradley’s Husband-Coached Childbirth, and if you discard the sexism of that time period, the idea of birthing like animals makes a lot of sense. Susan McCutcheon’s practical exercises and especially her stages of labor were indispensible. I reread those parts with each pregnancy. I also credit the relaxing stretches with warding off back pain, even with a 60-pound weight gain!
For simplicity, the midwives suggested that we work with the due date that had been given to me at the hospital. (According to my own charts, this was a week too early.) Christmas Day, the supposed due date, came and went. On the night of my husband’s birthday (New Year’s Eve), I felt my first contraction.
I thought I’d have a New Year’s Baby for sure and slept sporadically that night. We spent a total of 12 hours laboring at home and then, in spite of what my childbirth book suggested, we went to the birth center (I wouldn’t jump the gun in future pregnancies). I labored another 17 hours at the birth center, and I often wonder how many miles I clocked walking in circles through those rooms trying to dilate more quickly.
Fortunately, I had the expert help of two midwives, Helen and Angela, in addition to the loving support of my husband and mother. I kept going. And going. And going. My helpers saw to it that I stayed fed and hydrated, and I mostly remember just walking, walking, walking. Periodically, I’d lean against the kitchen table and breathe deeply through a contraction while Mike gave me an absolutely vital lower back rub.
While stage one of labor had taken far longer than I ever expected, stage two (pushing) was blessedly fast. I gave birth on the bed to 22-inch, 9 lb., 1 oz Christina May at 3:18am on January 2nd 2003.
For the next seven hours at the birth center, Mike, Christina, and I napped together, I made ecstatic phone calls, and we took photos plus a video of Christina with the hiccups (something I often felt her doing in the womb). She was delightfully strong, alert, and oh-so-healthy! My mother kept us fed and helped me to shower, which felt wonderful after all that sweaty work.
Before long, I was resting comfortably on my own couch, with a glass of water, a content baby at my breast, a phone, and my address book. People couldn’t believe I was calling from home and how alert I sounded. Later that day, my in-laws visited from out-of-state and were blown away by how easily I got around, even up and down stairs. We finished Mike’s birthday cake, which had now become Christina’s “original birthday cake”.
I was the first in the family (in recent generations, anyway) to have an out-of-hospital, midwife-assisted birth, and I encountered skeptics and worriers along the way. I’m always thrilled to speak about my midwife-assisted births and love watching a mind open up, even just a little, after hearing my stories.
Was my first baby’s birth difficult? Yes, just as the word “labor” implies. Was it perfect? Yes, just like my baby.
by Claire C. McKiernan
I began researching Infant Potty Training (IPT) eight years ago. Perhaps it was that first poop that shot up to my firstborn’s armpits that made me put my skepticism aside. I wound up buying Infant Potty Basics by Laurie Boucke (about 100 pages) along with the 500 page companion Infant Potty Training by the same author which covers potty training around the world. There are other books and websites on the topic, but these cover the basics.
IPT is unconventional in America: I didn’t try it until my firstborn was eleven months old. On that glorious day, I showed her the new potty and she happily sat down and peed in it. That day she peed six times on the potty! Two months later, I introduced the potty ring on top of the toilet and she used both potties. By 14 months she was pooping twice a day, but I was only changing one or two poopy diapers a week.
When my son came along 2 ½ years later, I couldn’t wait to put IPT to the test. I started him at 6 WEEKS old! Now this was real infant potty training! I bought the smallest, simplest potty I could find. I gently placed him on it with his back resting against my belly while we happily gazed at each other in a mirror. That first day, he peed five times in the potty, and the second day he pooped for the first time in it. A week later we were catching three of his six poops a day in the potty. I only held him on the potty for a minute or two at a time, and only if he was content. He quickly associated pooping with the potty and enjoyed being clean in his diaper. By the time he was 4 months old, I was only changing one poopy diaper a week. By 8 ½ months, he would let me know he had to go. By 10 months, he rejected his potty in favor of a potty ring.
I also started my third child, another son, at 6 weeks old with much the same success. According to my baby journal, by the time he was 4 months old, I had only changed one poopy diaper in the space of three weeks!
My fourth child is now 19 months old. She did equally well early on, but more recently went through the longest potty strike of any of them: nearly three months! My other children went on strike for periods lasting 1-3 weeks. Strikes correlate with transitions, learning to walk, teething, illness, or anything that puts potty training on the back burner for either parent or baby. When I’m sick or stressed, I’m not as in tune to the baby.
Yes, IPT takes some effort, but there is very little about babies that doesn’t. IPT is, above all, a very gentle, loving method. Really, it isn’t any more trouble to put the baby on the potty before she goes than it is to change a diaper afterward. A baby will immediately convey that he doesn’t want to sit on the potty by crying or stiffening his legs. That’s your cue to say, “Okay, we’ll try again later.”
IPT is practiced extensively throughout much of the world, and by both stay-at-home moms and working moms. Infant Potty Training was the norm in the U.S. until about 1950. Unfortunately, a few harsher methods had come into practice and this, along with the advent of the disposable diaper, put a stigma on early training in this country.
That’s a pity because:
- IPT respects the baby’s natural sense of hygiene (some hate being dirty more than others, but keeping them in diapers teaches them to ignore the sensations of a dirty diaper.)
- It’s economical and earth friendly—I’ve saved countless diapers and wipes, and for cloth diaper fans, it saves washes.
- Virtually no diaper rash! No rash means greater comfort for baby.
- It’s a bonding time—the other end of breast-feeding! My kids have spent many happy moments on their potty while we read books and sang songs.
- There’s some luck involved, but little frustration. You don’t expect much control yet, so there’s no pressure on baby.
- Being accustomed to a potty early on makes for fewer tears later. It’s far less likely to become a stubborn control issue than it is for a child who exclusively used his diaper the first couple years.
- Over time, you intuitively know when she has to go, even if it’s not her usual time.
Consider giving IPT a try with your little one!