Monthly Archives: October 2016

Kaspar’s Birth Story

By Leah Reichardt-Osterkatz

Kaspar Reichardt-Osterkatz
Born December 7, 2015 at 6:47am

  For several days, I had been telling friends and family that something different was happening in my uterus. Saturday evening I started to feel discrete contractions, but they did not feel painful. After going to bed, I was up with a contraction every 10 minutes through the night. They were not so intense that I needed to wake anyone up (wanting my support people to be rested for what was to come!), but they were intense enough that I got up out of bed with each one to lean over the counter and wiggle my hips around. They continued like that until mid-day Sunday. Once Nils, my husband, was awake, I was able to stay lying down through the contractions, because holding on to him made the pain less intense. 

The contractions started to come closer together in the afternoon, but were not progressing in a consistent pattern. This, in combination with the fact that I was feeling a lot of pain in my back, was a clue that his head was not in an ideal position (which my midwife Maureen had predicted a few weeks earlier). I spent a lot of time in my parents’ hot tub, which made the contractions almost painless at that point. My husband and I took a long, slow walk around the property. While we were walking the contractions were coming about every two minutes. With each one we would either hug with me kind of hanging from his shoulders, or he would hold me from behind and lift my belly up, or I would lean forward and he would rub my back. We went back to the house and spoke with Maureen on the phone. The contractions had then slowed down again, so she suggested that I try to rest however possible and we would check back in soon. I went into the bedroom, but didn’t like the idea of lying down because I always felt the need to get up during contractions. I tried resting in child’s pose for quite a while, scooting off the end of the bed with each contraction, sometimes holding onto Nils and sometimes leaning over the bed with my mom and my friend stroking my back while I swayed my hips back and forth. I also tried sitting on the birth ball. Somewhere in there, in the early evening, we spoke to Maureen again and decided thing were getting serious enough to head to the birth center. My dad drove one car with Nils and me in the back. My mom, Svea, and Rachel followed behind. My brother stayed back to get a bit of sleep before coming later.

We arrived at the birth center around 7 or 8 PM. I was about 4 centimeters dilated, and Kaspar’s head was transverse. I wanted to get into the tub right away, as the water had helped so much earlier. For whatever reason, I did not like it at that point and got out after trying several different positions. Soon after that I decided to get a short acting pain medication with hopes of getting a little bit of rest, as I hadn’t really slept the night before. I was given half a dose, as it seemed possible that things could progress quickly after that (we were optimistic!). I lay down with Nils and everyone else left the room for a couple hours. Maureen rubbed my lower back for a long time. The contractions still felt quite intense during that time, but I was able to stay lying down the whole time and the massage felt very nice!

When the medication started wear off, the pain started ramping back up and my other support people came back into the room. I was then lying down between each contraction, and sometimes even falling asleep for a minute, as I was so tired. With each contraction I would jump out of bed and hang from Nils while various other people stroked my back and arms. For much of the time I was unaware of who was doing what! My mom made sure that I was constantly drinking. I drank a lot of coconut water, a calcium drink and a special labor tea that my sister-in-law had made.

Maureen checked me again and discovered that he was posterior — he had turned the wrong way! At that point Maureen started pulling out all of her tricks to get him to turn all the way back around. I was in and out of the shower several times, doing the “hoochie coochie” dance. I did hip circles on the birth ball. Maureen then suggested a saline injections in my back. She said that it would hurt a lot, but would hopefully help with the back labor and get him to turn around. When she gave me a towel to bite on, I knew I was not going to like it! I kneeled on the bed, leaning on the birth ball, bit my towel and screamed.  After that, or maybe it was before, Maureen stood over me on the bed holding two ends of a big sheet that went under my belly. She clamped my hips with her legs, lifted my belly with the sheet and moved it side to side. There was still a ways to go after that. I tried some more hip circles on the ball and was back in the shower for a while. My mom said she was worried that my contractions would peter out from exhaustion, but they just kept getting stronger. Around 4:30 AM or so, I was finally fully dilated, and he had turned all the way around!

Throughout that two hours of pushing, even though he had turned to anterior position, I was still having a lot of back pain. We think it might have been that he had his hand up near his chin, because that is what he was doing right after coming out. I tried pushing in many different position — squatting, hands and knees, on my back and side lying. It took every ounce of energy and strength that I could muster at that point. Maureen, our nurse Mariah, and my whole team of support people were there cheering me on.

I was still very resistant to being lying down, but Maureen kept encouraging me into the side-lying position, because that it where I was making the most progress. I remember thinking that I couldn’t imagine how he was ever going to come out. The crown of his head was peeking out for quite a while, making slow progress. At some point, still thinking it was never going to happen, Maureen called to me to look down. His head and shoulders were out. With a little help, I reached down and pulled to him up to my chest. I suddenly felt so good to have him there against my skin. It was the biggest sense of relief I’ve ever experienced. After 20 minutes or so, he started rooting and latched on to nurse. Things have been pretty smooth sailing ever since!

