Birth

Café Recap: How To Write A Birth Plan

We reference birth plans almost weekly in our small groups, so today we're excited to again devote an entire panel to writing them!

Meet the Experts: An Interview with Leslie Payne

Meet the Experts: An Interview with Leslie Payne

This is part of our series, "Meet the Experts". In this series of posts, we interview a wide variety of men and women involved in every aspect of the field of maternal health. Today, we welcome Leslie Payne, a Certified Professional Midwife in our local area.

Bravery.

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Last weekend our volunteer staff had the opportunity to spend an entire day together. We ate, played, and spent time digging into our own stories - in order that we might be able to better walk alongside you. There was a resounding theme that echoed through the day. We, as a culture, must seek to rid ourselves of assumptions. We must validate the unique stories of the women in our lives. We can walk alongside each other in pain and in joy.

Through education and support we strongly feel there is hope for a societal shift in maternal health.

We acknowledge that we all must become better listeners. In humility and vulnerability, we must also share our stories. For often, healing begins with one person's simple bravery.

Will you join us in changing the culture? Will you join us as we seek to better the health of women from pre-conception through preschool? Change begins with individuals. Change begins with us.

All my love,

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Local Hospital Earns BABY-FRIENDLY DESIGNATION!

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A very special day has come! You might remember my post back on March 2nd about our local hospital's push to become Baby-Friendly (read here.) Well, friends, advocates, mothers-to-be, mothers, grandmothers, and all of Lynchburg, VA. THEY DID IT! The call came in yesterday that Centra Virginia Baptist Hospital is now a Baby-Friendly Hospital. The Administration, Nursing Staff, Lactation Staff, and Care Providers have all worked tirelessly to put bring about a positive change in maternal and infant health. We could not be more proud. Please know that this was not an easy undertaking. There has been much education, many policy changes, some protocol changes, and so much more. All for YOU.

As a reminder, Baby-Friendly hospitals and birthing facilities must adhere to the following Ten Steps to receive, and retain, a Baby-Friendly designation.

The Ten Steps to Successful Breastfeeding are:

  1. Have a written breastfeeding policy that is routinely communicated to all health care staff.
  2. Train all health care staff in the skills necessary to implement this policy.
  3. Inform all pregnant women about the benefits and management of breastfeeding.
  4. Help mothers initiate breastfeeding within one hour of birth.
  5. Show mothers how to breastfeed and how to maintain lactation, even if they are separated from their infants.
  6. Give infants no food or drink other than breast-milk, unless medically indicated.
  7. Practice rooming in – allow mothers and infants to remain together 24 hours a day.
  8. Encourage breastfeeding on demand.
  9. Give no pacifiers or artificial nipples to breastfeeding infants.
  10. Foster the establishment of breastfeeding support groups and refer mothers to them on discharge from the hospital or birth center.

Join us in congratulating the hardworking team at Centra Virginia Baptist Hospital!

A short piece by the local news can be found here.

Baby-Friendly USA - Standing behind our local hospital

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One of the things we most desire as an organization is to advocate for a positive change in maternal health on a community level. It is for that reason that we are proud to stand behind our local hospital (Centra Virginia Baptist Hospital) in their effort to obtain the coveted, Baby-Friendly USA designation. The staff and administration have worked relentlessly to integrate the Ten Steps to Successful Breastfeeding best practices. Baby-Friendly hospitals and birthing facilities must adhere to the Ten Steps to receive, and retain, a Baby-Friendly designation. The Ten Steps to Successful Breastfeeding are:

  1. Have a written breastfeeding policy that is routinely communicated to all health care staff.
  2. Train all health care staff in the skills necessary to implement this policy.
  3. Inform all pregnant women about the benefits and management of breastfeeding.
  4. Help mothers initiate breastfeeding within one hour of birth.
  5. Show mothers how to breastfeed and how to maintain lactation, even if they are separated from their infants.
  6. Give infants no food or drink other than breast-milk, unless medically indicated.
  7. Practice rooming in - allow mothers and infants to remain together 24 hours a day.
  8. Encourage breastfeeding on demand.
  9. Give no pacifiers or artificial nipples to breastfeeding infants.
  10. Foster the establishment of breastfeeding support groups and refer mothers to them on discharge from the hospital or birth center.

Centra Virginia Baptist Hospital will have their site visit for accreditation by Baby-Friendly USA on March 10 and 11, 2015. They have a request for you, the mothers of our local community. The goal of the 2 site assessors will be to see moms here in the hospital, but they may need to call moms on the phone to ask about their stay. If you were a patient in the last 6 weeks you have the potential to hear from a Baby-Friendly assessor. Questions could include: Was your baby offered a pacifier? How long did you do skin to skin? Was your baby taken from your room? Would you be willing to take the time to speak honestly and truthfully with the assessors? Would you be willing to think about your answers to these questions in preparation? We know your time is limited and precious, and we thank you in advance for considering your response. Together we will support this momentum for a positive change in maternal health in our community.

