Category Archives: Pregnancy & Birth

My thoughts, ideas, and commentary on various aspects of pregnancy and childbirth…

Nourished Living Summit

 

Click here to visit Nourished Living Summit.

Join us as we Renew Rebirth & Retreat

A couple of years ago, while hosting a meeting of black birth workers and birth advocates in New Orleans we decided we should create a campaign to educate our community about the benefits and value of doulas and normal birth.  As the conversation continued, and as we outlined a plan, it dawned on me… it will be great to get our sisters motivated and informed about natural birth and doulas but when they ask “Where can I find a doula?”  what will our answer be?

You see in 2012, when we had this meeting, I could literally count the number of working doulas in New Orleans and the black doulas working in New Orleans… I could count with my fingers.  In a city that has a population that is nearly 70% black… that was a problem! To make it even worse, there were NO local doula trainers.  Not ONE. Every so often a trainer would visit from afar and unfortunately, I have heard most left lots to be desired.

The way I saw it, we definitely had a problem and I set my mind to do something about it. Fast forward to today, and I am preparing to do my third official Sista Midwife Productions’ Birth Sister Training in New Orleans starting May 16.  This is the first of three I am planning this year.  The beautiful thing about my training is that while it is certainly not exclusively for black women, the black women in my community who are drawn to this work are also drawn to my training.  I am proud that my first two classes combined included a total of 16 students, 13 of whom identify as black and more than half of them attended on scholarship.

I am proud that my training is endorsed by individual birth advocates, as well as local doula and community groups. I am proud that I am making a difference by expanding the reach of birth work in my community.  Recently all over web there have been articles and questions about where are the birth workers of color? Where are the trainers of color? *Raises hand* We are here. We are learning and growing. We are working hard to do our part.

“Nicole’s passion for birth work and women’s health rights is infectious! During her training I couldn’t help but be engaged, and afterwards I left feeling like I, and all other women, could shake and move the world.” ~ Shayla B. – Mississippi

Since I conducted my first training, I have been asked… Are you going to take your training on the road? What can I do to get you to Texas, California, Florida, Georgia? And my answer has been, I don’t really know but build it and I will come.  Most recently, I have been asked about conducting a training in Tennessee. AND… when I said “build it and I will come” my sister Angelique “Sobande” Greer, herbalist and founder of Natural Choice Botanica School of Herbalism and Holistic Health took me at my word.

With that said, I am very pleased, proud, and excited to announce that my first “on the road” doula/birth sister training will be taking place June 17-June 22, 2014.  This VERY special event will be far more than a doula training as women come together from various parts of the country to RENEW – REBIRTH & RETREAT.  We will come together to learn, relax, bond, and grow within a serene  retreat center.

Now… not only is my sister Sobande the reason I am travelling to TN, she is also a spiritual teacher, healer, and herbalist who will share her wisdom with us during the phenomenal event.  I had the pleasure to learn from her during the last Wise Women’s Herbal Conference in Ashville NC and she is bout it! Throughout this retreat she will share with us her wisdom, her passion for healing, and her love of nature.

This event gives YOU a unique opportunity to receive my full 36 hour Birth Sister/Doula Training and training and guidance from Sobande all while we sit at the feet of mother nature.  Throughout the training we will incorporate time for self guided meditation and facilitated retreat activities. Whether you are at the beginning of your journey into birth work and you are looking for a foundation, OR you are an experienced doula/birth sister and you want to increase your knowledge base and re-ignite your fire, this training is for YOU!  The back drop for this retreat is the serene Penuel Ridge Retreat Center which sits on 135 acres in Middle Tennessee a short drive outside of Nashville.

