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Exciting News!!!

My journey to becoming a midwife started in January of 2010.  I just started it… I knew there was no path for certification here on Oahu, but I started it anyways.  I was fortunate enough to land (really sort of create) a position  with the ladies of Sacred Healing Arts, where Dr. Lori Kimata and Dr. Madeleine Portuondo practice as midwives under their Naturopathic Physician’s license.  My training was preparing me to be a direct entry midwife however, unless I were to leave the island to have a “proper” preceptor (recognized by MEAC and NARM), I could not become a Certified Professional Midwife (CPM).  Good or bad, in the state of Hawaii, there is no regulation on home birth, or the people who attend these births, and therefore licensing as a CPM or a Licensed Midwife (LM) is unrecognized and unless a student was to leave the island…unobtainable.  But, did that stop me?  Absolutely not!!!

I continued to attend births as an apprentice and a doula.  I held space for families and gave myself fully to the cause.  I LOVE this work and the more I do it, the more I love it.  It’s kind of like when you look at your child and wonder, “How could I possibly love you more?” And then you roll over the next morning to that sweet little sleeping face and BAM!!! You fall helplessly, more deeply in love.  That sort of describes the feeling I get.  And so, I continued on.  Fast and slow births, easy or difficult pregnancies, miraculous recoveries, triumphant moments, transports, and moments of total surrender to the universe…  My only direction was YES and I knew that something would open up for me.  I would get an opportunity to certify…somehow.

And then it did!  A wonderful woman by the name of Selena Green moved to Oahu in 2012.  She is the founder of Sacred Birth Place, a free standing birth center in Oakland California. Here she helped families have rewarding pregnancy and birth experiences while giving apprentice midwives an opportunity to train and certify as a CPM.  Recognizing the need for such a place on Oahu, she relocated and opened Hale Kealaula in Waianae.

Hale Kealaula has been open for over a year now.  Selena works with some of Oahu’s finest and most passionate birth workers.  I am honored and full of gratitude to be able to announce that I, too have teamed up with these ladies in order to pursue my desire to become a CPM.  I am beyond thrilled to be able to share the adventure with this group of women.  My path has been so clear and it is now more brightly lit.  I am so thankful for all who have brought me here to this day, and for those in the future who will to allow me to assist, and learn, and be a part of the sacred circle of LIFE!!!

For those of you who know me already, I want to reassure you that I am continuing to work side by side with Dr. Kimata and Dr. Portuondo at Sacred Healing Arts.  My doula work and assisting families in hospital births are still within my scope of practice!  In addition, I am always happy to assist with my knowledge as a lactation counselor!  Working with Selena and the women of Hale Kaelaula is another way I am able to better myself for the families I serve.  I am balancing it all quite nicely and am in total awe of how well things are coming together…

I am full of LOVE!

This one’s for all you pregnant mammas out there who feel like you should be doing more with your time…

I have mourned lost days

When I accomplished nothing of importance

But not lately

Lately under the lunar tide

Of a woman’s ocean

I work my own sea change

Turning grains of sand into human eyes

I daydream after breakfast

While the spirit of eggs and toast

Knits together a length of bone

As fine as a wheat stalk

Later as I postpone weeding the garden

I will make two hands

That may tend a hundred gardens

I need ten full moons exactly

For keeping the animal promise

I offer myself up: Unsaintly

But transmuted anyway

By the most ordinary miracle

I am nothing in this world

Beyond the things one woman does

But here are eyes that were once pearls

And here is a second chance

Where there was none

(I’m looking for the author’s name and will post it here later)

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Breast Feeding In Public

This is a “funny because its true” opinion about breast feeding in public…from a man, which matters.  Why does it matter that a man wrote it?  Because women need to be supported in breast feeding their children.  Hey dudes, don’t you want the best for your kids and your partner?  Of course you do!  Breastfeeding is not just a women’s issue, its a FAMILY issue.  Moms… Nurse that baby whenever and wherever your baby is hungry. There’s no shame in providing the best possible nutrition, closeness, and biologically correct situation for you and your infant!  Dads, support those nursing moms by helping to “normalize” breast feeding…the way it was intended to be.

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Friedman’s Curve is failing our mothers

This is a very informative article and has lots of current statistics for the “average” labor and delivery in a hospital setting. I have been reading more and more articles about when “true/active labor”  begins.  The most recent article I read said that there is strong consideration to change that number from 3 or 4cm dilated to 6cm dilated, especially for first time mothers (the attached article touches on this, too).  That is a BIG difference and honestly, from the mothers I have labored with, this is at least 50% true.  Whether early labor is 2 hours or 2 days, it seems the fastest progress (in MANY scenarios) happens once a woman is at least 6cm.  Sadly, in todays OB world, many women are not provided with the correct or current information about how their labor may begin or how long it may really take to get through that first phase.  It is not uncommon for a woman to have prodromal labor, meaning she will have irregular contractions (some strong and far apart, some mild and close, resulting in little to no dilation) for a few days leading up to her delivery.  Preparing a woman for that possibility and teaching her how to care for herself during that time is paramount if she does not want a C-Section.

Since this is the paradigm most OBs and hospitals are operating in, I feel this is where an experienced birth doula is so very helpful.  OBs do not have time to educate their mothers and many childbirth education courses offered through our hospital system are geared towards an expectation of epidural, or other pain relief, as well as post-surgical recovery.  This is not ideal for the woman who wants to have a natural birth. Doulas can help fill the holes in a family’s childbirth education, either during prenatal visits, or along the way to meeting the baby.  They can help a woman labor at home before heading to the confinements of a hospital room and the distraction of the many rotating faces. Once there, they can keep the commotion to a minimum so the mother may focus on meeting her child.

I also believe that a doula can be very helpful in a home birth setting.  If a woman has a longer labor, the midwife is able to rest more, allowing her to have a more clear mind during the last stages of labor and delivery. The doula can help keep the mother fed, hydrated, napped, and generally more prepared to endure active labor and the pushing phase when it finally crescendos into that mind blowing stage!

So…read up!  Be informed!  Get ready for the most life changing journey you will ever embark on!  Be prepared for that journey to be long and be pleasantly surprised when it is short!

One Hundred and Two!

I was going to write this when I had finally helped 100 families grow…but 14 hours later the one hundred and first baby arrived!  So I was going to do it that night, but I decided I should sleep (I still had 4 more due within the next two weeks).  That was a good plan because the next day I met baby number 102! Three babies in three days! 102 families have allowed me to be present in the most unforgettable times of their lives!  Unbelievable!!!?!

In refection of all of this, I am humbled, excited, and amazed.  102 real live people out there, growing, learning, causing mischief, making people smile!!! My emotions and thoughts about this “monumental” point in my birth experiences are as varied as the story that each birth carries with it.  I’m feeling knowledgable and at the same time realizing that this work is a lifetime of learning and there is no way to EVER know it all.

There is one thing I DO know, however and it is that I am supposed to do this work.  This past weekend was FULL to say the least.  In between births, I sat with newborns and their mothers, assisting with nursing, pointing out cues, and reassuring parents that they are gonna be ok.  I love holding tiny, soft, feathery heads and watching little smirks creep across teeny lips.  Its fun to revel in the amazingness of each woman’s body, watch partners dance and cuddle and fall in love…And then there is the RAW beauty of birth!  The sweat and the moaning.  The clenched teeth and swaying of the hips.  Watching the tension release from a mamma’s forehead with a gentle sweep of the fingertip.  Is all so fascinating…EACH TIME!

And so I put my gratitude out there to all those families I have been blessed to help with!  Thank you for allowing me into your most sacred of spaces!  Thank you for trusting yourself and for trusting in “the unknown”, through all it’s twists and turns. Thank you to each and every one hundred and two!  May there be many more!