If you have any questions or concerns, Jackie Weaver (Unit Manager, Mother Baby) would love to hear from you, her office number is 200-4630!

 

For more details about the practices put into place and the road to Baby-Friendly, read on:

The journey to this site visit is what led our hospital to add many of the wonderful processes you may have experienced recently. Skin to skin is now possible for 100% of our vaginal deliveries as long as everyone is stable. We offer skin to skin for our C-section patients as well as long as mom and baby are stable. Even if skin to skin is not possible after your C-section, we have an increased focus on non-separation of mom from her baby. This can include a care partner holding the baby close by in the operating room or mom meeting her baby in recovery. Skin to skin should last as long as mom wants and at least through the first feeding. This process has been very rewarding for our staff as we watch babies transition significantly better on mom’s chest.

Other practices influenced by our journey include rooming in and lactation education for all our staff members. Rooming in helps mom and babies learn to be a team by matching sleep cycles and becoming familiar with babies unique cues. All staff members received lactation education and training. We now have a team of lactation consultants who see moms (formula and breast milk) in the hospital as well as outpatient at our Baby Café.

We are so thankful to groups such as yours for your support and collaboration. Through your discussions, patient experience stories, and questions we have been able to influence the population health of our community. With the support of the wonderful moms in our area, we now have a breastfeeding rate of 90%.

Jackie Weaver | Unit Manager, Mother Baby

Happy Birthday...A Healing Birth.

Reading the birth experiences of other mothers gives us a real appreciation for the strength we have in childbirth. Hopefully these stories will inspire you. ~TMC --- The following is a letter that I wrote to my son on his 5th birthday. I hold his birth dear to my heart--it was a VBAC (vaginal birth after cesarean) and a healing birth in many ways. Not only that, it started me on my journey towards becoming a doula, a job that I adore and love. Through my work, I get to help educate mothers and their partners about all the choices that surround the birth of their baby, and help them become advocates for themselves. Not only that, I get to meet babies--loads of sweet, salty smelling babies--born to parents who adore them. How perfect! ---

Dear Sawyer,

On the eve of your birth, I want you to know that you are the reason I am so passionate about my work.  Not only birth work in general, but more specifically, working with moms and dads and helping them understand their choices when it comes to vaginal births after cesareans.  You were my first vbac, and when I lifted you onto my chest, your breathing filled my lungs, and all my hopes and dreams for you mixed together in one sweet, soft song.  Your baby smell—that salty, warm smell—filled the room and it might have been minutes (or maybe seconds, I can’t be sure) that I locked eyes with you and knew that I had been given a most precious gift.

Your birth brought about a range of emotions in me—complete joy followed by sadness for what I had missed before.  My previous birth, a c-section, had given me a beloved baby girl, but also a deep scar that was not only physical but also emotional.  As you were born, as I held your soft body, as you nuzzled into my neck, I could feel the scar coming apart. This scar that I had held so tightly began to unravel around me—my previous choices, peoples comments, the physical pain, the missed moments—they began to fade away.  Before I knew it, I had forgiven myself and believed in myself again. This confidence might have started with your birth, but it did not end there—it flooded over into other aspects of my life.  I mothered with more assurance, I lived with more determination, and I let go of the past and looked to the future.  I began to find a passion—a passion for birth and for mommies and babies.  Not because I believe that the way a woman births is the most important thing, but because I believe that the way women and babies are respected and treated at this most intimate moment is the most important thing.

I did not know it right away, this life work that I would be called too.  I have watched many mommies lift their babies to their chests since you were born.  I have watched daddies look on with awe as their sons and daughters are born--by strong, confident, precious women.  I have watched, and secretly remembered you each time—my Sawyer.  You are full of life and mischief, and wonder and love—all rolled up with a lot of danger and no hesitation.  You embody everything they say about little boys and red-heads too: you are hot headed or as easy going as can be, and you change minute by minute or hour by hour.  You have a love for life and people, and there is no challenge you cannot conquer, no mountain you cannot climb (literally.)  I can’t begin to imagine what you will be one day—a fisherman, an astronaut, a musician, a documentary maker.  I know you will give your Daddy and me plenty of trouble, but I don’t doubt that you will love the Lord with your whole heart.  You have always had a soft spirit and I pray every day that you continue to see the world with a twinkle in your clear, blue eyes.

Sometimes I sneak away in the middle of the night, and sometimes I am gone for days at a time.  I might miss a game or two, but I want you to remember that birth work is important work. It changes women, it unites marriages, and it grows strong families.  I want you to remember that I found myself again because of you.  I want you to remember that I will never forget the feeling of you, and the way you fit perfectly in my waiting arms.

Happy 5th Birthday to you…my Sawyer.

All my love,

Mommy

--- Do you have a birth story you'd like to share with our readers? Please submit it here or email us at submissions@themotherhoodcollective.org.