I promise you this is an event that you do NOT want to miss.  In order to make sure this is an enjoyable experience for everyone, registration is VERY limited.  The registration for this event is only $850 and this includes EVERYTHING… your training, your lodging, your meals, and your serenity.  Registration is currently open and today you can reserve your spot for $100.  As the training dates approach, the registration rate for this event will increase so reserve your space today!  I look forward to seeing you there and experiencing growth, love, knowledge, joy and laughter with you!  Let’s come together and #BirthSomethingBeautiful!

“My Doula training experience was great! Nicole is a wonderful trainer and I would recommend Sista Midwife Doula Training to anyone!”
~ Queen Hope Parker  – New Orleans

Patience is a Virtue: Six is the new Four

Its still April and its still Cesarean Awareness Month and I still want to talk about prevention.  The most common reason a first time mom has a c/section is labor dystocia. Labor dystocia may be diagnosed if a mother stops dilating while she is in labor. Labor dystocia may also be the diagnosis of choice if a provider believes a woman is not dilating fast enough.  And “fast enough” is relative.

Recent research tells us that the common time limits given to women based on out dated data collected by Dr. Friedman should be done away with.  Recent research shows us that giving women more time to labor before making a decision to do a c/section can be what she needs to achieve a vaginal delivery.  I have definitely seen a couple of extra hours be all a woman needs to move to 10cm.  It was never on purpose but I have seen times when two mothers “needed” a c/section; One because she was experiencing dystocia and one because her baby was having distress. Of course the mom with the fetal distress gets her c/section first. And low and behold… by the time the first c/section was over, and the operating room was cleaned and made ready, the second mom has progressed to completely dilated and is ready to birth her baby.  Watching this experience always made me laugh.  Now I want you to watch this video and get some more insight into the reality of being patient in labor.

Recent research does not always translate into practice change. With that reality in mind, my goal is to provide YOU with information so that if your doctor/midwife is not aware of this new research, you can educate them about it.   Don’t be afraid to ask questions and to share this information with your provider.  Its critical and can be the difference between the birth you envision and a c/section.  Remember six is the new four and patience is a virtue :-)

TIME SENSITIVE – Nourished Living, Natural Living

Are you doing your best to make healthy choices for your family and sometimes you feel overwhelmed when it comes to making the best choices for your family?  If so, the Nourished Living Summit is for you.

This FREE online summit started last month and brings together  69 natural health, wellness, and parenting professionals who are dedicated to helping parents care for their family naturally.  The Nourished Living Summit continues through April 29th and is showcasing 62 presentations divided into 8 thematic tracks including: Pre-Conception, Pregnancy, and Birth, Breastfeeding, Health and Development for Children Ages 0-18, Natural Health and Wellness for the Whole Family, Care and Nurturing For Mothers, and Education for Natural Minded Parents.

I was proud to be a speaker for this phenomenal event and my lecture/interview is included in the preconception, pregnancy and birth tract.  While you may have missed my call, you still have time to participate and to listen to the remainder of the FREE calls because as I said, the Summit does not end until April 29th.  While the summit is free, you MUST be registered in order to listen to the presentations.

If you want to listen to my presentation and you want to learn from some of the other speakers that were featured during March, you can take advantage of the Flash Sale going on NOW through 5AM tomorrow morning (Monday, April 14th) You can purchase a Nourished Living package TODAY for only $127 and you will receive:

Lifetime access to all 62 expert audio presentations (MP3 format);
Lifetime access to all 62 slide presentations;
Over 300 Pages of Presentation Summaries;
Over $150 Worth of Free Bonus Items;
35 Exclusive Special Offers and Discounts;
109 Page Speaker Guide;
Automatic Lifetime Access to All Future Presentations Released in 2014-2015 (including accompanying MP3s, slides, and summaries

This is a phenomenal opportunity to learn from a slew of experts in natural living and parenting. The price will increase to $147 after 5AM so be sure to take advantage today. You can learn more, see the line up of speakers, and get involved by clicking the link below.

Click here to visit Nourished Living Summit.

I hope you enjoy it and I hope you will find something that will help you Birth Something Beautiful!

