Midwifery and Racial Oppression, #BlkBFing Chat Highlights, Black Women and Medicaid Podcast and More!


I’m going to try my best to post weekly/bi-weekly links to articles I come across. I forget that not everyone uses Facebook and Twitter, and that’s where I post most of the things I come across.

Anti-Racism and Anti- Oppression Work In Midwifery – Letter To Midwifery Today: Real Talk About Midwifery and Racial Oppression.
This powerful letter was collaboratively drafted by 97 BirthWorkers from around the globe.

While the article is gone from the Midwifery Today site, the discussion it has engendered is too important to disappear without a trace. It is important to us that your readers understand why the comparison between the anti-slavery struggle and the midwifery movement is wrong and profoundly hurtful. Even more than this, however, we hope to show that the struggle to provide a full range of birthing options must address our history of racial oppression if we really want to change birth in this country.

ChildBirth Connection Transforming Maternity Care – Urge Women To Question Elective Deliveries.

Don’t schedule elective, non-medically indicated inductions of labor or cesarean deliveries before 39 weeks 0 days gestational age.

MomsRising Blog – Breastfeeding: Obesity, Diabetes and Asthma Prevention.

Breastfeeding decreases the risks for obesity, diabetes and asthma. As a nephrology social worker, I see firsthand the consequences of obesity that can lead to diabetes and ultimately chronic kidney disease.

Healthy Black Women – Podcast on Why Black Women Should Care About Medicaid and It’s Expansion.

Twitter – #BlkBFing Twitter Chat Highlights.

Every Mother Counts via Jennie Joseph – Black History Month: Midwifery Matters.

As a Black midwife, newly arrived in 1989, I had no understanding of the history or legacy of midwifery in the USA, let alone the foundational role that African-American midwives played in the provision of maternity care for both Black and White women from slavery on upwards.

When your birth doesn’t go as planned

We birth activist love to talk about how natural and beautiful birth is, and it is. But what happens when things don’t go as planned? What about when you planned a homebirth and needed to transfer to the hospital for complications? What if you planned a natural birth in the hospital and ended up with an epidural, or a cesarean? Maybe you’re approaching 42 weeks and the Dr. wants you to come in for an induction.

I know it can be frustrating – heartbreaking even, and at times maybe you might feel that your body has failed you, or that if you had made different decisions things would have turned out differently

Some people swear by a birth plan while others say they aren’t necessary. I think it’s a great idea to have a plan on paper. Maybe we should call it birth wishes instead of plans, plans change so quickly, especially when you’re giving birth.

A lot of men and women will say it doesn’t matter how a baby comes into the world, all that matters is a healthy baby.
It does matter though. Giving birth is a huge deal, it’s not something that everyone gets or wants to do. The birth of our children stay with us forever.
When things don’t go as planned there are still request you can make to have the best experience possible.
Homebirth Transfers – I think this post from PHDoula says it better than I ever could.

If you have a cesarean, you can ask that you and baby are able to bond right away, or ask that your partner bonds with the baby right away.
I have friends who didn’t see their children for 4-5 hours, and that is completely unacceptable. You can request that your baby room in with you, and of course, breastfeed! Breastfeeding releases Oxytocin, also get as much skin to skin with baby as possible.

Try to have a good support team in place. That way you can recover from surgery and rest with your baby, and if you have other children, someone to help watch them.

This article on bonding with your baby after a cesarean has tons of great information.

I’m sure I’ve missed some things. What helped you when your birth didn’t go as planned? Share your experience in the comments.

The Birth of My first Child – Our Miracle Baby

Welcome to the First Carnival of Birth Reflections

This post was written for inclusion in the Carnival of Birth Reflections hosted by Patti at Jazzy Mama and Zoie at TouchstoneZ. Participants are writing posts that reflect on how birth has transformed them into who they are today. Please read to the end to find a list of links to the other carnival participants.


*Trigger warnings of baby in distress*

It’s been six and half years since the birth of my first daughter. I’ve shared the birth stories of my last two children, but not hers. I am amazed that after all this time I still get teary when I talk about her birth. I figured if I don’t talk about it now, I may never.
I had planned an all natural birth at Good Sam hospital. I was seeing a team of three midwives there. I remember well when the contractions started and I realized I was indeed in labor.
I had a cute little Rat Terrier back then, she sat in the rocking chair beside me, or at my feet. I think she knew something was up. I rocked and rocked, walked and rocked some more. When I went to use the bathroom I noticed my contractions were picking up in intensity, they were also two minutes apart!

I called the pager and one of the midwives called me back. She told me to go ahead and come in. Looking back I think I should’ve stayed home longer. Maybe it was the short ride(I’m talking 5-7 minutes)to the hospital and filling out paperwork that made me stall. Once I was finally checked in they told me I was 1cm dilated. Seriously? My choices were walking for an hour or two and then starting pitocin, or going home and coming back again once things picked up.

I chose to walk and start pitocin. I just wanted to meet my baby. My due date was the 3rd, it was the 4th when I went in to the hospital.
You see, I skipped the chapters on cesarean and inductions…I wouldn’t need or want either of those things.

After walking the halls and stopping for several contractions, leaning on Charles, the walls of the hospital, and finally making it back to our room….they started the pitocin.
My nurse asked me if I wanted anything mild for the pain. I waited, but then opted for the Nubain. Not long after, I started feeling woozy and Charles said I was talking and slurring my words.
I dozed off for a while, woke in between contractions to Charles sleeping peacefully on the couch. They had turned up the pit and I was really starting to feel it. I couldn’t take the pain. It was awful!

