Monthly Archives: April 2017

Cash Brockman’s Birth Story

By Danielle Brockman

It was the night of my son’s birthday party, the day after he turned four years old. I was still in shock that he was growing up so fast, and I was thinking about how four years ago how I was blessed to have delivered at the Birth Center with Sarah, and to hold such a sweet baby boy, and to give my husband his first Father’s Day gift (as he was born on Father’s Day). I had this weird feeling that I just needed to take a pregnancy test, so as the party was coming to an end, I did. I waited, and as I picked the test up, I saw very faint lines. Instantly my eyes filled with tears. All I could feel was so much joy, but fear as well due to having two previous miscarriages back-to-back. All the pregnancies were surprises. I got my composure back together and hid the test. I wanted to tell my husband after the family left, I couldn’t wait for the next day as it was Father’s Day, I felt he should know as I did.

After confirming and going to the WBWC and getting into an early ultrasound, I felt so much at ease and more excited at this point but I knew I still couldn’t tell anyone. As 12 weeks was coming I had planned a family cookout and told them it was for my husband’s birthday since we were going out of town for it. We had taken pictures of our oldest son Cage with the ultrasound and placed them in frames for the grandparents. As the day came for the cookout and everyone who could make it arrived we gave my husband’s grandparents and his parents the frames and they opened them and that’s how we told our family and everyone was happy. I was starting to show and was trying my best to hide it from them until we told everyone. My dad and grandma were not able to come so I took them the frames I had put together. Everyone was very excited for us and wished us the best.

So I continued my care at the WBWC in which I absolutely love going to and talking with all the staff. So when it was time to find out the gender of the baby we had a balloon with confetti inside and allowed Cage to pop it as I recorded for our family to see. IT’S A BOY! I was so excited, as we all were. The pregnancy was going so well but I was still having some fears due to the previous miscarriages in which I was starting to feel better as each week went on. But on the night of Christmas Eve my sister, her 5 year old daughter, myself and my 4 year old son were going to church service, we were stopped in front of the church waiting to turn and we were talking. Out of nowhere we were being shoved forward as an older male in a truck who was not paying attention hit us from behind. The cop that was standing at the entrance, as they always do, saw the whole thing. The kids were ok, everyone was shaken up as myself and my sister are both pregnant as I was 31 weeks that day, and she was about 19 weeks. We called our husbands as we held our crying children. All I wanted was my husband, I didn’t want to talk to anyone else I was so scared. Once we were checked out at the scene as I was in shock I wouldn’t go by ambulance. I had my husband drive me, my sister, and her husband to the nearest hospital. My brother took our kids home to tend to them.

Once we arrived to the hospital in Hillsborough and were taken back I learned that I would have to be transported to UNC in Chapel Hill as I needed better monitoring. My sister was checked and sent home, I had to be transported by one of the ambulances they had on site and Sean was to follow us. This sent me to more fears and being more scared. The ride was so bumpy and scary I just watched out the window as a few tears were falling down my cheeks. Once we arrived they took me to Labor and Delivery to be monitored. Sean was told to get a pass and come to the floor to be with me. I was then hooked up to the monitor and after just a couple of minutes I was being asked once again can I feel him move (the baby is always moving during the day) I still couldn’t tell as I had already stated. Then I was told I was having contractions pretty steady and I would need to be monitored longer to see if they continue and if not I will need to be admitted and have them stopped. I was very upset at this point as I looked at my husband and just couldn’t help but to cry and say I’m sorry. After some time Emily had arrived from the WBWC and I felt very relieved as the hospital actually scared me and knowing I have the support from the midwives even in the hospital eased some of the fears. But once Emily and the doctors all talked they wanted to admit me for the entire weekend. So this sent me into a state of anxiety and fear and just being upset all together as Emily sat and talked with us I cried as I felt I messed up my son’s Christmas. Once I was calm I asked Emily if she wanted to feel the baby as I started to feel what I thought was him moving and balling up but she informed me that was a contraction. I stated to Emily as well as the others I was not staying unless my son could stay with me as it was Christmas. Emily went to talk to the doctors once more and we were given the ok to move rooms and for my husband Sean to go pick up our son and clothes to stay. I was then a patient at the hospital, still in fear and afraid of this place as I’ve never had to be in before. I was hooked up to the monitor and given all kinds of bags and meds to assist with the process to stop my contractions. I was given steroids to help with baby just in case he did come early. I was between 3 & 4 centimeters dilated at this point so from December 24th to December 26th we were staying in the hospital. I felt was I given so much miscommunication in my care that I refused to stay another night as they wanted. It was very comforting to see the midwives (Jessica and Belinda) come to check in during my stay and answer any questions we had. Once I was able to go home I was told to follow up at the WBWC, which I did a few days after being home. From this point on I was being seen at the center normally but also going in between as I was calling the on call line due to contractions and other feelings, I went into the center and saw Jessica and Mariah on several different occasions. I was able to be placed on leave from work which really helped me be able to care for myself before the birth.

I made it to 38 weeks and 3 days. It was February 14, 2017 at around 9:30pm. I was lying in bed and I was telling my son it was time to lay down for bed as he had school. I got on my left side and placed a pillow between my legs. Once I was in that position I felt a Pop and I was freaked out, but I stayed in the same spot for a few seconds and then got up and went to use the bathroom hoping it was nothing and then as I was getting up I felt the gush and at this point I called my husband as he was already in bed and once he came in the bathroom I told him “I think my water just broke!” I got him to get my phone and I called the on call line. I received a call back a few minutes later from Belinda and as we talked we confirmed yes, it was my water that had broken. But I wasn’t having any contractions yet so she said to rest and once they started to call back.

Not long after we hung up the contractions started and they just kept coming faster and stronger. I called the on call line once again and awaited a call but by the point Belinda called back I was not able to talk and I felt as though the baby was just going to fall out. So Sean took our son next door to my sister’s house and he rushed back to help me get to the car as I could barely walk without having to stop. On the way to the WBWC I was telling Sean to speed up “I think he’s coming out! I’m scared he is going to fall out!” I was not able to control anything at this point. I tried to keep my legs tight together in fear he was going to fall out. Once we arrived at the center we were welcomed at the door by the nurse. But I was not able to walk in at that moment. I was in tears as it was all happening so fast!

Once in the room, I asked for the tub. The nurse and Belinda welcomed me in and tried helping me to undress to prepare to be checked and have the baby. I was 9 cm at this point! Once in the tub I felt some relief but still progressing fast. My husband stated he could see the baby’s head. My heart melted to know I was finally going to meet our son after all I went through and to know he’s healthy. After being in the tub I started feeling like my body was trying to push the baby out. Belinda stated “That’s your body stretching out, it’s ok if you need to push, then push” and from that moment I just felt the need to keep pushing so within about 5 or so pushes and asking “is he out?” My husband, with any needed assistance from Belinda, brought Baby Cash Michael Brockman into the world. He was born at 11:06pm weighing 9lbs 1oz and 21 inches long. Belinda and the nurse assisted me to get out of the tub so I could deliver my placenta and be checked for any tearing, which I had none. Belinda was just what I needed in helping me go through my delivery. She truly cares and is super helpful in all she does. I felt so over joyed with seeing how healthy Cash was and having him in my arms and to have the water birth I always wanted. The two nurses that were assisting were also great. They were super helpful in helping with me and the baby and for giving us time with the baby to bond and to breastfeed, and to rest until the morning before we went home.

I am truly blessed to have the women at the WBWC and for all the great care they have given to not only me but also my family. I really can’t thank all the staff for the care they gave to me during my pregnancy and for Belinda for all she did during my delivery. I got to follow up at my two week mark with Belinda and she answered any and all the questions we had no matter how silly they could be, she knew just what to say to help us understand. Thank you Belinda for all your help with Baby Cash.

