Why are there still unsafe birth pools out there? Why are people still insisting that birth pools can be cleaned with soap and sunlight? Read what makes a birth pool safe and the only proper way to clean them for reuse.Read More
There are a lot of rumors swirling around about waterbirth in the hospitals in Dallas and Fort Worth right now, and I'd like to answer some of the questions that I've been seeing floating about in different groups. This information is current as of me writing it on the evening of April 17th and may require an update in the future.
1. What's going on at Harris Downtown? Are the Acclaim Midwives still doing waterbirths?
Today, no. Waterbirth is not happening - full stop - while it is being reviewed by a hospital committee. This is not due in any part to fault by the midwives. Women who were planning to deliver in the water may still labor in the water, but they cannot have a waterbirth right now.
I suspect the Acclaim Midwives could use some words of support. You can leave them a note on their Facebook page. I also suspect the hospital needs to hear from those of us who are unhappy about this change. You can send them a note via their Contact form.
2. Is there another hospital in Dallas or Fort Worth where I can have a waterbirth?
Dallas: the short answer is no. The long answer is - hopefully soon. Adrienne Jones is working to bring waterbirth to Dallas Presby (on Walnut Hill). I spoke with her about ten days ago and she is currently working out of an OBs office while working to get her own space. I'll post updates as I have them. UPDATE: Adrienne Jones, CNM is now attending waterbirths as part of the THD Midwifery & Family Wellness program! Click here to order your pool rental & set up: THD Waterbirth
3. If I want a waterbirth at Harris Southwest, how does this work?
Choose the Grace Midwives as your provider. Talk to them about wanting to have a waterbirth, then visit our Rentals page to reserve your tub.
Our staff will be on call for you beginning at 37 weeks. Your midwife will let us know when you are headed to the hospital and need a tub, and you're also welcome to give us a heads up. Our on-call number is answered 24 hours a day and once you request the tub, it will arrive at the hospital within two hours. After your baby is born, call us again (usually the midwife or nurse calls) and we'll be back within two hours to take the pool down.
You may not know, but clients in the Dallas - Fort Worth area can also choose to add on placenta encapsulation services in addition to birth pool services.
Recently, Maryn was featured in the local newspaper about her placenta business, and you can read the article here - Coppell Gazette Article.
Thinking about placenta encapsulation? We can definitely make the process simple if you'd like to add it on to birth pool services. Check out our website devoted exclusively to placenta encapsulation over at DFW Placenta. Both Maryn and her placenta business partner Maria have encapsulated more than 500 placentas, and we provide a transport kit to make sure you have a great way to package your placenta for pickup.
Dreaming about a hospital waterbirth? Harris Methodist Hospital in Southwest Ft. Worth is making your dreams a reality!
Starting in January 2017, you can now have an inflatable waterbirth tub in your hospital room to labor and birth in! Many hospitals in the Dallas-Ft. Worth area permit a waterbirth pool for labor, but Harris Southwest is one of the few where women can actually give birth in the tub.
Here's how the process there works - clients of Grace OB/GYN and Midwifery can speak with their care provider about their interest in waterbirth, then make their pool reservations through Buoyant Birth. During labor, as you communicate with your midwife, they're also communicating with us to let us know that you're in labor and need a tub. Once we get the go signal from your midwife, a member of our staff heads to the hospital to set up the tub. After your baby is born, we get a call from your midwives to let us know and we head back over to take the pool down.
We spent much of the end of 2016 getting ready for this to start, and we're so thrilled that it has! Now that we've done several births there, I can say that it's going smoothly and simply without families needing to do any work with the pools. Someone from Buoyant Birth sets up the pool, takes it down, and cleans all of the equipment so that you can focus on your birth and afterwards, your beautiful baby!
If you have any questions about how this works, we'd love to talk more with you about it! Please feel free to call us at 844-752-2682 and we'll chat!
I wrote an article with an overview of waterbirth - what's available and what the options are if you're having a homebirth, birth center birth, or hospital birth. I'd be thrilled for you to check it out, and if you like it, please leave a comment on their site!
I follow the news about waterbirth pretty closely, as I'm always interested in things that have the potential to have an effect on our clients and their birthing choices.