I kept throwing ice chips at Charles trying to wake him because I didn’t want to yell in the hospital trying to wake him. Once he woke up and rubbed my back through a few contractions, we decided it was time to call my parents.
They arrived shortly and everyone took turns rubbing my back through contractions. I was in so much pain. They made me stay on my left side, had inserted the electronic fetal monitor on her head, went to put cervidil on my cervix and my water broke.

Now things were really picking up. I was lying there thinking this was so far from what I had wanted, but I was excited to meet my baby. My midwife was in and out of the room. She had a busy night/day. Nine other babies were born that day.
I remember at one point I switched sides and they came running in yelling at me to flip back over, saying her heart rate kept dropping. They pressed on my belly and I thought it was strange that Nakiah was so still. I didn’t tell anyone this then, but I had this feeling in my gut that something was wrong. I remember thinking” what if my baby doesn’t make it”
We had called the rest of my support team in the morning around 9ish, I think.  They came and after church the rest of my friends came to support me during the birth of my first baby. We all hung out for a few hours and I finally couldn’t take it anymore. After being on pitocin for 20 hours, I needed relief. I told them to call the anesthesiologist and get him to my room yesterday! I was so disappointed in myself for getting the epidural, but I needed some rest, my body needed to rest. I was so tense with each contraction, I couldn’t breathe, or relax into them, I just wanted them to stop.

I was checked again and was 5-6cm dilated. The midwife told me it could be an hour for each centimeter and then she left the room.
Shortly after, I think it was a little after 2:30 I felt like I needed to go poo. I called my nurse back in, and she checked me, said I was an 8, she went to leave the room and I was like wait!!!!….she came back and I was complete. She asked me to try a couple of practice pushes, said “yup, you’re ready” and left to get the midwife.

Here came my midwife, incubator thingy, and several other people. She asked me if a resident could watch and at the time I didn’t care who was watching….I just wanted to finally  meet my baby.
I couldn’t feel my legs, so Charles , my mom and one of my friends held my legs up. My other friend started to record.
I was pushing, counting to ten, pushing again, you know the routine….
They held up a mirror for me so I could watch her crown.

Finally….a head! I told them I needed a break. My friend started laughing at me because she couldn’t believe I was sitting there with this head just hanging out of me while I lie back for a few moments of rest. Since I had the epidural, I wasn’t feeling much of anything, so it was easy for me to relax for a few at that moment. I will say, that once I got the epi I was able to relax and I think that’s why I started to open so quickly. So I do believe that epidurals have their place.

So I’m pushing again and I hear my husband say are they supposed to look like that when they come out?
I look over, and the look on my friends face wasn’t a good one. Suddenly my midwife tells them to get rid of the mirror, and tells me I have to push now. I told her that I can’t, I need to rest for a minute. She yells at me that we don’t have time, and my baby needs me to push her out NOW!
I muster all the strength I have in me and my midwife was pulling gently on her. She was a little stuck….some say it was shoulder dystocia(that’s what they put in my file), and others say it wasn’t true dystocia after hearing my story.

I was expecting to have my baby placed on my chest all wet and squishy so I could snuggle her….the moment I had been waiting for.
Instead there were gasps, my friend threw down her camera, my husband and friends looked panicked. I got a tiny glimpse of my limp baby being rushed across the room by my midwife.
My friend tells me to pray, but I can’t. I felt paralyzed. I’m thankful everyone else in the room was praying.
Over the next several minutes all I heard was crying, praying, and hospital staff barking orders at each other.
I forgot to mention that my dad was behind the curtain this entire time. My mom went and told him to pray, but didn’t tell him why.

No one was telling me what was going on. I was so scared. I think maybe I couldn’t pray because I knew something was wrong before. I wish I had said something. It was too late now though, instead of my baby being with me, she was surrounded by strangers who were trying desperately to get her to breathe. My husband said they were rubbing her like crazy, they had bagged her, and still no response. The cord had been around her neck. Maybe as she was moving down, the cord kept pulling tighter around her neck? Maybe it was all the stupid meds I ok’d them put into my body.
Either way, it didn’t matter in that moment, my firstborn wasn’t breathing, and there was nothing I could do. I sat there in that bed alone, watching them trying to resuscitate her.. I was numb…and not because of the epidural. I felt numb inside.

After what seemed like an eternity, we heard a small peep out of her. Joy! She’s alive, my baby is alive! Her first apgar was a 0. They waited 5 minutes and then her apgar was a 9 I think. Nakiah suffered nerve damage to her right arm. She couldn’t move it at all.
Finally, I finally got to hold my baby girl. They handed her to me, and she felt so heavy. Yea she was 10lbs, but I think they added an extra 10 with all of those blankets they wrapped her in.

After everyone had their short visit with us, my midwife came back in the room to check on me. She told me she had been practicing for 30 years and never saw anything like that. She said that I had an amazing team with me, and that even she was praying in that moment. She told me that they don’t normally work on babies as long as they did with her.
She also told me that it was a miracle she was alive.

I had trouble bonding with her…..it took a long time. I blame myself though, I did all of that to her. All these years later and I still have so much guilt. It wasn’t the birth I planned or wanted. It was so traumatic for me. It took several days for everything to sink in. I’m trying so hard to forgive myself, but I can’t. I was supposed to protect her, but instead I’m at fault for how she came into this world.

I know I need to forgive myself. Holding on to all of this guilt and anger about her birth isn’t good. Do you have any suggestions?


Carnival of Birth Reflections
Visit Jazzy Mama and TouchstoneZ to find out how you can participate in the next Carnival of Birth Reflections!
Please take time to read the submissions by the other carnival participants: