Thursday, January 31, 2013

Homebirth Cesarean Book Project

Some women who set out to have a homebirth, end up needing emergency transfer to a hospital to have a cesarean section. This can be really hard for moms to accept. There is a group on homebirth cesarean moms and midwives working on a book to help other women, emotionally, through this difficult situation. Please check out the link below to see what they are up to.

Monday, January 28, 2013

Downton Abbey and Childbirth

After a long day at the office, I came home and settled into my bed with my laptop to watch Downton Abbey that had aired the night before. I was shocked when I watched in unfold. Lady Sybil was in the throws of childbirth when the episode began. I couldn't believe it--two things that bring me great joy, childbirth and Masterpiece Theater, had converged in a great episode of Downton Abbey.

I invite you to read more about the events that unfolded in that episode, from a maternal health point of view, or just to watch it (which is much better in my humble opinion).

Long Day at the Office

Today I attended my 7th birth. My client was courageously attempting a VBAC. After many hours of labor, every intervention imaginable, and one false move, she was whisked away for an emergency (a real emergency) c-section.

As doulas we will, inevitably, replay events of a birth we attended over and over again in our minds. Most have outstanding outcomes and we can pat ourselves on the back for helping to make a women's birth experience satisfying. But we also have to wrestle with those births that didn't end with an empowering vaginal birth or didn't go as planned. But I honestly feel that you take the good with the not-so-good and you learn from it and do better. There is no sense is feeling pride or despair. The true role of a doula is as a humble servant, which means not thinking too highly of yourself or too lowly and being willing to learn and move forward.

It also helps to get perspective on your experience. Talk to someone who has been there before. Don't hold it inside. Learn from your experience and take solid advice.

Those are the two lessons from my 7th birth...

Friday, January 25, 2013

Fistula Foundation

Something that I am pretty passionate about is maternal health, not only in the US, but also around the world. One of the most devastating, but treatable, problems that plague women's health are fistulas. Fistulas are injuries that occur to a mother's pelvic floor while giving birth. In most cases, in developed nations, fistulas are repaired and the mother can live a normal life. However, in developing or third world countries, these injuries leave women, at the very least, crippled with a humiliating condition and in some cases lead to death of the mother and/or baby.

The Fistula Foundation states: "We believe that no woman should have to suffer a life of shame and isolation for trying to bring a child into the world. We are dedicated to raising awareness of and funding for fistula repair, prevention, and educational programs worldwide to help eradicate fistula."  The Fistula Foundation funds programs and organizations that provide surgery to women with fistulas in 18 developing nations in the world.

You can help. You can help by spreading awareness and by donating. If you look on the "Gear" tab of my blog, you will notice at the bottom that all the profits of the baby and mama things that I make go to the Fistula Foundation. Also, a portion of my doula earnings also go there. This is an easy way for women to help women and to end suffering and death in the world.

If you want to learn more, visit

I believe with all my heart that we can make a difference!

Wednesday, January 23, 2013


Sometimes when I hear the word docs and birth together I start to worry, but not this time. Documentaries is the kind of docs I'm talking about!

I have stumbled across some really intriguing documentaries debuting about birth and breastfeeding. I am really excited to see these when they come to my area or, more likely, when they come to DVD.

Check out the trailers to each of these documentaries:

Birth Story:


Saturday, January 19, 2013

Annie Byrd, CD(DONA)

It is official--I am a certified DONA birth doula! After stacks of books, mounds of paperwork, hours of trainings, and days of births, I am a certified birth doula through Doulas of North America International. Thank you to the many people who have supported, trusted and encouraged me through this awesome journey. Every birth has been meaningful and each family welcoming. I am looking forward to all the new families and babies I will meet in the years to come!

Saturday, January 12, 2013

Just In Case

So far in my doula-ing career, I have not yet attended a birth when there was a true medical emergency that required extensive intervention. Although many women have c-sections, they aren't always an emergency. Like an emergency where the doctors don't ask you what you want they just start rushing you somewhere and doing stuff. But emergencies do happen and it is so important to have a transfer plan if you having a home birth or one at a birthing center.

Here are some questions to ask yourself:
How far away is the nearest hospital?
Is there a doctor/midwife practice that will accept transfer patients from a home birth?
What are the circumstances that you would want to be transferred to a hospital (discuss with midwife)?

Home birth and birth center birth can be very safe, but it is important to have a plan.

Some people do not like hospitals (and for good reasons), but when you are having an emergency they can be life-saving. Below is an article from a women who needed to be transferred and emergency care. I post it not to frighten you, but to inform you on the importance of a plan...just in case. You will feel less panicked if you have a plan and do need hospital services.