 

By |April 26th, 2017|Birth Stories|0 Comments

Upcoming Events: May

Click to view detailed calendar

  • Breastfeeding Basics – Tuesday, May 2 & 16, 6:30-8:30pm, $30/couple
  • Coping with Motherhood – Thursday, May 4 & 18, 10:30 AM-12 PM, FREE
  • Babywearing Dance Class – Every Friday 9:15-10:15 AM, $10/adult or $40 for 5 classes
  • Babywearing Class – Saturday, May 6, 10 AM-12 PM, FREE
  • La Leche League Meeting – Wednesday, May 10, 7-8:30 PM, FREE
  • Young Moms Meetup – Thursday, May 11, 4:30-6 PM, FREE
  • Caring for Your Newborn– Thursday, May 11, 6:30-8:30 PM, $30/couple
  • Breastfeeding Cafe – Friday, May 12 & 26, 10:30 AM-12PM, FREE
  • Weekend Breastfeeding Cafe – Saturday, May 13, 10:30 AM-12 PM, FREE
  • Meet the Doulas – Wednesday, May 17, 7-9pm, FREE
  • Cloth Diapering Class – Saturday, May 20, 10-11:30 am, FREE
  • Express Yourself, Pumping and Breastfeeding Class – Tuesday, May 23, 6:30-8:30pm, $30/couple
  • Craniosacral Therapy Clinic – Saturday, May 27, 2-4pm, FREE
By |April 26th, 2017|Events & Workshops|0 Comments

Birth Announcements

Welcome, Sweet Babies!

Jackin Conanaiah Byrd – March 1 – 9 lbs., 3 oz.

Eli Allen Brown – March 1 – 7 lbs., 3 oz.

Lorelei Wynter Rose Knapik – March 3 – 7 lbs., 3 oz.

*Rosalyn Moriah Elizabeth McCabe – March 3 – 5 lbs., 4.3 oz.

Alathea Ringger – March 4 – 7 lbs., 1 oz.

Elias James Everrett Hilchey – March 5 – 9 lbs., 1 oz.

*Ashlynn Willemina Will – March 6 – 9 lbs., oz.

Charles Denton Reese – March 10 – 8 lbs.

Ellery Belle Corey – March 15 – 7 lbs., 14 oz.

Emma Jean Murphy – March 16 – 7 lbs., 5.5 oz.

Osma Meky – March 17 – 7 lbs., 10 oz.

Sadie Adele Denard – March 22 – 6 lbs., 15 oz.

Alexis Lynell Griffin – March 23 – 7 lbs., 8.5 oz.

Wyatt Edward Hobbs – March 23 – 8 lbs., 2 oz.

Cora Jane Sweeney – March 27 – 8 lbs., 2 oz.

Margot Beatrice Thomas – March 28 – 7 lbs., 10 oz.

Eleanor Mae Forbes – March 30 – 7 lbs., 5 oz.

Adalyn Jane Walsh – March 30 – 7 lbs., 7 oz.

 

March stats:

Total babies born: 35

Biggest baby: 9 lbs., 11 oz.

Smallest baby: 5 lbs., 4 oz.

 To be included in this celebratory list, please email Tori at tori@ncbirthcenter.org

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 |April 26th, 2017|Birth Announcements|0 Comments

MILC Moment: Breastfeeding Update 2017

By Rebecca Costello, IBCLC

Twice a year, the WBWC lactation consultants organize a “Breastfeeding Update” for all our midwives, nurse practitioners, and nurses. This spring we covered several topics, one of which was a quality improvement project by our UNC intern, Anna Caudill. Anna pulled data from charts for 6 months of WBWC births, looking at breastfeeding outcomes, specifically whether a baby is at or above birth weight at 2 weeks of age, which is an indicator of whether baby is breastfeeding well/getting enough milk. Her work was an update to a similar assessment conducted 2 years ago, which had enabled us to identify possible early warning signs of breastfeeding issues. As a result of the previous study, WBWC implemented several additional screening measures as part of our routine postpartum care.

