Gentle Birth at Home
“If we hope to create a non-violent world where respect and kindness replace fear and hatred, we must begin with how we treat each other at the beginning of life. For that is where our deepest patterns are set. From these roots grow fear and alienation,—or love and trust.” Suzanne Arms
“There came a time when the risk to remain tight in the bud was more painful than the risk it took to blossom.” -Anais Nin
During your childbearing year, my services to you include complete prenatal care, support during labor and birth, and comprehensive postpartum care for both mother and baby.
Thorough prenatal care is a cornerstone for a healthy pregnancy. In addition to the importance of monitoring the physiological aspects of the developing fetus and your changing body, it is a special time in which the emotional aspects of your experience can be explored, and we develop our connection so that I may personalize your care, particularly at the time of labor and birth.
We see each other for prenatal visits at my office once every four weeks until 28 weeks, then twice a month until the 36th week, and then weekly until your baby is born. At around the 36th week I do a home visit.
I schedule prenatal appointments to allow for at least an hour together, in order to include plenty of time for physical exams, such as palpation (to determine the position of your baby), listening to the fetal heart beat, blood pressure checks, urine analysis, weight checks, and diet review, as well as discussions about how things have been going. I answer any questions you may have, and provide education about your options, and all aspects of the childbearing year. Your care includes options for prenatal genetic testing and/ or ultrasounds, and I provide all essential lab work, such as blood-draws.
Care During Labor and Birth
Supplies: During your pregnancy I will show you how to order a birth kit, and what supplies you will need to assemble, in order to prepare for your home birth (all of which should cost less than $100). I carry (but rarely need) oxygen and resuscitative equipment, drugs to control hemorrhage, IV fluids, and antibiotics if necessary/desired for treatment of Group Beta Strep. I also provide injectable Vitamin K and Erythromycin Opthalmic ointment for the baby, if you choose those for your newborn’s care.
When you think you are in labor, we talk by phone to determine what is going on, and I come over when you are ready for me, set up my supplies, and begin the process of preparing for the arrival of your baby. I carefully, but quietly, monitor your vital signs, and your baby’s heart beat, to assess your health and safety during labor, birth, and immediate postpartum period. I minimize internal exams, and always involve you in decision making for any such exam or intervention. I encourage mothers to eat, drink, and remain ambulatory during labor, and make recommendations for position changes, resting, walking, etc. based on my assessment of the circumstance at the time.
At some point during your labor, when it seems that birth is imminent, I will call for my assistant. This “second set of hands” is another midwife who can help me to handle any unexpected challenges in which two people are needed, or simply provide me with support by charting, etc. so that I can give you and your baby my fullest attention.
In the event of the unexpected…
Sometimes during the course of labor, or immediately after birth, it becomes clear that home is no longer the safest place to be. There are emergent and non-emergent reasons to transport to the hospital, and it is always a decision that you will be involved in making. It could be that, for whatever reason, the baby’s heart-tones indicate distress, or the labor is not progressing, or something arises that causes concern, which is not easily resolved with the tools available to us at home. Usually, a transport can happen by private car, but occasionally (rarely) 911 must be called for an ambulance. In the case of a transport, my role shifts, as responsibility for your care is transferred to a medical professional, but I remain with you, and become your doula/ support person, in order for you to experience continuity of care. In the event of a true emergency, I am trained to provide the necessary, life-sustaining support needed while we wait for emergency personnel to take over.
Immediate Postpartum Care
Once your bundle of joy arrives, I stay for at least three hours to monitor vital signs, help in establishing breastfeeding, and do a complete newborn exam right next to you, on your bed. I give you and the baby “the bath of your life” in a healing herbal bath, make sure you get a meal, and then tuck you in for a nap.
Postpartum Care and Well-Baby Visits
In order to support your healing process, I return to your home for postpartum visits one day, three days, and one week after your birth. I see you at two weeks, four weeks, and six weeks as well. (Sometimes these later appointments are home visits, if travel to my office is a hardship.)
During these visits I help you file for your baby’s birth certificate and social security number, I provide the Newborn Metabolic Screen, and take foot-prints of the baby. At each visit I review your breastfeeding experience, provide tips and suggestions, and hands-on support. We weigh the baby, take vital signs on both of you, keep track of your healing progress, and your baby’s transition to extra-uterine life. If I see anything that appears to be of concern, or which falls outside of the range of “normal,” I make appropriate recommendations/ referrals.
As your postpartum time comes to a close, I can provide you with lab work, such as a complete blood count, urine cultures, screening for vaginal infections, and a PAP smear, (which is best to do at, or after, 12 weeks postpartum), if you desire. I also offer counseling regarding contraception, however I cannot prescribe birth control.
Why Choose a Midwife?
“A Certified Professional Midwife (CPM) is a knowledgeable, skilled and professional independent midwifery practitioner who has met the standards for certification set by the North American Registry of Midwives (NARM) and is qualified to provide the Midwives Model of Care. The CPM is the only midwifery credential that requires knowledge about and experience in out-of-hospital settings.” (www.narm.org)
The Midwives Model of Care is based on the fact that pregnancy and birth are normal life events. The Midwives Model of Care includes:
- monitoring the physical, psychological and social well-being of the mother throughout the childbearing cycle;
- providing the mother with individualized education, counseling, and prenatal care, continuous hands-on assistance during labor and delivery, and postpartum support;
- minimizing technological interventions; and
- identifying and referring women who require obstetrical attention.
The application of this model has been proven to reduce the incidence of birth injury, trauma, and cesarean section.
Copyright © 1996-2005, Midwifery Task Force, Inc. All Rights Reserved.
My experience with Stella during my pregnancy was exemplary! Stella is genuinely concerned, not only about the health and well being of your baby, but about the mother as a whole-mind, body, and spirit. I can’t even explain how important it was for me to have someone support me so much during such a big life transition. She was so supportive and caring, and cried with me during trying emotional times. She uplifted my spirit, and put a smile on my face when I felt down. Also, Stella offers a world of knowledge with her herbs. I have always been interested in herbs and she is a wonderful teacher. I was truly impressed how well they worked, saving me and my little boy from colds, etc. Stella attended my birth,and was very kind, patient and knowledgeable helping me bring my 11 lb 5 oz girl into the world in less than 6 hrs in the comfort of my home. Stella is one in a million,and I feel blessed that she was a part of my birthing experience!H.C., Eagle River
I had a chance encounter with Stella when I was about 3 months pregnant, and just knew she was the one for us. During my pregnancy she really helped me get to the root of my ailments to where I was not sick any longer. I was pretty tuned into myself once she got to my birth, so all I remember is how her hands never left my body, and how everything she said was exactly what I needed to hear. Stella was a priceless asset to my son’s birth and I contribute a lot of my beautiful, uncomplicated, home, water birth to her. She even inspired me to become a doula myself!K.G., Anchorage
Stella was fantastic, supportive, and kind the whole time-from the beginning of pregnancy to postpartum. We had a great, natural birth experience and I would recommend her services to any family looking for the best birth experience for you and your baby! She was available like a friend to me whenever I had questions, or was worried about anything during pregnancy, and was just generally emotional. Our birth with our first child was perfect and we couldn’t have done it without Stella!E.K., Palmer
I tell my birth story to people with such pride, and I love telling people about you. You helped me to recognize what I am capable of, and I would not have changed anything about my birth. If there are more babies in our future I pray that their births will go just as smoothly. Thank you again, so very much.E.M., Medford, OR