Monday, February 25, 2013

No Poo - Revisited

Let's talk No Poo again. It's been 13 months since I've regularly used shampoo.  I get lots of questions about  how it's going. Time for an update.

In case you have no idea what I'm talking about, here is  original post.  My recipe is there, too.

My hairdresser has finally gotten used to my routine and has admitted that my hair and scalp are much healthier.  This is my routine now:

I'm only using the baking soda mixture followed with the apple cider vinegar mixture about twice a month now.  My scalp is almost never itchy any more. When I used shampoo, by about day 3 to 5, it felt a little itchy.  Remember, my hair is super dry.  I have no oil.  At all.  I can easily get away with this.  Side note:  I never did find the aloe vera to add to my ACV rinse.  Oh well.

When I need to "start over" with my hair, I just do a cold rinse, scruntch in my conditioner, followed up with squeezing in some clear gel.  I squeeze and scrunch it until no water comes out.

The very important "plop"
Then, I add my plop.  My version, which seems to be working for me, is to use a big t-shirt and lay it out flat.  I tip my head upside-down, place all my hair at the top of my head, then twist and wrap both sides of the shirt, tucking it in to the back of the t-shirt/towel.  I look like Princess Leah with the plop on my head. I leave it on as long as possible, even a couple of hours.  The longer, the curlier.

The only thing I use the blow dryer for is my bangs.  Some people use a diffuser, but I don't.  I just let my hair air dry.  I try not to touch it much while it's drying, but if I do, it's just to scrunch it.

My hairdresser says not to tell anyone this because it'll put her out of business, but she said that my color stays better and that my hair feels really different - better. I think it kills her to admit that because she was so opposed to me doing No Poo.

I was so intimidated in the beginning of my No Poo journey because I wanted to know exactly when to do the rinses, what formulas, etc.  Everyone told me to give it time and I'd figure out what works and what doesn't.  They were right.  I've met a couple of people that have done No Poo for a long time and they have been helpful with different techniques and tips.

Curlier to the root & more volume
Just this week I learned of a place in Ft. Worth called The Curly Tree.  She does a curly haircut when your hair is DRY, not wet.  I'm totally going.  I feel like I'm cheating on my hairdresser (we've been together for almost 8 years!), but as one of the no-pooers said to me, it's like leaving your OB for someone better for you.  I have more anxiety over the possibility of leaving my hairdresser than I ever did over leaving my OB!

People always ask me about doing No Poo when they have oily hair.  I really don't know.  The only reason I do it - do I dare admit, with a Diet Mountain Dew in hand - that I couldn't care less about the chemicals?  I just heard that the No Poo makes your hair curlier.  That's why I do it.  If I had straight oily hair, I wouldn't care about No Poo.

Yes, it's true, I'm not crunchy.  Maybe chewy.  Maybe.

Monday, February 18, 2013

"Please Just Get the Epidural" said the OB

A while back, an out-of-state couple of mine was trying to find a good care provider who is supportive of natural birth.  I posted the question on my BFBS Facebook page and several of you jumped right in with some great responses.  One person simply stated, "Just tell the doctor you don't want medicine."  She deleted the comment, but it had gone to my email first.  I'm not sure why she deleted it.  I reflected on her comment the rest of the week.

If only it were that easy - just tell your OB that you don't want medicine.  And yet, for the majority of women that choose to birth without medication, it's an uphill battle.

Why I (Your OB) Push the Epidural

First, if I'm an OB, I rarely see a birth without medication, mostly because the majority of women want the epidural.  It's what I am comfortable with.  It's what I learned in medical school and in my residency.  It's what I do.  When you tell me that you don't want the epidural, I think, "I've heard this one before!"  Lots of women tell me that, but few actually follow through.  I can have a great influence in how your labor goes.  I'll play along though and tell you exactly what you want to hear.  A couple of my favorite lines:

"You can hang from the rafters for all I care!" (She's making fun of you with a statement like this.  She believes that a civilized woman would never choose to birth without an epidural.  She doesn't get it.)

"As long as everything is going smoothly for baby and everyone is safe, I'll let you do whatever you want."  (A statement like this reminds a confident woman that birth is dangerous and she might need to be rescued.  It's definitely passive-aggressive.  You think you're getting what you want, but really, the doctor is putting you exactly where she wants you -- on the verge of thinking you and your baby are not safe. She will come up with a reason to interfere with your labor.)

Unless your care provider is actively helping women have unmedicated births, she doesn't know how to help you.  Just because she is catching babies doesn't mean she knows a thing about natural birth. 

The noises of a laboring woman make me very uncomfortable, all the moaning.  If she's doing it "right" they sound a little too sexy. Eew.  You can tell a lot about where she is in her labor, and more importantly, how she is handling her labor.  Are the sounds high-pitched and short breathed?  She's struggling.  Are they low and long deep breaths?  She's on top of it.  Is she tightening during contractions or letting it all hang out?