By |October 25th, 2016|Birth Stories|2 Comments

Birth Announcements

Welcome, Sweet Babies!

*Lucien Bennu – September 1 – 8 lbs., 6.4 oz.
Evelyn Gray Price – 7 lbs., 12 oz. – September 4
Wesley Clarence Fairholm – September 5 –  7 lbs., 9.5 oz.
Tara Jane Dembowski – September 8 – 7 lbs., 9 oz.
Eleanor Marie McCarrier – September 10 – 8 lbs.
Ruby Josephine Swanson – September 11 – 8 lbs., 4 oz.
Zoe Rose Towers – September 11 – 7 lbs., 9 oz.
Olivia Sinclair Parker – September 15 – 10 lbs., 3 oz.
Penelope Jane Guzewicz – September 16 -6 lbs., 1 oz.
Haley Jane Traverse – September 18 – 8 lbs., 4 oz.
*Luna Hazel Suchyta – September 22 – 6 lbs., 6 oz.
Laila Sol Slade – September 23 – 7 lbs., 7 oz.
Eira Hikari Donnelly – September 24 – 6 lbs., 11.5 oz.
Lewis Gray McGee – September 25 – 8 lbs., 9 oz.
Adelaide Phyllis Lawton – September 25 – 6 lbs., 11 oz.
Delano Edward Sayre –  September 25 – 9 lbs.
Liliana Zaila Galiano– September 26 – 6 lbs., 10 oz.

September stats:
Total babies born: 32
Biggest baby: 10 lbs., 3 oz.
Smallest baby: 6 lbs., 1 oz.

 To be included in this celebratory list, please email Missy at 
with your baby’s birth announcement information that includes 
their name, date of birth, and birth weight as well as a photo, if available.
If you would like to send us your birth story along with photos,
we are happy to include that in a future newsletter!

By |October 25th, 2016|Birth Announcements|0 Comments

The Circle of Life

By Maureen Darcey, CNM

     Thirty-six years ago, when I first moved to North Carolina, I met an amazing woman who changed my life.  I was a brand-new graduate of midwifery school, here in Chapel Hill for my husband to go to school, no job, no friends.  I found out about the Women’s Resource Center (now the Compass Center) and attended a meeting about birth options. That’s when I met Svea Oster!
     She was a home birth/nursing mom, a childbirth educator, a doula, and a home birth assistant to various “underground” folks who were attending births.  As our friendship developed, she taught me to trust my instincts and trust the process of birth. She encouraged me to start attending births of folks she knew through her friendships and with women who were getting care at the Chatham Family Birth Center (CFBC).
     CFBC, the precursor to WBWC, was started by two CNMs: Linda Glenn (my personal hero) and Debbie Stanford.  Linda had been doing home births in the area, but stopped to open the CFBC.  Svea and I attended births for almost a year before I “got caught” – attending home births was illegal per state law.  (That baby has purposefully gone on to have her baby at WBWC. She was the last baby I caught before I stopped taking call shifts!)
     Svea and her husband Arnie were instrumental in getting the midwifery law passed that opened the doors for CNMs to attend births in homes, birth centers, and hospitals.  Arnie worked on the study bill for two years, showing the safety of out-of-hospital births with skilled practitioners. Svea helped me open the Birth Center twenty years ago when we met with people from the Carolina Association for the Advancement of Midwifery and were able to get a state grant.  Svea continued to teach childbirth education classes in the community and at WBWC until she retired a few years ago.
     Svea was the birth assistant at the birth of my own daughter thirty-four years ago, and I was the CNM at her daughter’s birth at home thirty-three years ago.  Over the years, we have continued to travel in the same “birth circle.”  I had the pleasure of delivering the first child of both her son and daughter at the birth center.  Her daughter-in-law was also born at the CFBC.

     Thank you, Svea, for all you have done in the birth community over the years, and for letting me freely participate in the “circle of life.”

By |October 25th, 2016|News|2 Comments

Maureen Darcey Wins AABC Professional Award

by Brianna Honea

Maureen Darcey, CNM, Executive Director of Women’s Birth & Wellness Center, won the American Association of Birth Centers’ 2016 Professional Award at the Birth Institute in Pittsburg, PA on Sept. 24th. Kitty Ernst, CNM, the honorable 90-year old midwifery pioneer, presented the award and celebrated Maureen’s life-long passion as a midwife and mentor.
Maureen believes birth is a unique and personal event in the life of a woman, which intimately involves family members and close friends. She is patient-focused and believes women of all socioeconomic backgrounds should receive high-touch, low-tech, time-intensive care. She instills the birth center philosophy in her staff who are committed to advocate and support the rights of healthy women and their families to receive care in a safe and nurturing environment with low interventions at minimal cost. Maureen’s vision of having a community-based Birth Center with a board of directors will ensure this model of care is available to women long after she retires.