You may have seen the news about DeKalb Medical Center in Georgia issuing an order to stop all waterbirths after October 31st. (If you haven't, here's a link to the story: Waterbirth Ban.)
As a business professional, it's interesting to me whenever someone chooses to limit the scope of their practice and effectively send their customers elsewhere. Recently, I made a doctor's appointment and when I'd called to schedule my appointment, the first available date was six weeks out and the receptionist asked "are you sure you really want to wait that long?" It wasn't urgent, the doc came highly recommended, and I was totally fine with waiting.
Anyway, I mentioned it to the doctor that he might suggest a different way to word the appointment issue to potential customers and I said "after all, we're all in sales, right?" He laughed, and agreed, and said that he'd talk with the staff about how to handle appointment dates.
This hospital that's banning waterbirth - they're in sales, too. And if they don't sell a product that people want, women are going to go elsewhere to have the births that they want. One of my friends drove nearly an hour (with a history of precipitous labors!) to have a waterbirth - bypassing dozens of hospitals across Dallas and Ft. Worth to get to the place where she could have the birth that she wanted.
I looked at De Kelb County's birth statistics from 2015, and they had just over 11,000 births. That's 11,000 families - CUSTOMERS - who are shopping for birth services - many of whom may choose to have another child and make a decision about a facility based on the services that are available to them. Will all of those families want or be eligible for waterbirth? No, of course not. But if even 5% or 10% of them are, then isn't it worth finding a safe way to make it happen and get those customers in the door?
My daughter's home birth was planned but her water birth was not. I had a birthing pool that our midwives offered. I figured I would labor in it some but the thought of her being born in the pool was weird to me. Turns out once I was in there I loved it. After hours of intense back labor I could almost relax.
I wasn't attached to the idea of giving birth in a tub. I actually pictured giving birth on my bed. My team filled the tub and I got inside. HEAVEN! My feet, knees and whole body were tired from the positions I was in before. Once I got in the tub, I was relaxed and could relieve the pressure from my tired limbs. I'm pregnant again and the tub is a requirement for me now!
We're rolling out some new options for our birth pool rentals - check them out!Read More
My estimated due date was 12/27/15. Being my second pregnancy, I was sure my baby girl was going to arrive early. My pregnancy had been great, the complete opposite of my first pregnancy. This time around, I didn't suffer from gestational diabetes that needed to be controlled with insulin, I didn't gain too much weight, and didn't need to be induced. It was everything I could ask for!
Because my pregnancy was coming along so smoothly, I chose to do something I never thought I'd get to do... I chose to have a home birth. I attempted to have a home birth with my first pregnancy but was considered high risk and couldn't follow through. I finally had the opportunity to get the birth experience I always wanted. I met with a team of midwives from a practice called Birth Matters Midwifery Care. They were great! All my prenatal appointments were about an hour long. We would sit, talk about the pregnancy, how I was feeling, they would check my BP, fundal height, check baby's heart rate, and palpate me to see where baby was located.
So my due date came and went with no impending signs of labor aside from the occasional contraction here and there. The day I turned 41 weeks, I woke up feeling rested and followed my normal morning routine. I sat up in bed after my three year old daughter came into my room greeting me with her traditional "Good morning Mommy". After sitting up for a few minutes, I suddenly felt a gush of fluid. It wasn't like they show you in the movies and to be honest, I wasn't totally convinced my water had broken. So I put on a pad, went back to sleep. When I woke up again, I noticed more fluid and some bloody show. This was a sure sign baby was on her way!
I called my midwives to give them the heads up. They kept checking in on me every few hours. I went about my normal routine (and maybe walked a few extra miles that day). As the day continued, there were no signs of labor. I felt disappointed. I figured I'd get as much rest as I could, while I could.
The next day the midwives dropped by to check in on me and baby. Everything seemed to be going well. They recommended trying some things to get labor started, one of those things being castor oil. So later that day, I took castor oil with a homemade pina colada smoothie. I noticed an increase in some contractions. As the evening went on, my contractions picked up. They weren't very intense to begin with, lasting about 30 seconds every 10 minutes. Once the contractions picked up some more and I found myself breathing through them, my three midwives came over.
My husband, Woody, had already set up the tub. I began by laboring on the birth ball and moved in and out of the tub throughout the night. Sometime in the wee hours of the morning, I noticed my contractions slowing down. The midwives recommended I try to lay down and get some sleep. I did just that! I knew I'd have quite the journey ahead of me. So I went to bed thinking I'd wake up to more contractions. To my surprise, I slept through the night and woke up late morning.
The midwives had stayed with us overnight. After speaking to them, they decided to check me and see if I had made any progress overnight, see if my water bag was still in fact ruptured, and check on baby. Before going into labor I was already 3cm dilated and 70% effected. When they checked me again, I had made no progress. My water bag seemed to be intact. The midwives explained that the bag has layers and the first layer was probably what ruptured. The other thing they realized was that baby had some rotating to do. She was in a posterior (sunny side up) position. They recommended I rest up during the day and eventually labor would pick up again. I felt a little discouraged; after hours of contractions, my labor had stalled. But I listened to the midwives and rested as much as I could that day and attempted to turn the baby with exercises and a chiropractic treatment.
That evening labor had picked up again. This time labor was fast and swift. I didn't want to call the midwives until I was sure it was true labor. I spent the first few hours laboring on the birth ball and enjoying the time I had with my husband before we brought our little girl into this world. At one point, I wanted to go into the birth tub and made my transition there. I knew this meant that things were progressing.
The water felt amazing and I was able to relax between rushes. Contractions sped up and lasted longer... I pulled out all the stops to get through them. I remembered reading how doing "horse lips" helps keep your body loose as things intensify and that kissing releases oxytocin and endorphins. So between doing horse lips and kissing my husband during contractions, I was able to get through them. I told my husband to text the midwives, my mother, and sister. I was sure transition phase was right around the corner.
The midwives arrived first. By the time they came my contractions had intensified. I wasn't able to talk through them and I had my eyes closed the majority of the time. I barely noticed their presence. I was in, what I realize now, was my primal state. My sister arrived shortly after that. I didn't care who was there or what was going on around me. I continued laboring in the tub, kissing my husband, and doing what I could to get through it. The midwives would intermittently check baby's heart rate and gave me encouragement as things progressed.
Then I reached the apex of my labor. I believed I had already been in transition for the last hour plus and had reached that moment every mother has... The moment you doubt wether you can continue on. I was still in the tub and asked the midwives if they could check me to see how I've progressed. I feared that after all this laboring, I might not have progressed, like what had happened the night before. They explained that in order to check me, I'd have to get out of the tub and lay flat on my back (a position no laboring mother really cares for). I agreed and waited for the next contraction to pass. I knew once it passed, I'd have about 2 minutes before the start of the next on.
I stood up out of the tub and suddenly felt like I weighed 100lbs more. The gravity tugged on every muscle in my body. I could barely walk and yet somehow managed to make it to the bed and lay down. I hated being on my back, but I NEEDED to know what progress I had made. They checked me and said I was 8cm dilated and baby was in a good position. Immediately I thought, "Only 8cm?!" This was great progress but I was just starting the transition phase, the quickest but hardest part of labor. I had never made it this far in my first pregnancy with no pain relief. So in my naivety, I thought that the intensity I was feeling was going to last until the baby arrived. So my body went into flight mode.
I begged my husband to go to the hospital. He kept reminding me that this wasn't going to last and that I was strong and could do this. I continued to beg to go to the hospital. My sister also encouraged me by saying, "If anyone could do this, you could". I was not hearing their words. The midwives explained that if I truly wanted to leave, I could, but I would be risking a car birth and that this was the quickest part of labor. The thought of making a trip in the car, never mind possibly giving birth in it, was daunting. They suggested I get in the shower. I agreed and the hot water felt wonderful on my lower back. I was feeling all the pressure in my lower back and pelvis (not surprising, seeing as how there was a baby in there). I could barely stand or walk, so I got out of the shower and went into the tub where I could be in the weightless water.
The tub was amazing! I felt so much lighter while in there. The contractions continued to intensify lasting for over 3 minutes every couple of seconds. I got on all fours in the tub and asked Woody to come in the water with me and apply pressure to my back and hips. He would apply a strong hip squeeze while I was having contractions. Then suddenly, the most amazing thing happened.