Back to my roll-play as the OB, I like it when you have an epidural because ultimately, I'm in control of your labor.  I can increase the pitocin and really get this show on the road!  I don't want to be at your labor all day/night.  With an epidural, you will do whatever I want you to do.  If I think breaking your water should be done (I can come up with a million reasons why this is good or necessary for your labor/baby to progress), you'll do exactly what I say.

I also prefer you to stay in the bed on a monitor.  When you have an epidural, I like this.  You aren't going anywhere - none of this silliness of walking around, bouncing on a birth ball, or moaning like a wild animal in the shower or tub.  No, I like you acting civilized in a bed, on a monitor, preferably sleeping.

I also prefer to "deliver" your baby while you are flat on your back with the bright lights on your vagina.  Then I can see what I am doing.  You can't feel how uncomfortable this is anyway since you have an epidural.  This really makes my job much easier.  I like a compliant patient.  It's easier on my back too.  Imagine leaning over a birth tub to catch a baby!  Honestly!

In the end, if I decide a c-section is the way to go, you already have an epidural.  I can make that call and have things move super fast.  If you don't have an epidural placed early on, this delays the c-section.  I can always use general anesthesia, but then I really have to justify the emergency factor.  The epidural is just so .... easy.

So, please.  Just have the epidural and make this easier on us all.  Thank you.

Your Typical American OB

Monday, February 11, 2013

Banned From Baby Showers Sets Record Straight Once and For All About What She Actually Believes About Birth -- Read at Your Own Risk!

If you know me or have taken my class or have been a long-time reader of my blog, you can probably skip this post.  You already know what I believe about birth.

If, however, you have been sucked in to the online birth drama, you might have been told that I am a "Birth Nazi" (yeah, I wrote a post about that a couple of years ago) or that I believe birth is "sunshine and rainbows."  Where people get this stuff is beyond me.

So, as you read things online about Donna Ryan or Banned From Baby Showers, I suggest you  go straight to the source - me! - and find out if it's true or not.  The downside to that route is that it's not nearly as much fun.  It's more entertaining to think that I am totally hardcore and yell at people when they have an epidural.  It's fun to believe that I am void of compassion, never shed a tear, and completely lack the ability to be empathic.  If I see false statements about myself, I will pull this post out and share it.

Short and sweet, my friends.  I believe most women are capable of birthing their babies without intervention.  I believe that labor and birth are hard work and that we rarely do something this hard - physically, emotionally, or mentally - in our entire lives.  I tell my couples that.  I have never ever described birth as sunshine and rainbows or told a woman she won't feel pain. While some people teach that,  I don't.

Labor is hard.  And that is OK!  This is why it's so awesome!  To go through something so challenging and then come out on the other side - well, nothing compares.

As hard as labor/birth might be, I believe that women are STRONG.  Even women who seem weak or insecure - when they do this, they find themselves. They discover an inner strength they didn't know they had.  I've had many women like this in class and it is a humbling experience to walk this road with her, cheering her on because you KNOW she can do it.

Labor is unpredictable.  And that's OK!  Don't be a victim of your labor!  Own it.  It belongs to you.  No one can do it for you.  That is one of the great things about labor.  It's yours.

You educate yourself.  You choose a care provider you completely trust.  Roll with the punches.  Your labor might be really long or super fast.  Baby might be in a funky position or your labor might stall out for hours.  Embrace your labor  - physically, emotionally, and mentally.

I have had all of the above.  I've had hard labors.  I have had fast labors.  I've had back labor, and even leg labor (that really sucks!).  They were all different.   There were things I hated with some of them.  And with others, there were the sweetest, most tender moments of my life. I learned from all of my births.  They were my experiences and that's OK.  I own them - the good and the bad.  I encourage my couples to do the same.

Within the Birth Boot Camp curriculum there are weekly assignments for couples to work on.  Pregnancy is a unique time in a couple's relationship to grow closer and prepare to welcome this new member of their family.  We didn't glorify and pretty up the name though.  It's Birth Boot Camp - not Sunshine and Rainbows!  It's 10 weeks of hard work that pays off in the end when you are able to advocate for yourself and make informed decisions.  We hope you have an unmedicated birth, but if you don't, we hope that you had the information to make decisions you are comfortable with and understand.  We hope you feel empowered through your birth.

Things may not go the way you plan or want them to.  I honestly hate it when that happens.  It's disappointing all the way around.  Everyone wants a healthy mom and a healthy baby, but even when everyone is fine, it's OK to feel disappointed for the loss of a natural birth.  Life, like birth, is often pretty unpredictable.  We do the best with what we have or know, and for the most part, how we deal with it - our attitude - makes up the rest.

I love birth.  I love my job.  I love working with expecting couples and instructors-in-training.  I am not one to tell someone else what they should or should not say, think, or feel.  I ask for the same respect in return.

These are my beliefs about birth.  I can't imagine how they could possibly offend anyone, but if they do, kindly step away from my happy bubble.

Monday, February 4, 2013

Welcome to the Olive Garden...

In case you missed it, the American Association of Birth Centers released The National Birth Study II this week.  You can read the article here.  The findings are HUGE!  I want to give you the condensed highlights and then we'll chat....

The study included 15,574 women at 79 birth centers across the U.S. between the years of 2007 and 2010.  This is a respectable sized study.  About 80% of the women were married and about 3/4 of them had at least some college education.  Half of them were having their first baby, while the other 50% had given birth previously.

Here's the awesome part of the study - 94% of the women planning a birth center birth had a vaginal birth!  This means that only 6% of these women had a cesarean section.  It's true, they were all low-risk.  But in the hospital, the rate of cesarean section for low-risk women is 27%!  Read this paragraph again.  I'll give you a minute...

There were no maternal deaths ("I would have died if I would have had my baby out of a hospital!") and the stillborn/newborn death rate was very consistent with other birth places.  In other words, these babies likely would have died regardless of where they were born.

Interestingly, the rate of cesarean birth in the hospitals has dramatically increased over the decades, while it has remained stable - and low - in the birth centers between 4.4%-6%.  The women in this study saved more than $30 million simply by birthing in a birth center instead of a hospital.

According to Rebecca Dekker, "The National Birth Center Study II shows that when women receive midwifery-led care in birth centers, preventable C-sections are prevented...  Legislation is needed to align payment methods and regulations so that we can better promote the proliferation of birth centers."  In other words, if you are low-risk, hire a midwife, birth out of hospital, and demand that insurance cover midwifery care at a birth center!

For years I have said that birthing in the hospital is like eating at the Olive Garden.  Before I go any further, let me just say that I worked for Darden Restaurants at the Olive Garden for nearly 4 years.  They are a fabulous company to work for.  Seriously.  I got vacation, insurance, incentives.  Sometimes I still miss it.  It's also still one of my favorite places to eat.  With that being said....

When you walk in, you are welcomed by the hostess.  Hopefully you don't have to wait too long for a table.  You have a lovely meal, but if you camp out, your server starts getting nervous.  Because of all the refillable items, the server's section only consists of 3 tables in order to give great service.  If he/she is going to make any money, they've got to turn those tables.  When one table hangs out, it hurts the profits of both the server and the restaurant, and the lobby starts filling and backing up, especially if several tables are "camping out."

When you are birthing at the hospital, you simply cannot labor in a room for hours upon hours, or sometimes days.  The lobby (triage) is filling up and your table (room) is needed.  Even the best care providers working in the hospital will tell you to "come in pushing" because they know that women are much more likely to have things done to them to speed things along once they are in the hospital - things that interfere with and interrupt the natural process.

One of the most significant points worth repeating from the study is that low-risk women have a 6% c-section rate at a birth center, but in the hospital, they are more than 4 times as likely to have a c-section, at 27%!  Some of the reasons for higher c-section rates when mom plans a hospital birth include:

* We need your table - i.e. Failure to Progress - Mom has "failed" to progress within her time limit imposed by the hospital.

High rate of induction and not allowing labor to start on its own - A first-time mom is twice as likely to have a c-section when her labor is induced.

*  The use of epidurals and IV drugs do affect the course of a woman's labor.  These are not options in a birth center.

*  Baby is more likely to have heart decelerations with pitocin and other drugs in mom's system, causing care providers to worry more - not just about the baby but also about lawsuits.  The what-if factor is huge and a lot of cesareans are performed as a direct result.

*  We cannot ignore the money factor.  C-sections make more money.

*  We cannot ignore the time factor.  The more time the OB is in the hospital, often, his lobby is full over at his office.  Ever wonder why you wait for 3 hours at your OB appointment?  He/she is aware they are getting further behind the longer you are taking to have your baby.  They don't have time to wait around.  (I actually get this one.  I am super selfish with my time.  I can't stand to wait - on anything - and know I'm getting behind with other things.  I would make a terrible midwife for this reason.)

Personally, I believe at the root of choosing hospital birth is the desire for an epidural.  I believe that if women (and men) weren't so afraid, they wouldn't ignore this evidence about the safety of out-of-hospital birth.  Education takes the fear away.

 "You CAN have an amazing birth!"  -  Birth Boot Camp

Now, go enjoy a delicious meal at the Olive Garden and tell them Banned From Baby Showers sent you!