Monday, June 8, 2009

Something I've been wanting to write about

So I've been thinking about writing this post for a long time, but was unsure if I wanted to do it or not. I wasn't sure how it would be received, and thought that most people probably wouldn't care what I had to say. But something has been pushing me to post it lately, so I figured I would just go ahead and do it!

Be warned that if you are male, you probably won't be interested in what I have to say! But show your wives/girlfriends...haha.

I love to solve puzzles, and when I hear about another woman having issues with something, I'm always secretly (or not so secretly) determined to figure out why that certain thing is happening to them. Because of that - and my own journey to have children - I have, over the course of about 3 years, learned a lot about the female body...our cycles, conception, pregnancy and childbirth. The more I learn, the more the subject intrigues me, and I wonder why no one ever taught me any this stuff sooner! It seems like I've had many conversations on these subjects lately that I thought maybe there are others out there who I can share my knowledge with. So I thought I'd share some books and links that have been amazingly helpful and interesting to me.

1. First off: Taking Charge of Your Fertility, by Toni Weschler.
I have decided that my daughters will be required to read the appropriate chapters of this book when we feel it is appropriate for them to read. It basically teaches FAM (Fertility Awareness Method) that you can use for birth control or tying to conceive. I hated the artificial hormones of hormonal birth control (I was on the NuvaRing and Yaz), and I have serious migraines that are worsened by hormonal birth control. This is a highly effective method that doesn't come with any risks like those of using hormones. I think that all women should read it to understand the female cycle and to know why your body does what it does. It's especially helpful if you're trying to get pregnant, or thinking about doing so.

2. Used for charting your temperatures, as explained in TCOYF (Taking Charge of Your Fertility). TCOYF comes with a CD with charting software...but I personally like the FREE web-based software that offers.

3. The Business of Being Born (DVD) by Ricki Lake and Abby Epstein. From the website: "
The film interlaces intimate birth stories with surprising historical, political and scientific insights and shocking statistics about the current maternity care system. When director Epstein discovers she is pregnant during the making of the film, the journey becomes even more personal. Should most births be viewed as a natural life process, or should every delivery be treated as a potentially catastrophic medical emergency?" This DVD is absolutely amazing. I think everyone should watch it! (Note: Since it is a documentary and not rated, there are a few swear words and they do show the labor and delivery of babies, with little censoring.) If you have Netflix, it's available online to watch. A couple comments I have about the movie: epidurals don't always end up in c-sections, but they do raise the risk of it, and hospitals aren't horrible. Lily's birth was pretty good - the only things I felt like I was forced into was having an IV and continuous monitoring. With Hannah, the midwife let me do pretty much whatever I wanted. I feel like nurses are a main cause of intervention. At both hospitals, the nurses were the ones that were wanting the continous monitoring, even though my midwife said it wasn't necessary.

4. Your Best Birth (Book), by Ricki Lake and Abby Epstein. This book just came out last month so I haven't had a chance to read it, but it sounds great! It "is an empowering childbirth guide packed with crucial advice from medical professionals, delivered in a down-to-earth, engaging, and honest voice. Ricki Lake and Abby Epstein reevaluate the pregnancy process, renew expectant mothers’ confidence, and place the control back where it belongs: with parents-to-be."
I can't wait to read it!

5. On Becoming Babywise, by Gary Ezzo and Robert Bucknam. I absolutely LOVE this book. There is a lot of controversy with it, because people think that it's starving the child if you're not attached to them every 5 minutes, or that it's bad for the child to cry. So many people think it's impossible to put your baby on a schedule, when, in fact, it is very very easy. And you also can teach the baby to put themselves to sleep (yes, some crying is involved, but you don't let your baby cry themselves to sleep or cry for a ridiculous amount of time), so that naptime is a lot easier than having to rock your baby to sleep, lay them down, they wake up, then it starts all over. You can also have your children sleeping through the night after a few months. The book says that at 8 weeks they can go 9-10 hours, but it took both my girls about 12 weeks until they were sleeping that amount straight. Why wouldn't you want that for your child and your own sanity?

6. Chronicles of a Babywise Mom. Recently, while I was in search of other Babywise moms, I found a blog created by this woman who uses Babywise with her own children. She has posted so much great information on the blog, and she still updates it. If you decide that Babywise is the best for you, it's a great place to go for any questions you may have. She also talks about some other books, like Happiest Baby on the Block.

7. Love and Logic Magic for Early Childhood, by Jim Fay and Charles Fay. There are a few different Love and Logic books, this is just the one I have. My sister gave it to me for Christmas, and my sister-in-law uses the method on her children. I haven't had the chance to use it to its full extent since Lily is too young, but I have used parts of it and I can tell that it works. Basically, it explains how to teach your children to use logic to think for themselves. Why wouldn't you want to give your kids those tools?