Anna’s research showed that over the past 2 years, we cut our rate of babies who were not back to birth weight by 50%! Because our rate 2 years ago was already similar to other comparable populations, this result now means we are doing much better than average. We credit this progress to our focus on early intervention – noticing breastfeeding problems in the first few days of life, and helping fix them quickly. We want to thank the entire WBWC team for making this progress possible, and of course you, our WBWC families, for working so hard with us to make breastfeeding successful for you and your babies.

Anna also looked at the percentage of babies who lost more than 10% of their birth weight in the early days after birth (another sign that breastfeeding is not going well). We found that our rate is consistent with other comparable populations. Our next step is to see whether we can reduce that number as well. We have been in touch with another birth center that successfully reduced its numbers with some baby-friendly changes, like continuous skin-to-skin for 48 hours postpartum. We are interested to pilot some new ideas in the service of happy, healthy moms and babies. Stay tuned!

Image courtesy of Heart in Hands Photography

By |April 26th, 2017|Breastfeeding / MILC Moment|0 Comments

Now Hiring: Labor & Delivery Nurse

Are you an experienced nurse interested in supporting women in an out-of-hospital setting? We are currently looking for full-time Labor and Delivery Nurses to join our team. This is a unique opportunity to support mothers in labor and postpartum. Email Emily Slaughterbeck, RN, emilys@ncbirthcenter.org, with your resume or any questions.


“As a nurse at Women’s Birth and Wellness Center I love deeply connecting with women and families as they bring their little ones into this world. I love being empowered to truly provide the type of care that all women deserve whether it is here at the birth center in a birthing tub or sitting cross legged with them on their bed as I assess there newborn during a homevisit. The midwives make me feel like a valued part of the team as we talk through the plan of care whether it is discussing which herb or homeopathic remedy we should use next or if we are dealing with an emergency resuscitation of a baby. I love using my full range of nursing skills from supporting a mom in labor to teaching a newborn class to assisting a postpartum mom with breastfeeding.” – Asha Oakes, RN, IBCLC

 

By |April 25th, 2017|News|0 Comments

Road Trip Tips

Part 2: Entertainment

By Claire Caprioli

Welcome back! Now that you are prepared for the physical mayhem that could occur on a road trip, you can learn how to avoid the horrors of boredom. You know, the whining, complaining, muttering, bickering, screaming, crying, regression, and eventual total reversion to basic Neanderthal behavior. And that’s just from the driver. Truthfully, in an otherwise healthy family, there are few things more stressful than unhappy children confined in a car. There. Is. No. Escape.

Fortunately, with a little legwork and less than $10 per kid, you can have a (relatively) peaceful and happy trip arriving at your destination with most, or even all, of your hair still attached to your scalp.

All purchases can be made in one trip at Target, Walmart, Dollar Store, and the like. Here are suggestions for toddlers to teens.

For each child:

1) A lidded container, somewhere between 8×11 inches and 15×12 inches and 3-6 inches deep. Bigger is too bulky and smaller is not useful as a lap desk. This doesn’t need to be Rubbermaid’s finest, it just needs a flat lid that clicks on and off easily. In each container you put #2-7 below.

2) Any combo of a NEW activity book, coloring book, doodle pad, construction paper, lined notebook, book

3) Stickers, with which to decorate their own personal travel bins

4) Pencils and colored pencils (and/or markers if you trust your kids not to draw all over the car) Note: Crayons will melt in a hot car, and overly sharp pencils break easily.

5) A small toy or surprise (no noise-makers or make-shift swords!) This could be a small stuffed animal, plastic doo-dad, or better yet an easy craft with felt or origami paper. For something from home, take an old clean sock and a marker for your kid to make into a puppet.

6) A couple napkins, a wet wipe, a ziplock sandwich bag (for easy to seal garbage)

7) 2 or 3 healthy and not-so-healthy treats. I like life savers, granola bars, a small box of raisins, a stick or two of gum, fruit snacks. Pez dispensers can be a big hit, too. Note: Chocolate will melt! Nothing messy/sticky or that poses a big choking hazard (gumballs, popcorn, etc.)

Okay, this is the good part. If done correctly, you will get major fun parent points for hitting the HAPPY KID TRIFECTA: surprise, cool stuff, and control.

Surprise: Ideally, the kids know nothing about these bins until they find them in their seats in the car. Think like Santa and put them in the car the night before.

Cool stuff: New items geared to the interests and age level of each child are in the bin and ready to use. What’s not to like?

Control: Remember the snacks in each bin? It is COMPLETELY up to each child to decide when and how much to eat. They love being in control of when they can eat! Just explain that when it’s gone for one leg of the trip, it’s gone. (Have replacements in your suitcase for the trip home.) Yes, this can potentially lead to tears and begging when one kid sucks up his treats like a vacuum in the first 90 seconds, and another kid uses his notebook to calculate that he can consume one gummy bear every 30 minutes in order to last the length of the trip AND maximize his brother’s annoyance. It can also be a terrific learning experience about self-control and/or bartering with a sibling. Whether they are wisely pacing themselves or lamenting their gluttony, they still have plenty of other interesting items with which to occupy themselves.

Hint: don’t let the kids simply have all these items when the trip is over. Other than food, you can keep everything in the bins exclusively for travel. This way, you only need to replace a few things for each trip. The kids associate these items with car travel and may even come across something they drew during last summer’s beach trip (“Hey, I remember this! We pulled over in the pouring rain so Daddy could fix the tire! Remember when Suzie offered him a raisin, and he told her to shut the window, so she threw it in the mud? I drew a picture of him! Here’s the vein in the middle of his forehead!”)

Let the good times roll!

[Claire Caprioli is a long-time WBWC patient, mother of four, and a freelance writer, editor, and blogger.]

By |April 19th, 2017|Claire Caprioli|0 Comments

Wish List 2017

Women’s Birth & Wellness Center is dedicated to providing women of diverse backgrounds with comprehensive well woman, maternity and preventative healthcare throughout the life cycle.

On behalf of the staff, volunteers, Board of Directors and, most especially, those individuals whom we serve, we thank you for considering a donation. More than ever, our independent fundraising efforts go to ensure and sustain the work of Women’s Birth & Wellness Center.

We are a 501 (c)3 charitable organization and all contributions to our center are tax deductible – we will gladly provide a tax receipt for any donations received. Thank you on behalf of the staff and special women who give birth and receive care at our center.

If you’re interested in making a donation, please contact Brianna Honea at brianna@ncbirthcenter.org or by phone at 919.933.3301, ext. 218.

By |April 6th, 2017|News|0 Comments

From Prenatal Appointment to Documentary Film

By Bradley Bethel

If I could make one recommendation to every expectant dad, it would be this: accompany your partner to her prenatal appointments (with her permission, of course).

For many of us men, pregnancy seems like an unfathomable mystery. Obviously, if we’re about to be become dads, we know something about how a woman becomes pregnant — that’s the easy part. Beyond that, however, society does little to help us understand pregnancy itself or how to support our partners through the process. For generations, we’ve been socialized according to gender norms that minimize men’s role during pregnancy and keep us ignorant about it. No wonder we’re often bewildered by the whole experience.

Unlike the days of Call the Midwife, men are now welcome, even expected, to be with their partners during labor. Yet often our only preparation is a short series of weekly childbirth classes. Somehow, in six weeks, we’re supposed to undo a lifetime of exposure to sensationalized, frightening media depictions of childbirth and then feel prepared to assume the role of a calm, supporting partner.

When my spouse, Tracy, became pregnant two years ago, I was eager to become a dad. But like most expectant fathers, I was anxious about my role during childbirth. Would I be able to provide adequate support to Tracy while she labors? What if something were to go wrong? Would I know what decision to make? How could I possibly remain calm and supportive through something as seemingly terrifying as childbirth?

Fortunately, by the time Tracy woke me up on a Thursday morning several months later to tell me today is the day, my fears had subsided, and I felt ready to provide the support she needed.

My change in confidence began when I accompanied Tracy to her first prenatal appointment with a nurse-midwife at the Women’s Birth & Wellness Center. Midwife means “with women.” Midwifery is a fundamentally woman-centered approach to maternity care, based on respect for women’s bodies and women’s autonomy over their bodies. Many women who choose midwifery-based care describe it as empowering.

Sitting by Tracy’s side at her first appointment, I found it empowering, too. And so I decided to go with her to every one of her prenatal appointments after that.

At each appointment, we learned what was going on with our developing baby and Tracy’s body. As my understanding of the whole process grew, I felt many of my fears dissipate. Childbirth, I realized, isn’t as terrifying as our culture leads us to believe. Tracy’s confidence in giving birth increased, and my confidence in supporting her did likewise.

Our experience shows that the nurse-midwives at the Women’s Birth & Wellness Center are not just “with women” but “with families” as well. They were with us all the way through pregnancy and childbirth. Our daughter was born at the Birth Center without complications, and she remains happy and healthy to this day.

My positive experience with the nurse-midwives at the Birth Center left such an impression on me that it’s actually influenced my current work as a documentary film producer.

Coincidentally, while Tracy and I were working with nurse-midwives here in North Carolina, my filmmaking partner, Ned, was photographing a homebirth in Costa Rica. When he returned from his trip, he told me he had met Costa Rica’s last traditional midwife, a 95-year-old woman named Doña Miriam, who has delivered more than 2,000 babies. Immediately, I wanted us to produce a documentary about her, and Ned was already thinking the same.

Our project, The Last Partera, will document the passing on of the midwifery tradition from Doña Miriam to a new generation of Costa Rican women fighting for their right to choose how they give birth. Over the past year, our production team has expanded to include three women and two men. Two of the team members spent a month filming in Costa Rica last May, and we’ve been raising funds for a return trip later this month.

The project became more urgent two weeks ago when members of the Costa Rican medical establishment made an official statement calling for severe restrictions on the practice of nurse-midwives, which could effectively strip women of their right to choose how they give birth.

From the nurse-midwives at the Women’s Birth & Wellness Center, I learned the importance of educating and empowering women to make their own choices in childbirth. And since I became a father to a daughter, women’s issues have taken on new significance to me. I want my daughter and every daughter to have the right to choose not only whether they give birth but how they give birth.

Although The Last Partera takes place in Costa Rica, the issues we’re covering are relevant here in the U.S., where the C-section rate is well above what it should be. We believe our film will make an original contribution to the global fight for access to quality maternity care and for women’s reproductive rights in general.

Our crowdfunding campaign ends on April 11. Donations are tax-deductible and come with rewards such as opportunities to see the completed film before it’s available for purchase. We’re grateful for all contributions, and we’ll be keeping supporters updated through our newsletter.

Before I conclude with a quote from Ina May Gaskin, I want to note that two years ago I had never even heard of the legendary midwife from The Farm. Now I’m immersed in midwifery literature and consider myself an advocate. My passion for protecting midwifery was ignited at a simple prenatal appointment and has blossomed into production of a documentary film. We need to preserve the tradition of midwifery, and no one articulates the reasons more effectively than Ina May Gaskin:

“When you destroy midwives, you also destroy a body of knowledge that is shared by women, that can’t be put together by a bunch of surgeons or a bunch of male obstetricians, because physiologically, birth doesn’t happen the same way around surgeons, medically trained doctors, as it does around sympathetic women.”

Visit the crowdfunding page for The Last Partera here: seedandspark.com/fund/the-last-partera

By |April 3rd, 2017|News|0 Comments