Monday Musing: Prevention Instead of Awareness

Wordless Wednesday… The “Sterile” Cesarean…It’s APRIL. Its spring and its also Cesarean Awareness Month. Soooooo every year I ask myself. What does that mean? We already know there continues to be far too many c/sections happening in this country.  We are aware that one of every three births is a c/section. I live in New Orleans and the rate of c/section here in my state exceeds FORTY percent!!! This really is a crime against women IMO. And we are VERY aware that this is happening.  What are we doing to prevent this??

More than the high C/section rates, I am constantly amazed at the false information women are given to justify c/sections when they simply are NOT required. Just today I spoke with a woman who is hoping to find a provider who will support her decision to have a VBAC. She is fighting an uphill battle here in New Orleans.  One that she would not be fighting if she had not been misled during her second birth.

Here is her story…
At 18 years old, she gave birth to her first child. During that labor she received an epidural.  She ended up having a forceps delivery and a 3rd degree laceration. She was pregnant three years later with her second child. In spite of the fact that she easily had TWENTY childbearing years left, her OB suggested that a scheduled c/section would be safest/easier because of the “difficulty” of her first birth.  And at the age of 21, easily influenced by her doctor, she agreed and scheduled her c/section. Now she sits with me for a consultation at the age of 31 and learns that a decision she made 10 years ago is going to have a HUGE impact on her ability to have a normal birth today. As I listened to her story I wanted to scream!!!

I could go into a long dissertation about what defines “difficult”; other than the third degree she didn’t recall anything too difficult. Nothing was ever wrong with the baby who weighed in at 7# 13 ounces. As I mentioned to her… I have seen smaller women give birth to much larger babies. Her second baby, the c/section baby… was only six pounds.  And she agreed that recovery from that third degree was a LOT easier than recovery from that cesarean. I could go on and on about the many things that happened during her labor that could have increased her risk of the third degree laceration: purple pushing, forceps, and epidural, rushing to birth, lithotomy position and more. Instead I will leave all that for another day.

What I do want to say is this, whether women know it or not… The Birth Plan Myth as I call it, is alive and well. The stories THEY tell women, the lies and the manipulation THEY do, and the trickery THEY pulled on her, they continue to use today. Women are continuing to be manipulated into decisions that are not the best for themselves based on some ulterior motive of the OBs. We can speculate all day about what motivates them to manipulate. Instead of doing that, I just want to confirm with you that it happens.

In case you need convincing… Let me assure you, with faith and conviction that similar shit is still happening today. Earlier this week, I received an email from a mother concerned because her daughter’s doctor was suggesting an induction five days BEFORE her due date. NOTHING was wrong with the baby. And other than a case of TOBP (tired of being pregnant) nothing was wrong with the mother. She was a primiparous woman with a high closed cervix. There was NOT a medical indication for the induction and many indications that an induction would be unsuccessful. She was in fact twice as likely to end up with a cesarean.  The mother reluctantly accepted her daughter’s wishes and they went in for the induction. I received an email from the mother. It was not a great experience. I will leave it at that.

It angers me, saddens me, frustrates me and then it inspires me to keep on doing what I am doing. Those of us who want birth justice, who want birth freedom, who want women to birth safely in their own way… we must continue to fight. As the song goes… “We who believe in freedom cannot rest.” And those of us who believe in birth freedom must stay vigilant and continue to fight.  As we move through April, let’s not simply call this Cesarean Awareness Month. Let’s make this cesarean PREVENTION month. The fight continues!


Join me for the continuation of The Birth Plan Myth 6-part webinar series. Part II gets under way Thursday, April 10, 2014.  Over the course of two calls, I will be discussing the most common hospital interventions, what they are, why they are used, and what you can do to prevent them and to minimize risks if they become necessary. Learn which interventions can cause or help prevent an cesarean.  The series continues THURSDAY. Learn more and register.