8. Midwives.
My passion for this really all started when my sister, Brie, was pregnant with her second child. She decided to use a midwife during her pregnancy and deliver naturally. She was successful and went on to deliver the rest of her children without pain medication. That made such an impact on me that when I moved to Virginia, I chose to find a midwife as my "girly doctor." (Side note: When I tell people that I don't see an OB/GYN they are so surprised! Not many people know that a midwife can do *almost* everything an OB can. And having a midwife does not mean homebirth or waterbirth or "weird" stuff. They simply are an alternate, non-medical approach to well-women and prenatal care.) I am SO glad that I did. I feel like a midwife actually cares about me and the questions I have. Rarely did I find them asking me if I had any questions while their hand was on the door handle, ready to open it and leave...which made me feel like I was just another patient. I was always treated with respect and like I was the most important person in the world at that moment...which is how it should be. They never forced me into anything I didn't want to do - which is how medical stuff should be, since it's your body. Anyway, when I was pregnant with Lily, I decided that I wasn't going to have an epidural, and because I wanted to have a natural birth, I decided that a midwife would be best for me. I found an awesome practice in Virginia, and when we moved to Utah, I found an equally great midwife "team" that allowed me to have a wonderful birth experience.

Obviously I am a natural childbirth advocate. Women have been giving birth medication- and intervention-free for thousands of years. Why should that change now? Yes, labor hurts! There's a reason it's called labor. But I know that if someone puts their mind to it and prepares well enough, its entirely possible. And let me tell you - it is SO empowering. Lily's and Hannah's births were a little different, I was more aware with Hannah, which allowed me to know everything that was going on. The feeling of Hannah being born was absolutely amazing. I couldn't imagine NOT feeling that, like if I had had an epidural or a c-section. I honestly feel like women have been cheated in the childbirth process. I also feel like women have been led to believe that the pain of labor is so intense that it's unbearable, so they go throughout their lives and pregnancy thinking that they can't do it, and an epidural is the only way to manage the pain. It's very sad to me. Educate yourself before you make decisions! How can you make an informed decision of what's best for you and your baby if you don't know all of the options and risks?

I am a firm believer in all of these resources. I do know, however, that there are some situations when intervention is necessary. Parents-to-be should educate themselves as much as possible on this subject! Unfortunately, a general childbirth education class is not going to explain these things to you. How much research do you do when you buy a car? or a house? a digital camera?! Childbirth should be researched more than this - it's your body and your baby!

Anyway, I didn't mean for this to be a novel...this is just something I am extremely passionate about and feel like education in these topics is almost looked down upon for fear that we'll all start making better decisions and cause the OB/GYNs to lose their patients to midwives. Well I hope that happens!

I hope that no one gets offended by this. I do know that these things are definitely a personal decision for everyone.

If you have any questions, please ask! You can comment, send me a message on Facebook, or send me an email (

Ricki Lake will be on Chelsea Lately tonight (Monday, 6/8) on E! talking about her book (Your Best Birth).


  1. Thanks for posting this!! I am sure I am one of those conversations that led to this post. Lol But I am always glad to have more information on this topic.

  2. Thanks so much for posting! Since John and I are officially trying now, I actually found it very interesting...especially the midwife/doctor thing...Im so nursing school instructor is a certified midwife, my sister had midwifes with all three of hers, and they both seem awesome, but I go to a obgyn currently and I actually really enjoy him...Anyways...Erica is also a HUGE fan of babywise so I will def be checking in to that more later...Thanks for all the tips! We miss you guys!!!

  3. Lorna, you know much of an english buff / essay buff I am and when I read this I had tears in my eyes. GOOD FOR YOU for posting this. I truly believe that women (and men) should know about bodies and how they differ and how they are designed to do what they do. Great job, nicely done. kiss. Kari Dries

  4. I didn't like my OB/GYN when I had my daughter, Caylee. You are so right! Whoever is in charge of delivering your baby should know of your needs and make you feel special. My Doc. didn't do any of that. Good points. Thanks for sharing!

  5. In defense of OB/GYN, mine were all great. I never had an epidural and all my five experiences with labor and delivery were positive. I just want to know Lorna when are you going to become a midwife?? Love you, Mom (you changed your layout again) Nice.

  6. Actually, my 2nd baby was with a really great OB but I have had waaaayyyyy better experiences with my midwives. You are awesome!!! You could be a doula.

  7. Happy B-lated birthday to you as well! Hope you had a good one... Talk to you soon!

  8. Thank you all for your comments! It's great to hear all your different opinions and thoughts! Mom, I know that not all OB/GYNs fall into this 'stereotype,' but I think that the medical industry has changed in the past 25+ years. It's so much of a liability now that doctors are afraid to do anything. Whereas back when we were all born, it was different.

    I'd love to become a midwife...but I don't know if I could do the schooling or if I would enjoy everything about it.

  9. Thank you for the post! I'm definitely going to read up more on this now. I took a look at the book you recommended and it was awesome! You seriously should consider being a doula. You'd be great! --Natalie