It was as if someone flipped a switch. Suddenly the contractions slowed down. I was able to open my eyes and observe everything going on around me for the first time in hours. I thought it was too good to be true and braced myself for the contractions to pick up again, but they didn't. Now was the time for pushing. I slowly felt the urge to push. The pressure was increasing, but I felt calm. My body submit and I found a zen space. I continued to push on all fours in the water. The midwives asked if I wanted to stay in the water, to which I replied "YES". It suddenly dawned on me that I was going to have a water birth.
The midwives prepped Woody on how to catch the baby. Within minutes of pushing, I could feel her head appear. Only a few minutes later, her shoulders came out and she entered the world! I turned my body around and saw my husband catch our baby girl and all the emotions flooded me. I reached out for her and laid her on my chest and began to cry. I was made to be a mother for the second time with her arrival. THIS was what I waited for! This was the experience I wanted.
My little girl arrived 8lbs even, all 21.5" of her, on January 6, 2016 (at 41 weeks and 3 days). We named her Siti-Khalisah Yasmin. Siti is a title in Malaysia meaning Lady and Khalisah means pure or sincere. Yasmin is the Arabic word for the Jasmine flower. Her name suited her so perfectly. The first few minutes were spent holding her in the warm water, allowing for the cord from the placenta to finish pulsating. She nursed in the first 15 minutes and just like that, I was in love all over again.
More times than I can count, I've seen pictures online of people's pets in their birth pools. Tonight, I was looking around on Instagram and I found this one.
Look, I love cats. I mean, I really, really love cats. (I'll tell you about mine at the end.) I really, really hate cats and dogs in the birth pool.
Claws and vinyl don't mix. We've gotten pools back with claw holes in them more times than I can count. (One time we had a pet rat chew a hole in a pool that a client had purchased, and we had to quickly deliver a replacement.)
Also, the pool and the sealed liner are clean in preparation for your birth. When you put the liner on your pool ahead of labor and then allow your pet to get in it, you're transferring all kinds of bacteria into the pool where you're about to give birth.
Our instructions follow Texas' guidelines for birth pools, which clearly state that the pool should not be inflated until the midwife advises it. If you feel like you need to do a trial run with the liner in advance, get a second one so that there's a clean one ready for the actual birth.
And now, my cat story:
When Steve and I met, I had two: Presto and Clark. At the time, Presto was 9 and Clark was 17. Steve's terribly allergic to cats. Getting rid of my cats was not an option so when we got married, we agreed that I would keep the ones I had and that we wouldn't get any more after they crossed the Rainbow Bridge. Clark lived to be 22 and Presto is 18.
As I write this, Presto is snuggled up with our boys on the couch watching Wild Kratts. I got him when I was a junior in college and it's a bit surreal that he's lived long enough that my kids will remember him.
This mom writes "Warning! I left all details in." in this story written for her daughter - and she definitely did! Ashley captured every moment of her daughter Emerson's birth at Birth & Women's Center in Dallas beautifully.Read More
Home waterbirth of Elliott Paige, born 4/22/2016.Read More
The pools have arrived! It took planes, trains, and automobiles to get them here, and we couldn't be more excited!Read More
Read more about our supply chain manager, Steve, who's the one responsible for getting the pools to Dallas.Read More
Buoyant Birth is growing again - find out what's coming!Read More
I went to Tampa for a friend's birthday and we spent a day at the Salvador Dali Museum - he's the melting clock guy. The source of endless jokes that day? Dali's piece of art called Lobster Telephone. See:
Of course, the timing could not have been better (worse?) with the Hotline song being so popular, so we joked about the Shell Phone all weekend.
Someone called this morning selling something and asked to speak to the owner or the CEO. I laughed and said "you got both of them!" That's one thing I love about this business - if you call, you will talk to one of the owners. Usually me, but sometimes Steve will answer the phone. (Occasionally one of my little boys will, and well, sorry about that...) We're not a huge business, we're not a corporate conglomerate - we're family owned, operated, packed, answered, all of it!
We're moving into larger warehouse space and the landlord mentioned that we'd have to get our own janitorial service. I laughed and said that he was looking at the janitorial service. Seriously - we do all of these things ourselves in an effort to keep prices as low as possible for our customers, because we believe that waterbirth should be accessible and affordable for women who want it.
Stay tuned for details about the new space! We'd outgrown what we had so we found something bigger, and I'm excited to get moved in and share some photos. (There's been discussion of a little party to show off our space once our pools are settled in - and Taylor parties always mean champagne!)
I am so glad to see the increase in frank, non-judgmental talk about postpartum mental health. As I've shared before, I have an office in Grapevine that I share with Courtney Causey of Blue Anchor Counseling. Her work is focused on women who are adjusting to the changes that come with a new baby. In addition to her individual therapy practice, she also leads a group called Beyond the Blue that meets in Hurst at the offices of For Babies' Sake. The first time I met Courtney, she spoke with such pride about the relationships that are developing in the group, and if you have a new baby (or a new-ish baby), I'd highly suggesting checking it out.
Another writer I greatly admire, and who I'm glad to know, is Naya Weber - otherwise known as Lactivist in Louboutons. She recently wrote a blog discussing her own postpartum journey, and I think it's brilliant. Read it here: #meditateonthis
My oldest was born in 2002, and I remember no conversation about how I felt mentally after she was born. All of the care was focused on how my body was healing, and not how my life was changing or how I felt about those changes. When my boys were born in 2011 and 2012, there was so much more discussion with my midwife and my doula about how I felt, and they encouraged me to focus on self-care and on my own mental health. The change was so dramatic and as a result, I feel like I felt better physically and mentally afterwards than I did when my oldest was born.
I have a list of postpartum resources in the Dallas-Ft. Worth area over on my placenta business' website here: Postpartum Resources. For friends visiting this blog from outside DFW, what are some great resources in your area?
This week, Buoyant Birth got some new office space inside the Grapevine Birthing Center. The opportunity arose to share the space with Courtney Causey of Blue Anchor Counseling, and it seemed like a perfect match - Courtney can use the space a few days a week to meet with her counseling clients and I can use the space to meet clients with birth pools and to do some office work.
Grapevine Birthing Center is on Wall St., between Tate and Main, and is the perfect place to meet clients with pools - lots of parking, space to open the kit and go through the instructions together, and it's really convenient to both the Dallas and Ft. Worth sides of town.
We're all moved in, and the office is gorgeous! If you'd like to come by and see it one day - whether you're picking up a pool or not! - let me know.
I wrote a blog post on having a happy and healthy postpartum over at the Dallas-Ft. Worth Placenta site - check it out here: Happy Postpartum! (If you didn't know, I have a separate business providing placenta encapsulation services throughout the Metroplex - check it out if you're thinking about encapsulation.)
This is a topic near and dear to my heart. I had very different postpartum experiences with each of my children: with my daughter, I went back to work after six weeks of maternity leave; with my middle child, I had left my job and was staying home with him; and with my youngest, I suddenly had two under two.
Each experience came with different stressors, different joys, and different coping strategies. Looking back, I had a few favorites from each postpartum experience:
With my oldest, because I knew I was going back to work, I feel like I was super-prepared for pumping. I had a strategy, I tested it before I went back to work, and then I stuck with it - she never had any formula, ever. So many people told me that I wasn't going to be able to stick with pumping that I felt like this was a major accomplishment.
With my middle, I relished all of the time that I had with him. I wanted so badly to be home with my baby and every day, I appreciated that my husband made that happen! I also got very involved with Fit4Mom (which was Stroller Strides at the time) and met a huge tribe of amazing women. It was the first time I had lots of friends with babies of similar ages, and it was great!
With my youngest, I knew ahead of time that it would be hard to have two littles so close in age, so I lined up a lot of postpartum help. I filled my deep freeze with meals, my friends arranged a meal train, and I asked my husband's stepmom Gimme to stay for a week. (She has a gorgeous Egyptian name that her siblings couldn't say when they were little, so they called her Gimme and it stuck.) Trust me when I say that everyone needs someone like her in their life - the week she stayed was so restful and calm.
What was the postpartum strategy that worked for you? What do you plan to do differently next time?