In 1981 Maureen began offering prenatal, delivery, postnatal and gynecological and family planning services in a non-profit alternative birth center at Chatham Family Birth Center (CFBC) in Siler City.  She became the director of Nurse-Midwifery Services for this site in 1987.  When political and insurance industry issues forced CFBC to close in December 1991, she worked to re-establish midwifery service in a stable environment. Maureen’s relationship with the maternal-child physicians of the UNC Family Practice Center allowed the nurse-midwives to have hospital privileges at UNC Women’s Hospital and thus paved the way for the state’s second free standing birth center.  The center first opened in 1996 under the auspices of Piedmont Health Services and then in 2003 the practice was organized under a new name: Women’s Birth and Wellness Center (WBWC).  In 2016, WBWC celebrated its 20th year of operation and welcomed the 6,000th baby.

As a champion of Birth Centers as an alternative to hospital based nurse-midwifery care, Maureen has promoted and helped to firmly establish the birth center model of care by working nationally with the American Association of Birth Centers (AABC). Maureen helps teach the AABC How to Start a Birth Center workshops and consults with people around the US who are trying to open birth centers.  She also contributes to the education and growth of birth centers by writing and reviewing articles for the AABC workshop manual to keep the content up to date with evidence based research. Maureen continues to contribute to the evolution and success of Women’s Birth and Wellness Center by networking and collaborating with midwives, area physicians and UNC Hospitals.

Maureen served actively in the leadership of the North Carolina Chapter of the American College of Nurse Midwives and served as chapter chair from 1995-1999 and head of the legislative committee from 1999 – 2002.  Maureen has lead several lobby days in NC and has attended almost every national lobby day and legislative conference representing North Carolina’s and midwifery’s interests. Maureen also served on the Perinatal Health Committee of the North Carolina Fatality task force.    

Maureen considers mentoring students and the profession of midwifery as a part of her calling. She annually participates in the mini-business institute organized for nurse-midwifery students at East Carolina University.  She relentlessly supports nurse-midwives throughout their careers and hosts an annual midwifery retreat for seasoned midwifery leaders. Maureen has been involved politically to promote midwives and legislation to open laws for both CNMs and CPMs to practice autonomously in NC. If there is an issue affecting women’s health, she is involved by writing letters to legislators and making calls and visits. 

Currently Maureen is paying it forward by helping mentor and support the WNC Birth Center in Asheville and will attend their ribbon-cutting ceremony on October 26th. 

The WBWC Board of Directors, current and former staff of WBWC, and all the families and babies who have been touched by this amazing woman and midwife, are proud to acknowledge this outstanding award.

By |October 25th, 2016|News|0 Comments

Free Reiki Mini Sessions Offered at WBWC

Enjoy a relaxing, restorative, nurturing Reiki session with Reiki Master and Intuitive Life Coach Kezia Renee Lechner. Offered for mothers-to be, postnatal mothers, and mothers and their infants.

Date : Monday, Nov.14th 2016
Time : 4:30 – 6:30 pm
Place : The Living Room – # 304 – on the 3rd floor

No need to reserve your spot – just come and take advantage of this free offering!

By |October 25th, 2016|Events & Workshops|0 Comments

MILC Moment

A lot of things go pink in October for Breast Cancer Awareness Month. We talk about early detection of breast cancer, supporting breast cancer patients and survivors, and finding better treatments for breast cancer. But let’s also talk about breast cancer prevention – and part of that is breastfeeding!

So much of the discussion of breastfeeding focuses on benefits for the baby. But we know that there are big benefits for mom as well. When we get pregnant and give birth, there’s a complicated interplay of hormonal and physiological changes that prepare the body for breastfeeding. Our bodies expect it to be part of our reproductive life cycle. When our society doesn’t support mothers to breastfeed, we are disrupting this cycle and placing them at increased risk for a number of issues later in life: osteoporosis, heart disease, hypertension, diabetes, and ovarian and breast cancer.

The longer you breastfeed, the stronger the “dose” of prevention against getting breast cancer later in life. For each 12-month period a woman breastfeeds, one study calculated a 4.3% reduction in relative risk of getting breast cancer later in life, compared with women who didn’t breastfeed. So a mother who breastfeeds 3 children for 2 years each would reduce her relative risk by over 25%! There is also growing evidence that breastfeeding specifically reduces the risk of particular aggressive types of breast cancer, which are more common in African-American women.

Does this mean someone who breastfeeds is totally protected against breast cancer, and someone who doesn’t breastfeed will definitely get it? Nope! This is just about changes in risk – sadly, there is no way to know exactly who will get breast cancer. But we know that by supporting all moms to breastfeed, some cases of breast cancer will be avoided. And the next time someone tells you your baby is “too old to breastfeed”, smile and say “Oh, we need at least another 12 months! We’re reducing my risk of breast cancer!”

Your MILC LCs,

Rebecca, Ellen, Deborah, Elley, and Nancy

By |October 25th, 2016|Breastfeeding / MILC Moment|0 Comments